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Thread: Broadcasting Rights out to Tender

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    Got A Season Ticket Mr.Yat's Avatar
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    Default Broadcasting Rights out to Tender

    Interesting which way this may go.
    https://www.totalrl.com/broadcasting...-out-to-tender

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    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk paulscnthorpe's Avatar
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    Interesting one, I know people will be looking for a change, either BT or even a steaming service, however if we're looking to grow the game, Sky is still the most mainstream. Obviously the price has to be right too.

    I don't think anyone really knows what's going on in club rugby union anymore, and the Ashes on BT a few years back received little coverage in any of the media.

    Ideally we'd get a game a weekend on terrestrial, but I'm not sure if the will is there on behalf of the terrestrial channels

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    Learning All The Songs Noel Cleal's Avatar
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    In my opinion, Rugby Leagues administrators have been massively asleep at the wheel.

    We should have a professional online streaming portal available to be used by all clubs and the RFL. At the moment we have a few thrown together solutions by the RFL (OurLeague) and some by the clubs (Wigan/Saints/Cas). I wouldn't want this to be a plan A but it would work as a good backup if there are no suitable offers from TV providers. In an ideal world we should try to get some big games on free to air TV. Premiership rugby gave some games away to Channel 4 for free just to get the exposure.

    One thing is clear, and it appears that this is what has happened, there needs to be a separation between the contracts (and therefore the money) for Super League, International and the lower leagues. There can therefore be no arguments about who deserves what money.

    My last point (rant) is we have been selling this new deal very poorly. Instead of bigging ourselves up we seem to be resigned to getting a poor deal. We are like a guy picking up girls in a bar whose first line is that he lives with his mum. We need to show some confidence to make TV companies, sponsors, etc. believe we are a big deal and worth investing in.
    Last edited by Noel Cleal; 14th September 2020 at 11:03.
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    In The South Stand Paul Newlove's Avatar
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    I still think SKY is SLs best bet but I'd love for the Championship to have a separate TV deal, ITV maybe they've got enough channels and it wouldn't cost that much. People could get interested in RL that way who don't have SKY which could lead to spectator interest in wanting to go and watch a live SL game.
    I hate how SKY have the rights to the Championship and do nothing with them, the RFL have allowed it though.

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    How does this work then? Do they have a reserve price for the rights? Or is it case of sky and whoever saying we will give you £1.50 and you’ll be happy with that?


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    Learning All The Songs Blue Harvest's Avatar
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    I'd also suggest that the broadcast rights will have a huge impact on the size/type of corporate sponsor/partnerships we can attract.

    After the Papa John's fiasco and it's partnership for pizza, I do dread to see what deal they come out of this type of negotiations with.

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    It's very interesting. It's been long overdue, Sky have become too comfortable with Rugby League and have used it as a schedule filler for decades now with no real investment or effort put in since the inception of Super League. I'd suspect the entire budget for the RL season is probably one or two weekend's worth of Premier League football coverage. But will they pay the required amount for the sport to avoid stagnating and contracting further? It's difficult to see the incentive for them. They will have lost many many millions with the impact of Covid and people cancelling their subscriptions. They of course still need RL for the schedule gaps that football still has and to add variety to their portfolio.

    Is Super League a good enough product to get the likes of BT Sport, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Netflix or even the BBC/ITV/C4 interested? Of course it is, but will it? Not with the management of the RFL and Super League in the state it's in currently. It's genuinely difficult to see any other vendor putting a serious bid in for any of it. The only way I could see that happening is if BT lost their Union contract. If they were clever they could push Super League as a sport, marketing and hype doesn't need to cost a fortune. They could have behind the scenes shows and magazine shows dedicated to the sport and it's characters. There are so many content worthy stories, but no one to sell it to anyone. They could come up with a TV deal that really took them behind the scenes, proper coverage of the team talks etc, the women's game thrown in etc. I've said for years Sky are crying out for content to fill sections of Sky Sports News and gaps in the weekly schedule, yet we don't give them anything.

    Or, we can keep heading down the route we are, kick Toronto out of the competition and go back to semi pro leagues and regionalise the lower leagues to save money.

