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Thread: Well done Toronto

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post

    I'll make a guess now that he ends up having another meltdown next season like he did at Leeds. He's always struck me as a bit odd.
    This. Odd bloke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stockportsaint View Post
    Far more concerned by McDermott’s comments after the game where he seemed to suggest that the Super League will die if the big finals are only contested by northern English teams, and that it should be Toronto, Barcelona or New york(etc). Whilst I don’t agree with him I don’t like the way he is pushing expansion at the cost of the heartlands rather than along side.


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    Quote Originally Posted by The frenchman View Post
    This. Odd bloke.
    I don't mind him.

    Always complimentary towards Saints, despite beating us in every big game.

    However, agree on the comments post match. Utter rubbish he's chatting
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stockportsaint View Post
    Far more concerned by McDermott’s comments after the game where he seemed to suggest that the Super League will die if the big finals are only contested by northern English teams, and that it should be Toronto, Barcelona or New york(etc). Whilst I don’t agree with him I don’t like the way he is pushing expansion at the cost of the heartlands rather than along side.
    Baffled and annoyed by comments like McDermott's. This thing that has survived for over a hundred years now won't survive unless we have teams from Canada, US and Europe? It's a weird attitude and runs counter to every other league competition in the world which is based on teams from the same country with shared cultures and history competing with each other. Continental events run over the top of them and act as a reward for those that do well in those domestic comps, and not as the starting point.

    There is a reason we've never had this Euro-league in football, and that's because most clubs realise that the apparent glamour of it all would disappear in short time and fans of their clubs would miss playing their traditional rivals. The ridiculous distance between clubs would kill one of the joys of following sport (going to away games) and the excitement of playing clubs from other nations would disappear if you played them twice a year every year.

    Fans may look forward to going to Toronto as a big away day, but imagine having Toronto, New York, Chicago, Barcelona in SL as well. You'd be taking the games away from those that want to go and watch them. And in the opposite direction nobody from those places is going to travel to St Helens or Wigan because there is no culture of travelling to away games in N America primarily because of the distances involved in their sports already.

    This is why Toronto has to be a step towards a N American league which they can move into, and not be a step towards more N American teams entering Super League. Expansion has to mean setting up roots elsewhere and starting new comps, not adding stuff to the English/French system. For everything you try to add to our system you ultimately must remove something, so expansion is merely recycling from one area to another. Surely the purpose is to add stuff in other areas whilst maintaining what already exists here. You then end up with an Australian comp, an English/French comp, a N American comp, etc. That would be great, with RL being played competitively in three areas. Instead, I think the game continually gets it wrong and treats expansion as something to add to the English game, instead of treating expansion as a way to build something new elsewhere.

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    The way I see it is this: where there is the best combination of market size and demand is where the strongest clubs will emerge. Most (but by no means all) of the top football clubs in the country are in cities because the demand for the sport is huge nationwide and the cities are where the biggest markets are. In that scenario a club based in London or Birmingham has a distinct advantage over a club based in, say, Castleford, and will ultimately rise to the top. Football is not popular because its big clubs are located in cities. Its big clubs are located in cities because football is popular right across the country.

    I think we play a very dangerous game by assuming that if we replace traditional town-based clubs with city franchises then we will cure all of the game's ills. RL has a unique difficulty in that, for deep-rooted socio-political reasons, there is only significant demand for it within a very clearly defined geographical area. The reason places like St Helens and Wigan are successful is that, while they are not particularly huge markets, they are where the demand is. Moving traditional clubs to big city locations where there are bigger markets but no demand will not mean bigger clubs appearing: it will more likely lead to failed franchises and, more importantly, the destruction of the demand for the game in the few areas where it is actually strong.

    London are the perfect illustration of this point. They are based in a city that is among the financial powerhouses of the world and has a population of over 8 million, yet they can't get more than 3,000 home supporters to a game and rely on the largesse of a northern businessman to keep ticking over. It doesn't matter where you are - if the demand is not there you won't achieve success.

    I also think that there is some exaggeration of the prestige that well-known city names bring to a sport. People won't just suddenly start watching a new sport because Newcastle and Liverpool have teams in it. I - and I suspect most people in the world - couldn't tell you anything about Jacksonville, Green Bay, Tampa Bay or Cleveland, but I do know they have teams in the wildly successful NFL.

