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Prem Relaunch 24/25

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 13 Dec - 20:22

Lifted and shifted from the beeb:

'The 2024-2025 season will see a rebirth of Premiership Rugby, as the league looks to recover from a turbulent period off the field.

It comes after the demise of Wasps and Worcester, with both clubs going out of business this campaign.

One of the architects of The Hundred in cricket has come on board as the league looks to re-establish its identity.

"It is essentially a relaunch of the league," Premiership Rugby boss Simon Massie-Taylor told BBC Sport.

"We need to start moving towards a new system. It needs to look and feel a bit different."

Massie-Taylor added: "Events moved quickly when it came to Wasps and Worcester, which only reinforced the issues we need to solve.

"The only real positive of this very sad situation is it has given further momentum to quite a few changes within the system."

Premiership Rugby's four areas of emphasis
With next season a "transitionary year" as the English game resolves its structural issues - as well as it being the last year of the existing Professional Game Agreement (PGA) - Premiership Rugby has outlined four main areas of emphasis going forward:

The establishment of an independent financial monitoring panel, which will oversee all club finances, in a bid to avoid the fate that befell Worcester and Wasps.
A new sporting commission, which would be independently chaired and make decisions on behalf of the league.
Finalising the new PGA, with the biggest area of focus the structure of the English professional game going forward, and a clear vision of what the second-tier Championship looks like and how promotion and relegation will work.
Commitment to the growth plan, with an aim to continue to build the league's fanbase, using experience from cricket competition The Hundred to engage a new audience.
The opaque nature of club finances - and the failure to act on a number of warning signs when it came to Wasps and Worcester - has forced the league into an urgent reappraisal, with Premiership Rugby needing much greater access when it comes to club accounts - as is the case in France's professional leagues.

"The key words are financial discipline," explained Massie-Taylor.

"We need to have much more regular reporting, and you need a system where you have regulations in place that create better discipline.

"But it is forward-looking as well. Clubs have been supportive of this and see the need for it, and we are in the process of recruiting an independent chair who will do a full review and come up with detailed recommendations.

"In the meantime we have better financial information to help manage some of the short-term issues that may come up in the current economic environment."

Meanwhile, the sporting commission would "simplify how decisions are made" in a bid to avoid the conflict that has hamstrung decision-making.

The commission would include three independent figures, including a recently retired player, as well as an independent chairperson.

"We are trying to be a bit more fleet-of-foot when we are making decisions, and take the conflict out," Massie-Taylor said.

"The clubs recognise all this and a lot of them have been pushing for change for a while, and we are using this opportunity to get this right."

Restoring promotion and relegation
As it stands there is no relegation to the Championship next season, although a team can be promoted to the top-flight if they pass the required standards.

The long-term structure therefore remains up in the air, with the Premiership currently consisting of 11 teams after Wasps' and Worcester's relegation.

Either way, strengthening the second tier to ensure a robust promotion and relegation system in the future is now a priority.

"There is an extreme willingness to have a more aligned second tier, because we think that will help it grow," said Massie-Taylor.

"How that works is a topic of conversation at the moment, and linked to that is what happens next season as far as promotion and relegation, because we obviously need to let our Championship colleagues know the rules of engagement.

"You want a Championship which clubs feel more comfortable relegated into. And you also want something where Wasps and Worcester are germinated back to being a successful club again - because we want Wasps and Worcester back in the Premiership."

As far as commercial growth is concerned, Rob Calder - former commercial director of The Hundred - has joined Premiership Rugby as chief growth officer as the league looks to build its fanbase and start a new chapter in its history.

"He was one of the architects [of The Hundred] and was in the room as they were putting the whole thing together," explained Massie-Taylor.

"He understands the challenges we are trying to solve. The 2024-2025 season is that opportune moment to establish what we are, and that is part of his job."'

Seems sensible all in all.

No 7&1/2

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Post by Irish Londoner Tue 13 Dec - 22:31

Funny how the PRL are worried about the Championship now that Wasps (and to a lesser extent Worcester) are in it with no money, no team but still hanging on to their "P Shares".
They never seemed worried that London Welsh or Leeds collapsed under the financial strain of trying to sustain themselves in the Premiership or when Newcastle, Irish, etc. go down. No doubt the "ground standard" rules are going to get waived in order to bring up Ealing and their millionaire sugar daddy.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 13 Dec - 22:47

You could say the more glamourous club in difficulties has focused the mind but I do think it's right to review the promotion and relegation issues.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Tue 13 Dec - 23:07

It will be interesting to see what new financial rules are agreed beyond any legal obligations for annual accounts and HMRC declarations for what are privately owned businesses.

The Championship has always been undervalued and lacks stadia and marketing - although fta tv would help. The capital investment required to generate subsequent revenues simply hasn't materialised. It is however not rocket science that the french T14 is so strong because the D2 is a thriving league in its own right.
It is encouraging that, whilst always no doubt recognised, the PRL is talking stategically about the Championship again. It's a start.


