TRAVELS: VI

TravelsBy STEVE MASCORD

AN interesting document fell off the back of a truck – sorry, lorry – the other day. It may or may not have been a Stobart truck/lorry.

A copy for the RFL’s pitch document to potential naming rights sponsors has fallen into my hands and it makes for intriguing reading. Here’s a few key points:

·        There is a three-year minimum on the title sponsorship;

·        The Sky TV deal is priced at Stg121 million. Total value to sponsors of 680 hours on TV plus print and radio exposure is estimated at Stg8,610,729 with 65 per cent more value when global reach is taken into account;

·        Total fan base is claimed at 6.9 million. The proportion of fans in the south of England is 34 per cent;

·        Fans are 68 per cent male and 32 per cent female and “early adopters of technology”;

·        A boast that live Super League games average 171,000 viewers on Sky weekly with the Autumn Internationals averaging 800,000 on BBC;

·        RFL websites had 2.1 million unique users over the last year and there are 500,000 social media interactions a day;

·        Thirty-four per cent of fans say they are more likely to buy a produce if the company sponsors rugby league;

·        Super League fans are more likely than the general populous to own enjoy luxury holidays, own a home, eat at a fancy restaurant, enjoy watching sports in the pub and attend a gym;

·        A new website – superleaguetv.co.uk – will be launched. There’s nothing there now.

Some of this stuff you might already know, some you might have had an inkling of and some of it will entirely surprise you. I hope you find it interesting how your tastes and habits are being used to attract sponsors. What do you think of it all? Comment below.

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IN the NRL, we’ve had some clubs over the years that have been regarded as half-way houses – joints that would take anyone, regardless of their disciplinary or behavioural record.

Kiwi Arana Taumata this week parted ways with his seventh club, a record that is unlikely to be equalled any time soon when you consider that five of them sacked him.

South Sydney come to mind as a place than had more than its fair share of “colourful rugby league identities” over the years, although those days are long gone.

On the first fortnight of the season, there were real concerns that Super League was becoming the halfway house of world rugby league. Some of the cheap shots and high tackles were terrible and the reactions of the disciplinary committee woefully and inappropriately lenient.

For mine, Julian Bousquet’s challenge on Theo Fages in round two was worthy of a 10 week ban, not four. I haven’t seen the point of contact of Rangi Chase on Zac Hardaker but if it was head high then how can two matches be a sufficient suspension?

My countryman Ben Cross badly mistimed a tackle and seems to have been a little fortunate in the length of his suspension as well.

Leon Pryce lashing out with his knee at Richie Myler last Friday made for terrible television and yet he escaped a ban, while Brent Webb and Ben Westwood were each outed for a week even though they were kept apart when they apparently wanted to brawl as they were sent to the sin bin.

And how Nick Scruton escaped even a penalty for his hit on Gareth O’Brien last Saturday has got me beat. It obviously has the disciplinary committee beat too because Scruton was charged.

In discussing the demise of the shoulder charge, Leeds coach Brian McDermott said he didn’t mind because the disciplinary committee was not up to policing the ones that went wrong and “could kill someone”.

But following this line of thinking, do we ban every offence that the judiciary under-punish? Charge-downs? Gone! Any forward motion involving the knee? Gone. Tackling! Gone!

It’s fine to have a system of early pleas and charge grading but in the end the penalties have to fit the offence. It’s something worth working on if we are serious about convincing parents to let their kids play our game.

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COMMENTS now and Todd Slater said Brad Takarangi may be heading to England after Luke O’Donnell received a release from Hudderfield. I’m hearing Adam Cuthbertson’s name.

read on

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