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Thread: Toronto - bye-bye RL expansion

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    Default Toronto - bye-bye RL expansion

    Clubs apparently voted 8-4 (1 abstention) against re-admitting Toronto.

    Don't know which clubs voted which way, but I can guess.

    Same old parochial attitudes setting the sport back. Been this way for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, the RFL and BARLA were more or less at war. No way for the sport to be run.

    I can't see RL getting a foothold now in Canada (which was the whole point of the Wolfpack), Never mind, we'll stick to a handful of clubs getting decent a following, padded out by ••••ant clubs struggling to get 3/4,000 fans in SL, with a long list of shitsville clubs making up the lower-tier numbers whilst constantly blaming everyone but themselves for only getting a few hundred fans each game.

    The irony is seeing the same people that bleat about protecting these bring-nothing-to-the-party clubs, whining about rubbish sponsorship deals, and never seeing the connection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    Clubs apparently voted 8-4 (1 abstention) against re-admitting Toronto.

    Don't know which clubs voted which way, but I can guess.

    Same old parochial attitudes setting the sport back. Been this way for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, the RFL and BARLA were more or less at war. No way for the sport to be run.

    I can't see RL getting a foothold now in Canada (which was the whole point of the Wolfpack), Never mind, we'll stick to a handful of clubs getting decent a following, padded out by ••••ant clubs struggling to get 3/4,000 fans in SL, with a long list of shitsville clubs making up the lower-tier numbers whilst constantly blaming everyone but themselves for only getting a few hundred fans each game.

    The irony is seeing the same people that bleat about protecting these bring-nothing-to-the-party clubs, whining about rubbish sponsorship deals, and never seeing the connection.
    The 4 teams to keep Toronto in were Saints, Leeds, Catalan & R.L.F.C.

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    I'm fairly certain what county most of these clubs will be from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Tom Vol View Post
    The 4 teams to keep Toronto in were Saints, Leeds, Catalan & R.L.F.C.

    Interesting. I'd have thought Wanky would have supported it, and Leeds opposed. Who are RLFC?
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    Whilst everyone is quick to point blame at the Super League clubs, there needs to be a question asked why clubs that previously supported the Toronto cause, have not done. Nobody has seen the business plan. Nobody has seen the reasoning, so can we make judgement on this without seeing the cases the clubs have been presented with?

    Quite frankly, it was never going to be sustainable, having a team from so far away playing in our competition. Covid has clearly finished it off (and even if they'd have been voted back in, they wouldn't have been playing any games next year in Toronto), but I never really expected the venture to last more than a few years. It's merely proven what most of us have always known. Regional sports are destined to stay regional. There simply is no precedent for mass expansion of any regional sport outside of the late 1800s.

    Toronto Wolfpack was a fad. The only way that it could have ever been a long term sustainable entity was in a competition within its own continent. Ottawa and New York needed to be the first of many, and I don't think there was ever much hope beyond the usual dreams from those who live in a world separate from reality.

    Rugby League has tried to expand on so many occasions, but the people in this country are resistant to it, and those elsewhere simply uninterested. I know plenty who have been to Toronto and have suggested the whole thing was rather surreal, with many people there for a free craic, not even looking in the direction of the pitch most of the time. Expansion isn't ever going to happen. That ship sailed away and sank with the Titanic.

    Of course, I feel sorry for the Toronto fans who bought into it, but anyone with foresight could see that it was a project that was always doomed to failure, just like all the others were before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    Interesting. I'd have thought Wanky would have supported it, and Leeds opposed. Who are RLFC?
    It’s the RFL he means.
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    Toronto was always going to be a struggle in the way they tried it IMO. They would have been better letting RL grow organically in Canada with a long term approach. Instead, putting all the eggs in one basket, filling the one club with foreign players and linking the club to a foreign league was always going to be a risk. We always looked at it from the point of view of what Toronto could do for SL, and not what we could do for Canadian RL. A proper Canadian league at a lower level, with clubs building organically with local rivalries would have been the way to do it, but instead we went for the one club at the elite level approach with no real approach to building anything beyond that. So you end up with a boom or bust situation where you’re relying on the one artificial club to be everything, instead of system growing by itself and hopefully ending up with several clubs that can in time then join a bigger league.

    As a side issue, reports I read last week were saying Sky may only offer £28-30m per year for the new TV deal (down from £40m at present) so it may be that some SL clubs are now developing a ‘me first’ attitude to the immediate future. Keep the TV money for themselves, leave the lower leagues to crumble without any TV money and ditch any trans-Atlantic ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    Clubs apparently voted 8-4 (1 abstention) against re-admitting Toronto.

    Don't know which clubs voted which way, but I can guess.

    Same old parochial attitudes setting the sport back. Been this way for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, the RFL and BARLA were more or less at war. No way for the sport to be run.