    Having said all of that, the Toronto franchise is unique as an expansion project in my time watching the game insofar as people do actually seem to have an appetite for the game there. As I've said on another thread, I also like the way they've worked their way up through the ranks. If they, or other big city teams, end up pulling big crowds that give them the muscle to oust traditional teams then fair enough, but it needs to happen organically, and not because of an idea someone cooked up at the RFL or on a podcast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Baffled and annoyed by comments like McDermott's. This thing that has survived for over a hundred years now won't survive unless we have teams from Canada, US and Europe? It's a weird attitude and runs counter to every other league competition in the world which is based on teams from the same country with shared cultures and history competing with each other. Continental events run over the top of them and act as a reward for those that do well in those domestic comps, and not as the starting point.

    There is a reason we've never had this Euro-league in football, and that's because most clubs realise that the apparent glamour of it all would disappear in short time and fans of their clubs would miss playing their traditional rivals. The ridiculous distance between clubs would kill one of the joys of following sport (going to away games) and the excitement of playing clubs from other nations would disappear if you played them twice a year every year.

    Fans may look forward to going to Toronto as a big away day, but imagine having Toronto, New York, Chicago, Barcelona in SL as well. You'd be taking the games away from those that want to go and watch them. And in the opposite direction nobody from those places is going to travel to St Helens or Wigan because there is no culture of travelling to away games in N America primarily because of the distances involved in their sports already.

    This is why Toronto has to be a step towards a N American league which they can move into, and not be a step towards more N American teams entering Super League. Expansion has to mean setting up roots elsewhere and starting new comps, not adding stuff to the English/French system. For everything you try to add to our system you ultimately must remove something, so expansion is merely recycling from one area to another. Surely the purpose is to add stuff in other areas whilst maintaining what already exists here. You then end up with an Australian comp, an English/French comp, a N American comp, etc. That would be great, with RL being played competitively in three areas. Instead, I think the game continually gets it wrong and treats expansion as something to add to the English game, instead of treating expansion as a way to build something new elsewhere.
    A good thread, though I think Toronto deserve to be in SL after starting 2 divisions below. I think the RFL either didn't think they would make SL, or didn't think through some of the points you have raised.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Baffled and annoyed by comments like McDermott's. This thing that has survived for over a hundred years now won't survive unless we have teams from Canada, US and Europe? It's a weird attitude and runs counter to every other league competition in the world which is based on teams from the same country with shared cultures and history competing with each other. Continental events run over the top of them and act as a reward for those that do well in those domestic comps, and not as the starting point.

    There is a reason we've never had this Euro-league in football, and that's because most clubs realise that the apparent glamour of it all would disappear in short time and fans of their clubs would miss playing their traditional rivals. The ridiculous distance between clubs would kill one of the joys of following sport (going to away games) and the excitement of playing clubs from other nations would disappear if you played them twice a year every year.

    Fans may look forward to going to Toronto as a big away day, but imagine having Toronto, New York, Chicago, Barcelona in SL as well. You'd be taking the games away from those that want to go and watch them. And in the opposite direction nobody from those places is going to travel to St Helens or Wigan because there is no culture of travelling to away games in N America primarily because of the distances involved in their sports already.

    This is why Toronto has to be a step towards a N American league which they can move into, and not be a step towards more N American teams entering Super League. Expansion has to mean setting up roots elsewhere and starting new comps, not adding stuff to the English/French system. For everything you try to add to our system you ultimately must remove something, so expansion is merely recycling from one area to another. Surely the purpose is to add stuff in other areas whilst maintaining what already exists here. You then end up with an Australian comp, an English/French comp, a N American comp, etc. That would be great, with RL being played competitively in three areas. Instead, I think the game continually gets it wrong and treats expansion as something to add to the English game, instead of treating expansion as a way to build something new elsewhere.
    Very well put Gray. And I think that's the way I was looking at it, a chance to go to Canada and see my team and nothing more, a bit selfishly really although I'm nothing bothered Fev didn't make it either. As you say, this has to be a step towards a NA competition otherwise it becomes a bit pointless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    A good thread, though I think Toronto deserve to be in SL after starting 2 divisions below. I think the RFL either didn't think they would make SL, or didn't think through some of the points you have raised.
    The RFL not thinking about something? I'm not having that.

