By Matthew Brown, Date: 12/12/12
In this blog, this is going to be a bit different from the â€œDragon Verdictâ€ I usually post. This is the â€œDragon Thoughtâ€ where I come up with ideas, thoughts etc that Iâ€™d like to share with you all!
Idea 1: Home Stadium for the national England RL Team
It seems to be a common idea within England & some European countries that a national stadium is used for the national team. In England, Union has Twickenham, Football has Wembley and so on. So why not Rugby League? It has been a vital part of English history for over 100 years so it deserves at least its own National stadium.
Many logical places in the North off the M1 and M2 would be an ideal place. Places such as Wigan, Leeds, Hull, Bradford, Salford, Manchester etc may come into peopleâ€™s minds. One ideal place may be where the sport was firstly played and that would be Huddersfield.
Imagine itâ€¦an all-seater stadium of 25 to 30 k with state of the arts facilities for the team, entertainment rooms, bars and guest rooms would be a great idea. Also it could be a chance to showcase the pride in the English Lions Rugby League jersey to the public. Stadiums such as Old Trafford in Manchester and the Santiago Bernabau in Madrid have sections of their stadiums open to the public to view such as the media conference room, training halls, previous trophies won and historical resources from the teamsâ€™ history such as previous playersâ€™ clothing, jerseys, boots etc.
A stadium dedicated to Rugby League would be perfect for something like this. It would create a sense of identity for English RL fans and a spiritual home away from home. It could also be a chance for everyone to unite under one banner at a central location for English home games.
Idea 2: NRL â€œOn the Roadâ€ International Games
In the NFL I noticed that to showcase the sport internationally, the NFL will allocate a regular conference game to an overseas stadium. Numerous times they have taken games to the Azteca Stadium in Mexico and more recently, Wembley Stadium in London, UK! I believe the NRL could do something similar.
Yes the ARLC does similar things to this such as giving games to new developing markets such as rural towns and cities, however bringing games to different countries could work just as well!
Each year there could be a new venue to help spread the game into new areas. Yes it is important to take games to places such as Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Mackay etc, however we could take an idea out of the NFLâ€™s book and take just one game a year to another country!
Some of these possible destinations could include;
â€¢ Tokyo, Japan
â€¢ Johannesburg/Cape Town, South Africa.
â€¢ Los Angeles, USA
â€¢ Las Vegas, USA
â€¢ Shanghai, China
â€¢ Hong Kong
â€¢ Seoul, South Korea
â€¢ Bangkok, Thailand
â€¢ Port Moresby, PNG.
These are just a few places which could host NRL games. Generally playing them at the right time could not affect viewing figures for normal round games as well. For example; playing a game in California in late afternoon would be 8 or 9 AM in Australia. Playing a game late at night in South Africa would be a similar time in Australia.
These are purely just a few ideas however marketed and done in the right manner could help boost the image of the NRL and Rugby League in general.