    I can't see RL getting a foothold now in Canada (which was the whole point of the Wolfpack), Never mind, we'll stick to a handful of clubs getting decent a following, padded out by ••••ant clubs struggling to get 3/4,000 fans in SL, with a long list of shitsville clubs making up the lower-tier numbers whilst constantly blaming everyone but themselves for only getting a few hundred fans each game.

    The irony is seeing the same people that bleat about protecting these bring-nothing-to-the-party clubs, whining about rubbish sponsorship deals, and never seeing the connection.
    Let's be honest, if we are hoping the sport needs a Canadian team to survive and flourish then we must be in shittstreet. Noone was advocating a team in Canada was the bastion of growth before Perez came along so why should the be the be all and end all now?
    I was always sceptical about their inclusion; the sport of Rugby League is nowhere near ready for North American teams being in the League. You're moaning about small attendances but when has the sport ever had big ones in recent history? We can't even crack London never mind Canada and America!
    You could envision this type of stuff in NFL and soccer where the markets are much, much bigger but the Toronto set up was like Nike sponsoring a darts tournament in Thatto Heath - the two just aren't congruous in any way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DD View Post
    Whilst everyone is quick to point blame at the Super League clubs, there needs to be a question asked why clubs that previously supported the Toronto cause, have not done. Nobody has seen the business plan. Nobody has seen the reasoning, so can we make judgement on this without seeing the cases the clubs have been presented with?

    Quite frankly, it was never going to be sustainable, having a team from so far away playing in our competition. Covid has clearly finished it off (and even if they'd have been voted back in, they wouldn't have been playing any games next year in Toronto), but I never really expected the venture to last more than a few years. It's merely proven what most of us have always known. Regional sports are destined to stay regional. There simply is no precedent for mass expansion of any regional sport outside of the late 1800s.

    Toronto Wolfpack was a fad. The only way that it could have ever been a long term sustainable entity was in a competition within its own continent. Ottawa and New York needed to be the first of many, and I don't think there was ever much hope beyond the usual dreams from those who live in a world separate from reality.

    Rugby League has tried to expand on so many occasions, but the people in this country are resistant to it, and those elsewhere simply uninterested. I know plenty who have been to Toronto and have suggested the whole thing was rather surreal, with many people there for a free craic, not even looking in the direction of the pitch most of the time. Expansion isn't ever going to happen. That ship sailed away and sank with the Titanic.

    Of course, I feel sorry for the Toronto fans who bought into it, but anyone with foresight could see that it was a project that was always doomed to failure, just like all the others were before.
    I agree with this though. Myself, I think we need to be looking towards France that does at least have a RL culture and look towards strengthening Toulose (not with Paulo ) and then look towards the next promotion into the UK comps', Carcasonne maybe as it sits between Perpignan and Tolouse.

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    Toulouse look like they’re making a proper go at getting into SL this time. This gives expansion some hope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Yellow Giraffe View Post
    It’s the RFL he means.
    Thanks.

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    Seems that one of the reasons against them being voted back in is a lack of a proof of funds, which begs two questions, one - how did we vote for them to come back without this crucial bit of information and two - why would they win a vote to come back in without such information? It’s a pretty vital bit of a bid, I would imagine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiewaringsflatcap View Post
    Let's be honest, if we are hoping the sport needs a Canadian team to survive and flourish then we must be in shittstreet.

    It's a fair point - although we didn't know about Toronto until they started up their venture.

    I'd say we are in shitstreet, though. We struggle to attract any decent sponsors, whilst our Sky viewing figures are paltry meaning the next TV deal is unlikely going to be great. Covid is knackering professional sports clubs as much as it is any sector. All this on top of many clubs struggling to keep going.

    I have huge fears the game is going to slip back into semi-pro, which would lead to an exodus of the better players into the NRL and yawnion.

    We are desperate for a financial boost, which will only come through the sport having a much higher profile, along with a higher 'corporate attractiveness'.

    The Toronto experiment gave the sport positive publicity, with the potential to also bring in another 2 or 3 professional clubs leading to the setting-up of a stand-alone league in SE Canada/NE USA in a few years. Potential for more money into the game. We desperately need something.

    Or we sell out our rectums to the Hearns.
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    It was never a long term proposition. I wasn’t against them as such and they did great to establish a fan base, but having a team half way around the globe is just odd. With no championship this year it was the perfect opportunity to hand pick their favoured team, whoever that turns out to be. Personally I think Newcastle, London, Toulouse and to some extent a well run club in York would all benefit the league. London and York perhaps the safest bets

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    But how do you decide on Toronto’s replacement in a fair, equitable and legal way? I suppose if they do have 12 teams they will have to ask for tenders from interested clubs.

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    How about for next year all Super League places are up for grabs, with strict criteria on funding, and facilities.