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    Get the Jumbo booked Howarth!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    A good thread, though I think Toronto deserve to be in SL after starting 2 divisions below. I think the RFL either didn't think they would make SL, or didn't think through some of the points you have raised.
    They certainly deserve to be wherever their results take them, no doubt. My problem isn't Toronto, it is the idea that we can just add teams that play thousands of miles away to a primarily English domestic comp without thinking about the issues it will cause. If Toronto finish Top 6 next season and average 10,000 a game the response will be that we need a team in NYC, Chicago etc in Super League, when the response should be that we need to get Toronto out of Super League and into their own domestic comp that can flourish on its own.

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    The issue is there is no overall strategy.

    SL can cope with 1 maybe even 2 transatlantic teams.
    But unless there is a huge influx of cash that will be the limit of what SL can cope with.

    Will 2 transatlantic teams be enough to generate lower divisional structures and the start of a RL player base that will allow North America to emerge as a RL playing nation??
    What if the wolfpack get relegated will they return to supporting championship flights to Toronto?
    Or will that be the end of the experiment?

    The wolfpack as a stand alone venture is a success so far, but what is the strategy for that market?

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    Some great points here but for me the most glaringly obvious point is that Rugby League is a working men’s sport, and Traditionally working men aren’t that well off, as I would assume most of our fans fit that bill.

    Travelling to these far-flung places (and what you spend when you get there) is expensive (as is the GF, Wembley and Magiczzzzzz) for one person, but add a partner, a kiddie or two and you’ve priced out lots of your fans.

    I’ve just spent £138 on two tickets to the GF for my Wife and I plus transport, food and drinks I’ll be lucky to stay under £300 for one day......

    I don’t begrudge it for a second, but I couldn’t spend that (and more) going to watch us play Toronto in a league or cup game and I’m lucky enough to be in a well paid job with no major outgoings and my only son is 21 and pays his own way.

    Expansion into Cumbria, Newcastle, Coventry, Birmingham makes sense, it’s not too far from the heartlands but a other countries? It’s not really practical for fans.

    Happy to watch on TV though..... like most Wire and Wigan fans!
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    They have replaced London so no massive difference in the crowd for away games.Extra money for the clubs from the TV deal as well. Personally I would bring them in with London and Toulouse and crack on.

    It is up to the clubs to make the most of it.We cannot continue with just the M62 corridor in my opinion. We have a 100 year history but the game is diminishing every year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJM25R View Post
    Some great points here but for me the most glaringly obvious point is that Rugby League is a working men’s sport, and Traditionally working men aren’t that well off, as I would assume most of our fans fit that bill.

    Travelling to these far-flung places (and what you spend when you get there) is expensive (as is the GF, Wembley and Magiczzzzzz) for one person, but add a partner, a kiddie or two and you’ve priced out lots of your fans.

    I’ve just spent £138 on two tickets to the GF for my Wife and I plus transport, food and drinks I’ll be lucky to stay under £300 for one day......

    I don’t begrudge it for a second, but I couldn’t spend that (and more) going to watch us play Toronto in a league or cup game and I’m lucky enough to be in a well paid job with no major outgoings and my only son is 21 and pays his own way.

    Expansion into Cumbria, Newcastle, Coventry, Birmingham makes sense, it’s not too far from the heartlands but a other countries? It’s not really practical for fans.

    Happy to watch on TV though..... like most Wire and Wigan fans!
    Agree with this. No way I'll be going. Can't imagine my partner being too chuffed if I tell her that we ain't going away for a week in the summer because I'm going to Toronto for a league game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Don View Post
    They have replaced London so no massive difference in the crowd for away games.Extra money for the clubs from the TV deal as well. Personally I would bring them in with London and Toulouse and crack on.

    It is up to the clubs to make the most of it.We cannot continue with just the M62 corridor in my opinion. We have a 100 year history but the game is diminishing every year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    They certainly deserve to be wherever their results take them, no doubt. My problem isn't Toronto, it is the idea that we can just add teams that play thousands of miles away to a primarily English domestic comp without thinking about the issues it will cause. If Toronto finish Top 6 next season and average 10,000 a game the response will be that we need a team in NYC, Chicago etc in Super League, when the response should be that we need to get Toronto out of Super League and into their own domestic comp that can flourish on its own.
    There is nothing I disagree with in your theory, but realistically will toronto want to enter a North American league with a few amateur teams? Unless there are a few rich business men willing to get involved, I don't see the likelihood of a NA professional league. I think for now we just have to live with Toronto and see what develops. Unless Toronto spend quite a bit more I'm not sure they will avoid relegation next year. How many of their current team would make it into a top SL club? Maybe half of their squad could get in at the likes of Wakey or Hudds.