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    You make some interesting points Saddened. If SKY want to keep the game they will be fighting the corner of Toronto, one would think.

    I feel SKY will put in an offer of 25% less than the current deal. If this is at least matched by another broadcaster I would move across. I feel most of us are fed up with SKYPIE. The game needs to change though. Five or six clubs aside its a sham. The RFL is a sad, tired, old warhorse.

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    The trouble is that RL continues to be a regional sport with the odd outrider. I've lived in a few different regions in UK and I've never come across anyone with any interest whatsoever save for the odd person originally from the M62 corridor most of who can take or leave it anyway. I can't see that there's too much attraction for any national broadcaster to do much with it. As Saddened says it's a schedule filler at a time when there are an increasing variety of other entertainment options available. Even in the M62 corridor only a small fraction of people have any interest in the game, active interest even less so. If the Rugby Union with its national platform is having problems then we simply have to do something different else the game will continue dying a slow death. There's no possibility of Sky paying more money as it stands, likely a large downsizing of the offering I'd say will happen and unfortunately there are no other options that I can see. Sorry for the doom and gloom but that's as I see it.


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    It's an interesting debate when considering if Sky are really the best option for promoting the game. Yes, more people have Sky than BT, but we are a small fish in a big pond with Sky, whereas club RU is the second biggest fish in a medium sized pond over on BT. The ratings for RU Prem games on BT are bigger than they ever used to be on Sky before BT won the rights, and they promote club RU as a massive deal on their channels, whereas RL is treated like a filler for Sky.

    Wouldn't most RL fans who pay for Sky move over to BT if the rights changed? This is what happened when RU went to BT, and as some have mentioned, a deal was struck to allow five games (and a far better placed highlights show) to be shown live on Channel 5. As far as I've been told, those five games are for Channel 5 to choose as well, so they get the best ones or the ones they think will pull in the most viewers, like the Twickenham Christmas game and the likes of Exeter v Leicester. Those games have pulled in an average of over half a million each, and the Quins v Leicester Twickenham game got about 700,000.

    I'd love a similar deal for RL, with it treated as a big deal by its main pay-tv partner, with the Good Friday derby and another four big games live on free tv, as well as a highlights show at 7pm nationally on a Monday night. It would be a clear improvement to what we have now. I've said before on here that we don't attract more than 250,000 viewers for any regular season game, and more often than not it's less than half that most weeks. Are we really growing as a sport thanks to the promotion Sky give us?

    So yes, Sky have more eyeballs on their products, but those eyes aren't really pointing at us too much. I'd rather be somewhere more niche that treated us as a big deal, and I don't think the viewing figures would change a whole lot when RL fans moved over.

    There is one snag from what I can see. The RU Premiership rights also end at the end of their 2020-21 season. Club owners have been talking about wanting a specific RU channel on TV like Sky provide for cricket, golf etc, which would allow them to have different kick-off times and have more content. However, I think the RL rights will be sorted before the RU rights, even though their current deal expires first. This means that if Sky do make a grab for club RU it would come after SL rights had been agreed, therefore we would be missing out on BT potentially outbidding Sky if they knew they were losing RU. So, I'm not really sure why we have gone to tender first, and the only reason I can see is that we are scared that Sky want club RU, so we are trying to double dare them in advance. Sort of 'keep us around because you don't know if you'll get club RU'. Such a strategy is highly flawed IMO because it means only Sky will likely bid at this early stage.

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    Learning All The Songs Noel Cleal's Avatar
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    You would hope the RFL/SLE will have an open dialogue with any potential bidder. Ask them questions about what would make the league more/less desirable.

    Does the North American teams appeal to them?
    What days of the week would they like matches on?
    Do they want P&R or would they rather control which teams we have in the league?

    The split is interesting, Super League and then all the rest. Is one the SLE deal and the other is the RFL deal?
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Cleal View Post
    The split is interesting, Super League and then all the rest. Is one the SLE deal and the other is the RFL deal?
    Looks that way, but in reality they kind of exist that way now. They sell England, World Cup and Challenge Cup rights separately from SL rights now, with the BBC seemingly the preferred option for those games. I think they are looking to formalise the split, with lower league games in there as well so that (IMO) SL clubs don't have to give up any of their money in future to those below them. If you have a deal for SL and one for everything else you're basically telling the RFL to fund the lower leagues with World Cup and Challenge Cup revenue, with SL keeping all of their share. That's my reading of it anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Harvest View Post
    I'd also suggest that the broadcast rights will have a huge impact on the size/type of corporate sponsor/partnerships we can attract.