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Post by yappysnap Wed 14 Dec - 13:59

According to Nielsen’s Sports Fan Insights, rugby is the sixth largest sport in the UK with a fanbase of 12 million, favorable age and gender splits and widespread interest in flagship competitions such as the Six Nations
Nielsen analysis indicates that Rugby Union in the UK may be underperforming on its broadcast and commercial income despite having strong interest levels and an attractive fanbase
Rugby experiences several unique challenges which may be holding the sport back
The current environment offers new opportunities for prospective investors; significant external investment and strategic measures can simplify and strengthen the rugby landscape and ultimately unlock previously untapped value, as witnessed through CVC’s recent investments
A new report released by Nielsen Sports, the global leader in sports industry analytics, suggests that rugby union has yet to fully capitalize on its commercial potential, with the growing involvement of private equity and venture capitalist firms offering the opportunity to change that, and a sign that they see untapped value in rugby union

The increased involvement of PE and VC firms has been driven principally by the fast growth in the sports and entertainment sector, with the industry growing at 7.4% CAGR over the last 3-5 years which is significant for any investor seeking healthy returns. Private equity firms are shrewd, business savvy operators who invest in sports franchises and leagues to acquire financial gains rather than trophies – the most notable example being CVC’s investment in Formula 1 in 2006 before exiting with a sizeable profit in 2017.

Rugby, more than most sports, has the potential to capitalize on the increased involvement of private equity and venture capitalist firms in the sports industry. It is an attractive proposition, evidenced by the investment in the sport over the last two years by CVC, who have invested £200m in exchange for a 27% share in Premiership Rugby; £120m in the Pro14 for a similar stake; and are involved in ongoing discussion with the Six Nations over a possible 14.5% share in the tournament. CVC continues to be linked with further investments, including notable properties in the Southern Hemisphere.

However, CVC’s involvement also points to a belief that rugby union may be undervalued and that it has the potential to markedly improve its commercial performance.

According to Nielsen’s Sports Fan Insights, rugby union is the six largest sport in the UK with a fanbase of 12 million which places it behind football and motorsports (including F1) but ahead of cricket. It has a younger fan base than that of F1, cricket and the general population, with 27% of fans falling into the 16-29 age bracket, compared to 24% for F1 and 26% for cricket and the general population.

However, despite rugby’s sizeable, mature and affluent fanbase – which appeals to younger and female audiences more than others – Rugby properties on average are generating lower rights yields in the UK than other comparable sports competitions. When compared to other major sports competitions, rugby union properties have significantly lower annual media rights values in the UK.

The Six Nations is the jewel in the Northern Hemisphere rugby calendar, with the annual tournament counting a fanbase in the UK larger than rugby union in general. Its 13.7 million fans put it in line with F1 (14 million) and ahead of England men’s cricket (9.1 million). However, whilst the Six Nations has remained on free-to-air TV, earning the Six Nations in the region of £50 million from its broadcast rights both Formula 1 and English men’s cricket has moved to pay TV generating approximately 4 times more broadcast revenue annually despite having similar interest levels.

Analysis shows the Six Nations delivers a lower rights fee per fan relative to that of F1 and cricket, which both benefit from pay TV. A potential switch to Pay TV could result in strong rights fee growth were they able to increase the relative rights fee per fan inline with other major rights holders.

It’s a similar story when it comes to commercial income, with the rugby sponsorship market in the UK and Ireland declining by a 6% CAGR between 2016 and 2019. This decline contrasts with the increase seen more generally across the wider UK market, with football enjoying a healthy growth of 8% CAGR over the same period. Rugby’s decline can be found in significant decreases in flagship sponsorships such as those of the Six Nations and English Premiership, which have fallen by nearly 30% and 20% respectively. Football on the other hand has seen its Premier League teams benefit from double digit growth in key sponsorships, such as Tottenham’s £40 million per season partnership with AIA and Everton’s new £10 million per season kit sponsorship with Hummel. Both examples represented a 25% increase on their previous deals. Elsewhere, the ECB doubled its kit sponsorship income when switching to New Balance during that period.

Phelan Hill, Head of Strategy & Consulting at Nielsen Sports, commented:

“Rugby faces some unique challenges which are possibly holding the sport back and preventing it from capitalizing on the commercial gains experienced by sports such as football, cricket and F1. There is a divide between the domestic and international game and various leagues and competitions operating in silos, with a disjointed global calendar which has bred a culture of self-interest and fragmented commercial and broadcast distribution.

“New investment and structural changes can lead to a more joined-up, substantial rugby proposition which would become more compelling for broadcasters and sponsors. Over time, we can expect to see new tournaments, the expansion of existing events and more crossover competitions between different leagues and hemispheres. We’ll also likely see greater investment in building the brands of the various rugby union properties around the world, generating more widespread interest from fans, broadcasters and sponsors and greater commercial revenues.”

This is from 2020 but relevant, I think.


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