NRL’s new pitch looks suspiciously like cricket’s
Craig Bellamy wears a Gatorade shower following the NRL Grand Final between the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012.(AAP Image/Ben Zonner)
When I die and come back to this sporting world, please, please let me be a marketing guru for the Australian Rugby League Commission.
With thanks to Dire Straits, I’ll get my money for nothing, and maybe even some chicks for free.
As I see it, the “whiz-bang, new” logo announced by the League today is a just about a twin for the one that Cricket Australia has successfully employed for the past few years.
The NRL version features two gold stripes (or chevrons) and the Southern Cross on a green shield. I have looked at it from all angles but there is only one conclusion: the “new” logo looks terribly similar to the logo used by the nation’s cricket authority.
Is there an active brain in the marketing department down at League HQ? Was there a chance the code’s ruling body could have come up with something even remotely fresh?
Overall, I appreciate that the ARLC is genuinely striving to achieve good things for the game but today’s logo release leaves me scratching my head, and maybe even tearing some grey hairs out.
Is Ricky Ponting going to trot out as the new halfback for the St George Illawarra Steelers? Can Shane Watson handle more than one position? Is Michael Clarke going to be a good partner for Benji Marshall at the Wests Tigers?
Confusion over the logos will reign supreme. It should never have come to this.
I say the ARLC has missed the boat AGAIN. Its marketing gurus had the chance to come up with something completely new – something exciting and refreshing to put on the jumpers from the players in the Under 6s right through to the NRL premiership.
Instead, they elected to travel down the cricket path. Instead of coming up with a no-brainer, they produced a no ball.
I am disappointed, but I’ll move on. There were other major announcements from Commissioner John Grant and Co at an important media conference today. They included:
* An aim for each club membership to reach 400,000
* League’s social media platforms to engage a minimum 5.8m people
* 84 percent of NRL players to be engaged in education and/or career training
* Central revenue to have doubled to more than $300m
*Average attendance at NRL games to hit 20,000
*$200m for a growth fund for investment in key projects
I would suggest that all of the above is well within reach, given League’s rising popularity but squeezing an ‘average’ crowd of 20,000 into Brookvale Oval, for example, might be a tad too ambitious.
New logo and strategic plans aside, I believe of the most important announcements made by the ARLC today is in danger of falling into the fine print category.
Grant revealed the decision made been made not to revisit any NRL expansion until the end of the 2014 season. He said the code felt it was more important to strengthen the position of the current 16 clubs before considering further additions.
Grant said: “The Commission has made a decision that, at this time, it’s not in the game’s best interests to commit to any of the proposals that have come forward regarding expansion.
“In making this decision, we are cognisant of the investment of time and money that some of the consortiums have committed to over the past 12 months or so.
“We do not want them or their supporters lost to the game and commit that following the 2014 season, we will conduct a formal and full review on expansion.”
This announcement looked to be made as an after-thought to the “important” blueprint/strategy measures the ARLC wants its fans to chew over and ultimately swallow.
Expansion, to me, is critical to the game’s future prosperity and it now looks as though no new teams have a hope of surfacing until 2017 at the very earliest.
Bye bye Central Coast Bears. Grit in the eye of the Perth Pirates. Central Queenslanders can also stew in their own sugarcane juice.
The only things that are likely to expand in League in the near future are the commissioners’ bank balances and more than likely, their waistline sizes.
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