    After the Papa John's fiasco and it's partnership for pizza, I do dread to see what deal they come out of this type of negotiations with.
    You can imagine the conversations at Sky. Why should we pay them 40m when the sold out for a few Pizzas or their name on the side of a few trucks. They will probably replace us with stuff they already film for the US college football or softball.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddened! View Post
    I'd suspect the entire budget for the RL season is probably one or two weekend's worth of Premier League football coverage.
    Spot on.

    The Sky deal for PL football is £1.193 billion per annum, so that's £22.94 million per week

    The deal signed with the ECB is worth £220 million per annum (a bit is BBC as well), so that's £4.23 million per week

    Our deal is £40 million per annum, so that's £0.77 million per week.

    So, we are only worth one thirtieth of the PL to Sky, but we certainly get more than a thirtieth of the audience, and we get about a third of the cricket audience as well despite being valued at less than a fifth of the value. Yes, PL football and the England cricket team are nationally far more prestigious than RL, but 5 times or 30 times more prestigious financially?

    So, here's another one. The deals Sky signed for live coverage of The Masters and The Open Championship are worth £25 million per annum combined, for 8 days live sport. Two long weekends of major championships are worth two thirds of a Super League season to Sky.

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    The current deal with the BBC for the Challenge Cup & the SLS how much did the BBC pay for them. The RFL are not very good at announcing how much cash they get for contracts, perhaps they feel so ashamed they think it better if no one found out ?.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pramtown View Post
    The current deal with the BBC for the Challenge Cup & the SLS how much did the BBC pay for them. The RFL are not very good at announcing how much cash they get for contracts, perhaps they feel so ashamed they think it better if no one found out ?.
    Not sure, but i do know for a fact (from the mouth of the BBC person responsible for negotiating the rights), that for the last World Cup in England, BBC paid the RFL the grand sum of £0.00.

    I would surmise that therefore the rights for the Challenge Cup etc are not a massive amount more. In his words (in conversation back in 2015 with me), the rights weren't really of significant value to the BBC compared to other sports......

    Bungle

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    The Stobart deal was the biggest monumental mistake by any sport governing body. It defined the game as worthless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Spot on.

    The Sky deal for PL football is £1.193 billion per annum, so that's £22.94 million per week

    The deal signed with the ECB is worth £220 million per annum (a bit is BBC as well), so that's £4.23 million per week

    Our deal is £40 million per annum, so that's £0.77 million per week.

    So, we are only worth one thirtieth of the PL to Sky, but we certainly get more than a thirtieth of the audience, and we get about a third of the cricket audience as well despite being valued at less than a fifth of the value. Yes, PL football and the England cricket team are nationally far more prestigious than RL, but 5 times or 30 times more prestigious financially?

    So, here's another one. The deals Sky signed for live coverage of The Masters and The Open Championship are worth £25 million per annum combined, for 8 days live sport. Two long weekends of major championships are worth two thirds of a Super League season to Sky.
    Eye catching and watering figures Gray but what is the alternative ?
    Can we attract 100,000 RL fans to buy into a service at £10 per week, that would be £52 million for the year, that leaves a £12 million difference, to advertise, present, broadcast, launch onto a platform and include a cut for championship.
    It is a huge leap of faith to think we could do that, with the present incumbents, if they tried to sell that as co-op type of deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallaght Tiger View Post
    Eye catching and watering figures Gray but what is the alternative ?
    Can we attract 100,000 RL fans to buy into a service at £10 per week, that would be £52 million for the year, that leaves a £12 million difference, to advertise, present, broadcast, launch onto a platform and include a cut for championship.
    It is a huge leap of faith to think we could do that, with the present incumbents, if they tried to sell that as co-op type of deal.
    People have discussed that with the PL, but it’s tough to make the sums work really when you realise the costs involved in production and actually broadcasting games, which you have mentioned.