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    Don't they play on a 4G pitch, like London? And where did we lose 2 of our 3 games? As much as I'd like to see Toronto, I'm not sure I'd be willing to spend the money if we're only going to send half a team
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Don View Post
    They have replaced London so no massive difference in the crowd for away games.Extra money for the clubs from the TV deal as well. Personally I would bring them in with London and Toulouse and crack on.

    It is up to the clubs to make the most of it.We cannot continue with just the M62 corridor in my opinion. We have a 100 year history but the game is diminishing every year.
    Generally agree with this. As proud as most of us are in our heritage, the bottom line is that many of the 'traditional' clubs have withered to become pale imitations of what they were. The well positioned clubs like Halifax, Featherstone, York and Leigh are outnumbered by teams like Swinton, Oldham, Hunslet, Whitehaven, Workington, Dewsbury, Rochdale, Barrow, Sheffield and Keighley. It feels like many of these teams are struggling for relevance in a crowded market. I bet if you looked around their fanbase its more filled by the older generation. It would be interesting to see the stats.

    The whole expansion debate has become a bit of a riddle wrapped up in a mystery to borrow from Churchill. Whilst Toronto are ostensibly a success story it feels far fetched that they are a silver bullet to the problems caused by years of bad management by the sports decision makers. It feels a misalignment to have a 'big dream' project that promises the world, whilst the sport is still wrestling more fundamental problems and is relatively small time in much the same way it was when London was being moreorless sustained by the RFL. Its like Accrington Stanley announcing they are partnering with Nike; feels odd and out of place. I think Robert Elstone may also have hinted at this in a recent interview.

    The paradox is there is a strong case for new 'exotic' ventures to improve our commercial and media profile given stagnation within the heartlands. I can't see a pure focus on renewing 'the heartlands' as providing the medicine the sport requires in the way it would have done in the old days. It feels life has moved on. The problem is RL just hasn't/does'nt manage expansion well. Poor levels of due dilligience and planning has meant the likes of Gateshead, Crusaders (in South Wales), Paris etc have been short lived ventures that embarrassed the sport. However we are at a critical point at the moment as years of self serving, back sliding mean we probably need to take a bit of a risk because the game is struggling in my opinion. I'd also hope Toronto creates another sport stronghold for the sport in the longer run; it would be a shame if RU stole from the pioneering work being done over there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Don View Post
    They have replaced London so no massive difference in the crowd for away games.Extra money for the clubs from the TV deal as well. Personally I would bring them in with London and Toulouse and crack on.

    It is up to the clubs to make the most of it.We cannot continue with just the M62 corridor in my opinion. We have a 100 year history but the game is diminishing every year.
    At least if they put Toulouse in, it is an area with a wealth of Amateur clubs and players. Surely a second French team in would generate even more interest, and Toulouse is 3-4 times the size of Perpignan.

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    It will be a novelty at first and i'd like to go if we play there next season. I would be tempted to make a break of it.
    I went to UTC and then the first few visits to Catalans. I have not been for quite a few seasons now. I'm in a position where I could luckily afford for me and my wife to go but justifying the expense season in season out is a different matter and decided not to go in recent times.
    In Toronto's case I think they have got their on merit but as someone who has been used to watching the team home and away most weeks over the years the shine would be taken off if the league became too widespread and effectively you could only watch home games. I guess that's just the way it is in the likes of the NFL, however the home and away culture is ingrained in our sport. I think there is a chance many supporters could lose interest completely without away trips.

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    Always thought McDermott was a good fella, shoots from the hip but it is what is needed most of the time. I do not agree with his points made the other day, a few years ago when Joe Kinnear was in charge at Wimbledon (MK Dons or whatever their title) there was talk of bringing them to Dublin as a Premier League team based in Ireland. The idea that a lot of well supported English teams in Ireland would boost the home crowd matches when these teams played the away fixture. It was pointed out at the time that Soccer is supported on rivalries and the sometimes close imaginary boundaries that exist in cities with two teams or neighbouring towns with a bridge dividing them. The same applies here, it makes for interesting times and expansion debates.

