What a farce this is! I wake up this morning to find out that the England vs Samoa test match on the 6th May is going to be live-streamed. Fantastic! So I go into the web link to have a look, and the RFL tell me I have to pay £3.49 to watch it! WHAT?! £3.49 to watch a test match that means absolutely nothing to anyone who watches RL in England. The Chief Commercial Officer at the RFL, Roger Draper, said “we believe that at just £3.49, the test match between England and Samoa offers tremendous value for what promises to be an incredible contest between two top sides”.
I understand that streaming is making its way into sport gradually and I do not believe that streaming the game is a problem, in fact I think it’s a good idea – you have people who would not be able to watch the game on BBC or other terrestrial TV, so it would make it more accessible. However, charging £3.49 for the pleasure? Who is going to want to watch it!
We want our game to grow, but it seems as though the RFL doesn’t! Many different ways of trying to encourage fans to watch and enjoy rugby league have been tried, for example the introduction of the magic weekend and international games in the south, but what does this do to encourage new fans? The main way to entice new fans is through the national team, I think we’re all pretty certain about that. So take this as an example: I’m someone from the south who’s never watched a game of RL in their life, but goes to watch Rugby Union every week. I’m getting a bit bored of RU (I mean, are you surprised!) so i decide to try different sports. It’s May 6th and I am browsing the internet looking for different sports to watch. “International rugby league – Samoa vs England” shows up. Yeah I’ll have some of that! I click the link: SORRY, YOU’VE GOT TO PAY £3.49 TO WATCH! Immediately I’d close the browser and keep looking for other sports.
This is what the RFL are doing. They are putting it out there saying “oh we want to expand the game and attract new fans”. WHAT GOOD WILL THIS DO!
Not only that, but the stalwart fans of RL are also being ripped off. The link says that if you buy Magic Weekend tickets between April 11th and May 5th, fans will be able to watch the game free. Nice offer, entices fans to go to Magic Weekend. But, what about the fans who have already bought their tickets? So they are alienating the supporters who have been around years and know to book their tickets early!
I think this is a disgraceful move from the RFL, with no regard for the good of the game at all, only for their wallets. I hope it does entice new fans, but I can guarantee they will be put off by having to pay.