    You’d need a base starting point well above £50m annually to even think about doing it, because the one thing secure about Sky is that they ain’t going bust and they’ll be there for the entirety of the contract doing the unglamorous things that cost loads but nobody really factors in. You’re also not relying on people paying subs to maintain profit margins either.

    I think £10 a week would be steep, but I think maybe £20 a month could attract 150,000 to 200,000 people. Our viewership is almost entirely RL fans these days, because we are hardly ever on Main Event where floating viewers tune in and see what’s on. The vast vast majority who tune into Arena or whatever channel we’re usually on have done so deliberately, and so the vast majority of them would IMO pay for an alternative service. We probably also have thousands of RL fans out there who don’t subscribe to Sky for whatever reason, so they’re worth thinking about as well.

    £20 per month multiplied by 200,000 would make £48 million. It’s still nowhere near enough though.

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    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk paulscnthorpe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Spot on.

    The Sky deal for PL football is £1.193 billion per annum, so that's £22.94 million per week

    The deal signed with the ECB is worth £220 million per annum (a bit is BBC as well), so that's £4.23 million per week

    Our deal is £40 million per annum, so that's £0.77 million per week.

    So, we are only worth one thirtieth of the PL to Sky, but we certainly get more than a thirtieth of the audience, and we get about a third of the cricket audience as well despite being valued at less than a fifth of the value. Yes, PL football and the England cricket team are nationally far more prestigious than RL, but 5 times or 30 times more prestigious financially?

    So, here's another one. The deals Sky signed for live coverage of The Masters and The Open Championship are worth £25 million per annum combined, for 8 days live sport. Two long weekends of major championships are worth two thirds of a Super League season to Sky.
    It's not just the viewing figures, it's the sponsorship, I'd imagine that the advertising during a big football match is massive, on top of the sponsorship of the programmes themselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulscnthorpe View Post
    It's not just the viewing figures, it's the sponsorship, I'd imagine that the advertising during a big football match is massive, on top of the sponsorship of the programmes themselves
    No need to imagine mate. The company I worked for paid Man utd 120m for a 3 year deal to have their name on training an warm up gear, and their name on a board behind the after game interviews. Utd later bought the contract back because they said they had undersold themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulscnthorpe View Post
    It's not just the viewing figures, it's the sponsorship, I'd imagine that the advertising during a big football match is massive, on top of the sponsorship of the programmes themselves
    It’s a major factor no doubt, but it isn’t everything. Sky have said that losing the Champions League to BT hasn’t hurt them at all, because football fans didn’t leave them because they still had the majority of PL games. The advertising and sponsorship revenue for the CL must be huge, but Sky looked at it mainly from a subscriber context. There are hardly any unique subscribers who just want to watch the CL, but there must be quite a few subscribers who just subscribe for RL, or at the very least would look at their options if Sky didn’t have it.

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    In The South Stand Paul Newlove's Avatar
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    I did say earlier in this chat that Sky were the best bet but I must admit they do see us as a filler. Do we even approach anyone else or do we just accept whatever Sky offer? That's how it seems

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Newlove View Post
    I did say earlier in this chat that Sky were the best bet but I must admit they do see us as a filler. Do we even approach anyone else or do we just accept whatever Sky offer? That's how it seems
    That's how it seems to me too. Do we risk rocking the boat even though the next Sky deal will probably be derisory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Newlove View Post
    I did say earlier in this chat that Sky were the best bet but I must admit they do see us as a filler. Do we even approach anyone else or do we just accept whatever Sky offer? That's how it seems
    I recall there were some barely token efforts when Wood was about - basically BT were approached over SL rights with very little follow up whilst at the same time the powers that be ploughed on engaging Sky extensively over that period. Pre Elstone, the RFL was basically a closed shop with Sky given free reign to dictate the terms and Wood accepting them to support his position. The corporate governance behind it stunk. I recall the risible rationale of recruiting Brian Barwick to the board as bring ‘his black book of contacts’ in the media world when in reality it was to support the cabal of cronies on that board at the time. It must have been a leaflet not a book because I saw nothing to suggest his time was beneficial at all.

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