Forum Sevens:
Selling The Drama at NRL Creek

To those with a background in 90's rock, the title will be instantly familiar. But in singing the song last night (in my best Ed Kowalcyzk voice of course), I wondered to myself, how can the NRL identify with the song?

Let's face it, the NRL has the product. They have a game that Rupert Murdoch thought was good enough to sell to the world. Now whether you agreed with the ideals of Super League is an entirely different matter. The fact remained that one of the biggest media tycoons of all time considered the rugby league product good enough to take to the people, from Beijing to Bangkok, Manila to Mauritius; they were all going to have a rugby league team

Now let's just push aside for a moment what actually happened ;)

I go to plenty of league games. Fifteen to twenty most years to be exact. And I do love each and every game. However, I do get the feeling at times that some of the games are not hyped and promoted in the right ways. Nothing consolidated that feeling more for me then when on Sunday, the only recognition that we got that Hazem El-Masri had amassed 500 points for the Bulldogs was a quick 5 second announcement over the PA. In comparison, a 200 game player in the AFL will usually be chaired off the field. Not to mention the pre-game hype surrounding the milestone

I wrote about a similar issue last year when Luke Ricketson broke the Roosters record for most games played at the club. A paltry 9,000 turned up and no one gave a tinkers toss. It's pathetic, and I feel the same as I sit here typing this again

Why can't the NRL make every game an ‘event'?? What prohibits them (and the clubs for that matter) from hyping up every game and making the contest to look important and in following, make people want to attend? Once again, I turn to the AFL who promote many of their games through a variety of means, including indigenous days and kid's days.

Going to some games can be painful for those who are not hardcore fans. Why would have anyone wanted to go watch the Cowboys play the Dogs on a cold Sunday afternoon at the Showgrounds? Do they wonder why they barely got 7,000? But the situation can be applied to any club at any time; we all know that each club has had their encounters with poor crowds through the years.

Solution? Well, being the solutions man that I am, I can only really see one. The clubs say that reducing the number of club games to 22 will result in reduced revenue. I say rubbish. If an NRL club budgets for a net of 120,000 people through the gates for a year (10,000 per game on a 24 round basis + 2 byes) then what would the difference be if they only played 10 games at home? 12,000….a paltry increase of 2,000 people per game. I firmly believe that a 22 round home and away season would promote more excitement in rugby league and as a result, more people through the gates. Each game would be an event.

Add to this the fact that it would give players more rest (as Joey has mentioned) and it would give time for a more complete international season to be run at the completion of the year without interference from club games. The recent test results involving the British and Kiwis indicate that running test games during the year is not the way to go.

My arguments have developed from many incidents, and with only 750 words, the topics can scarcely be covered. But the fact remains that something needs to be done about the great ‘slide in crowds' that regularly happens year after year come round 14-20. The AFL can do it, most other codes can do it, why can't we keep up the interest for the whole year?

Make no mistake; we still have the best core product. But it's how we promote our product that still causes me a lot of concern. Davy Gallop, if your listening, it's time to turn the promotion up a notch for 2K4, try a few different things, stir the pot. We live in dynamic times, the stagnant get left behind.

Give people a reason to go every week!

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