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    I posted this elsewhere earlier today before the decision was confirmed...

    For me Toronto's inclusion/exclusion is about the identity and the ambitions of the league.

    If the Super Leagues say no then this is the first time we have deliberately regressed on expansion since Super League was tabled in 1995. Since then we have had failures and successes but the sport has never lost the desire to grow the game.

    If the answer is no, maybe moving back to winter and a return to part time is more on the cards than many of us think? If we don't want to expand anymore is this not now the best route to take?

    For many clubs, crowds were as big for part time rugby in the Winter as full time in the Summer. Added to this the poor TV contract from Sky who wanted the Super League to be full time and a summer league in the first place maybe it is time to stop living in a half way house and accept the turn of the tide?

    Teams like Halifax, Widnes, Bradford, Sheffield, Workington, Oldham, Leigh and London have all failed to sustain full time teams in the summer era with the threat that Hull KR, Salford and Wakefield could be the next to follow. If we reduce the overheads of a full time squad would this not help include these teams again?
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    I suspect that it is impossible after anything remotely resembling a genuine critical assessment of the viability of Toronoto in SL to land anywhere other than it is an unsustainable punt.

    Clearly Saints, Leeds and Catalans saw something in it so I'm not suggesting it isn't without any merit at all. But let's be honest with ourselves - should we be looking to introduce a heavily lossmaking Canadian club into SL at this point in time, particularly if there is no guarantee that it is adequately funded? It is nuts.

    If Canada is the future, will it not still be the future in 2022? If the Toronto fans can accept not finishing the 2020 season, why would they not accept readmittance in 2022 when things are hopefully back on an even keel? And if someone is threatening that it is now or never . . . why is it? I feel for the players this will inevitably impact but picking up the club in the midst of a financial firestorm versus a nice structured readmittance to Championship or SL in a couple of years? If it can work now with all the financial baggage and risk that entails, why wouldn't it work then?

    I'm upset I didn't get to watch Saints out there but realistically Toronto were showing signs of falling apart at the seams and not keeping their (sometimes outlandish) promises long before C-19 appeared.

    If we are reliant on massively lossmaking, unsustainable venture in Canada to save British RL then British RL is already dead and admitting Toronto may keep it going until someone gets bored funding it, or alternatively it could fall apart early and accelerate the funeral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FearTheVee View Post
    I suspect that it is impossible after anything remotely resembling a genuine critical assessment of the viability of Toronoto in SL to land anywhere other than it is an unsustainable punt.

    Clearly Saints, Leeds and Catalans saw something in it so I'm not suggesting it isn't without any merit at all. But let's be honest with ourselves - should we be looking to introduce a heavily lossmaking Canadian club into SL at this point in time, particularly if there is no guarantee that it is adequately funded? It is nuts.

    If Canada is the future, will it not still be the future in 2022? If the Toronto fans can accept not finishing the 2020 season, why would they not accept readmittance in 2022 when things are hopefully back on an even keel? And if someone is threatening that it is now or never . . . why is it? I feel for the players this will inevitably impact but picking up the club in the midst of a financial firestorm versus a nice structured readmittance to Championship or SL in a couple of years? If it can work now with all the financial baggage and risk that entails, why wouldn't it work then?

    I'm upset I didn't get to watch Saints out there but realistically Toronto were showing signs of falling apart at the seams and not keeping their (sometimes outlandish) promises long before C-19 appeared.

    If we are reliant on massively lossmaking, unsustainable venture in Canada to save British RL then British RL is already dead and admitting Toronto may keep it going until someone gets bored funding it, or alternatively it could fall apart early and accelerate the fire.

    It was largely loss-making through not getting a slice of the Sky money (such was one of the onerous conditions of entry)
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    The way they've treated their playing staff should see them never near our sport again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    It was largely loss-making through not getting a slice of the Sky money (such was one of the onerous conditions of entry)
    They were fine with that until they realised their grand plans of their own lucrative TV deal were demonstrable nonsense.

    Let's be honest, any plan that includes the idea that they will float a global supporting megabrand with SL as the launchpad has zero credibility. People will say I'm just not being forward thinking enough, but sometimes a dream is just that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Cleal View Post
    I posted this elsewhere earlier today before the decision was confirmed...

    For me Toronto's inclusion/exclusion is about the identity and the ambitions of the league.

    If the Super Leagues say no then this is the first time we have deliberately regressed on expansion since Super League was tabled in 1995. Since then we have had failures and successes but the sport has never lost the desire to grow the game.

    If the answer is no, maybe moving back to winter and a return to part time is more on the cards than many of us think? If we don't want to expand anymore is this not now the best route to take?

    For many clubs, crowds were as big for part time rugby in the Winter as full time in the Summer. Added to this the poor TV contract from Sky who wanted the Super League to be full time and a summer league in the first place maybe it is time to stop living in a half way house and accept the turn of the tide?