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    I think Toronto ideally see this as a stepping stone to a more global sport. Whether that is a pipe dream only time will tell. Rugby League is on a downward spiral and honestly needs a Toronto to improve its profile. The likely signing of SBW and an NFL player is designed to raise their profile in North America. Ottawa is coming in 2021 and wouldn’t it be great to have a league of 14 with two Canadian teams and two French. A London team would also be good but they need to take a leaf out of Toronto’s book with how they have marketed the game.
    If Toronto and expansion doesn’t work I worry if the game can remain a fully pro sport for the top tier. TV deals are how sports survive and I’m not sure they want to keep seeing games played at Wakefield or Cas.
    For the record I was anti-expansion and even though I live close to the Wolfpack I didn’t go to a game in the first year because I thought it was a gimmick like Wales and Paris. However after experiencing the event they put on and the rugby I hardly missed a home game this year. I want Toronto to work so I can get to watch Saints in the flesh at least once a year but I also want Rugby League in Northern hemisphere to be more than what it currently looks like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamstersaint View Post
    I think Toronto ideally see this as a stepping stone to a more global sport. Whether that is a pipe dream only time will tell. Rugby League is on a downward spiral and honestly needs a Toronto to improve its profile. The likely signing of SBW and an NFL player is designed to raise their profile in North America. Ottawa is coming in 2021 and wouldn’t it be great to have a league of 14 with two Canadian teams and two French. A London team would also be good but they need to take a leaf out of Toronto’s book with how they have marketed the game.
    If Toronto and expansion doesn’t work I worry if the game can remain a fully pro sport for the top tier. TV deals are how sports survive and I’m not sure they want to keep seeing games played at Wakefield or Cas.
    For the record I was anti-expansion and even though I live close to the Wolfpack I didn’t go to a game in the first year because I thought it was a gimmick like Wales and Paris. However after experiencing the event they put on and the rugby I hardly missed a home game this year. I want Toronto to work so I can get to watch Saints in the flesh at least once a year but I also want Rugby League in Northern hemisphere to be more than what it currently looks like.
    Yes well put, despite the barriers, for us to remain fully pro it's something we probably cannot ignore.

    With so many professional sports relying on sponsorship and TV deals surely Toronto will surely help raise our profile and therefore our bargaining power?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny_h View Post
    Don't they play on a 4G pitch, like London? And where did we lose 2 of our 3 games? As much as I'd like to see Toronto, I'm not sure I'd be willing to spend the money if we're only going to send half a team
    The advantage to that is we get to see some of the fringe players and give them experience of playing, but yes take your point.
    Still a great trip though

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJM25R View Post
    Some great points here but for me the most glaringly obvious point is that Rugby League is a working men’s sport, and Traditionally working men aren’t that well off, as I would assume most of our fans fit that bill.

    Travelling to these far-flung places (and what you spend when you get there) is expensive (as is the GF, Wembley and Magiczzzzzz) for one person, but add a partner, a kiddie or two and you’ve priced out lots of your fans.

    I’ve just spent £138 on two tickets to the GF for my Wife and I plus transport, food and drinks I’ll be lucky to stay under £300 for one day......

    I don’t begrudge it for a second, but I couldn’t spend that (and more) going to watch us play Toronto in a league or cup game and I’m lucky enough to be in a well paid job with no major outgoings and my only son is 21 and pays his own way.

    Expansion into Cumbria, Newcastle, Coventry, Birmingham makes sense, it’s not too far from the heartlands but a other countries? It’s not really practical for fans.

    Happy to watch on TV though..... like most Wire and Wigan fans!
    Been saying this for years although Cumbria has always struggled with the demographic, there was a healthy grass roots set up in the Midlands area but the RFL seem to have not pushed funding to another level and are just letting it stagnate.

    The type of expansion the RFL are considering is a "fragmentation model" and the only expansion part of it is expanding the travel supporter to go thousands and thousands of miles away. If Rugby League wants to go global then it must be done at International Level first not through a "UK Domestic Competition", big time sponsors looking at our Superleague are most likely to see SKY as a competitor and that's why we get 2nd and 3rd tiers in Bet Fred, Foxy Bingo, Mushy Peas etc.

    The RFL just doesn't have the financial clout to expand across continents, that needs assistant from Australia + New Zealand to expand the International Game, for me the next 2 World Cups should be held in America and Canada to see the quality of the game and not to fragment the possibility of a part time UK based non Canadian Toronto Team struggle in a Superleague Comp.

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