    Teams like Halifax, Widnes, Bradford, Sheffield, Workington, Oldham, Leigh and London have all failed to sustain full time teams in the summer era with the threat that Hull KR, Salford and Wakefield could be the next to follow. If we reduce the overheads of a full time squad would this not help include these teams again?
    Toronto’s exclusion has nothing to do with that, more some clown who wouldn’t provide proof of funds before being admitted. You wouldn’t sell a house that way, so why should we admit Toronto because their name is Toronto and they sometimes play games in Canada?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos Cervezas View Post
    Toronto’s exclusion has nothing to do with that, more some clown who wouldn’t provide proof of funds before being admitted. You wouldn’t sell a house that way, so why should we admit Toronto because their name is Toronto and they sometimes play games in Canada?
    It can’t be as simple as that as a successful businessman like McManus voted for their inclusion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by saintgeorge View Post
    It can’t be as simple as that as a successful businessman like McManus voted for their inclusion.
    From what’s come out so far, admittedly it’s not been a long time and the dust hasn’t settled, we’re told LiVolsi, the new bloke at Toronto, wanted in before proving he had the funds. How true that is, we’re not sure but if it is, its no surprise it was as unanimous as it was. Why McManus voted yes is something I hope he comes out and explains.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DD View Post
    Whilst everyone is quick to point blame at the Super League clubs, there needs to be a question asked why clubs that previously supported the Toronto cause, have not done. Nobody has seen the business plan. Nobody has seen the reasoning, so can we make judgement on this without seeing the cases the clubs have been presented with?

    Quite frankly, it was never going to be sustainable, having a team from so far away playing in our competition. Covid has clearly finished it off (and even if they'd have been voted back in, they wouldn't have been playing any games next year in Toronto), but I never really expected the venture to last more than a few years. It's merely proven what most of us have always known. Regional sports are destined to stay regional. There simply is no precedent for mass expansion of any regional sport outside of the late 1800s.

    Toronto Wolfpack was a fad. The only way that it could have ever been a long term sustainable entity was in a competition within its own continent. Ottawa and New York needed to be the first of many, and I don't think there was ever much hope beyond the usual dreams from those who live in a world separate from reality.

    Rugby League has tried to expand on so many occasions, but the people in this country are resistant to it, and those elsewhere simply uninterested. I know plenty who have been to Toronto and have suggested the whole thing was rather surreal, with many people there for a free craic, not even looking in the direction of the pitch most of the time. Expansion isn't ever going to happen. That ship sailed away and sank with the Titanic.

    Of course, I feel sorry for the Toronto fans who bought into it, but anyone with foresight could see that it was a project that was always doomed to failure, just like all the others were before.
    It's inward thinking like this that will see Rugby League back as a semi-pro sport by the end of this TV deal. In reality the sport needs to change. It needs to remove the clubs from positions of power and establish a proper and competent board. The sport needs to attract investment and not just rely on the Sky deal. If Sky find a half decent new sport to replace Super League, I'd suggest we won't get a TV deal of any kind now. If Union move to summer and Sky get that deal, SL is finished.

    Toronto gave the competition access to a huge sporting market. If we'd built that and added Ottawa and New York successfully we could have seen serious money coming on board.

    But as ever, it's been stopped by tinpot clubs like Wakefield, Cas, Hull KR and Salford. None of which would pass any financial interrogation or due diligence. If Super League asked any of those clubs to 'prove' they had the finances to complete next season and a business plan for their future they'd all fail spectacularly. Why are clubs like that with little or no future dictating the future direction of the sport?

    If rejecting Toronto based on geography was part of a solid plan from Super League I could understand it. If they believe North America could be successful but not in unison with Super League and were going to focus expansion on France and Spain, that's great. But it's not, there simply is no plan and being honest there is no future for the sport either (Other than semi-pro played in front of 3-4,000 in rotten fallen down stadiums).

    All those who voted no cared about was their share of the 1/12th of the TV deal that would have gone to Toronto. THAT is the only thing that has caused the no vote. The business plans might not be watertight, but you're not telling me the likes of Wakefield and Salford have any right to cast doubt on them. I'd be amazed if they were even suitably professional to be able to judge it properly. All they care about is their slice of the TV deal being maximised. They don't realise that without Toronoto or expansion in general the TV deal and outside investment will never grow and they'll just continue to fight to protect their slice of a rapidly decreasing pie.

    It makes me wonder what will happen now? 11 team comp with Salford, Cas and Wakefield cancelling games all over the place as they'll run with 20 players and nothing else and express dismay at actually having to play matches? Or will they allow a 12th team in? I doubt they will now. If they did, unless it was York or Toulouse or London, what possible benefit would there be? Bringing Fetherstone or Leigh in would bring what exactly?

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