Listen to the fans and allow Central Coast Bears in

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    So who runs the game, anyway? David Gallop constantly says it’s the fans. That being the case, the fans have spoken.

    Overwhelmingly, in any expansion poll of reputable sample size carried out over the past three years, the Central Coast Bears have won, usually with daylight second. Following daylight, Perth or Central Queensland trail.

    And right at the bottom of the list, often behind Dubbo and Mars, come Brisbane and Ipswich.

    Few want a Queensland side other than David Gyngell. In fact, Queensland poll participants are generally the highest voters in favour of adding the Bears due to the Queensland connection with the Bears in the ’80s and ’90s, when ironically we were one of the most watched teams on TV.

    Channel Nine has reduced the quality and commentary of rugby league coverage in Australia to rock bottom and they get to decide on expansion? The game can now call the shots and prove that fans are important, not self-interested clubs or networks. Today’s news that Channel 10 is going to bid hard for all eight games/per week (soon to be nine) is a breath of fresh air.

    It will allow the Independent Commission to dictate terms to the networks. Once bids reach a tipping point of $900,000, the gap between the salary cap and grants can be closed, ensuring existing clubs can be looked after and funds set aside for junior/regional development. At this point, like AFL, the game itself can decide where it wants to expand to, not the networks.

    The first bid that must be accepted is the Central Coast Bears, as the opportunity cost of excluding them is higher than with other bids. If the Central Coast does not receive a license in 2012, the bid will shut down and the Central Coast’s chances of ever getting a team will be gone forever.

    The Coast is not large enough to sustain a team on its own due to a lack of heavy industry/commercial headquarters, hence needs to link either north or south for corporate opportunities. North is Newcastle, south is the north shore, where the game is withering due to the lack of the Bears.

    Since exclusion, three junior teams have folded in northern Sydney and only through the hard work of the Bears has a team been reformed this year (Lane Cove Tigers).

    The nearest NRL team, Manly, for historical reasons is unable to connect with the north shore and following the Northern Eagles debacle, the Central Coast.

    Any start up team or relocated team on the Coast will not connect with the north shore and will be therefore unsustainable, hence it’s now or never for the Coast.

    The bid team will present to the IC evidence they can increase free-to-air and pay-TV viewership, which should negate any claims that they do not add media rights value. Other advantages for the bid include:

    • Minimal away travel costs for Sydney teams.

    • Engagement in two enormous derbies – Newcastle and Manly, which will boost attendance profits for all three clubs and provide a primary marketing tool to leverage merchandise/membership sales from every year. Benefits also accrue to other Sydney teams, though obviously in proportion to distance.

    • Instant profit centre – low start up costs as the experience and infrastructure to run an NRL team is already in place as is the fan base, with 7704 financial memberships and research indicating there will be full or near capacity crowds at Bluetongue every match. Any new start up will face precisely the struggles the Titans are facing now.

    • Opportunity to engage with the third largest corporate region in Australia that doesn’t have a locally based national sporting team, and close to one million people that don’t have a locally based national sporting team.

    • Partly owned by the stadium they will play in.

    • Increased interest in the game. Many non-RL people will show interest in a team based at Bluetongue representing their regional community. Fans of existing teams will happily go to the ground and cheer for their team when playing.

    The kids are already Bears fans through the Bears’ efforts – they have no past prejudices. North shore residents simply abandoned the game when the Bears were turfed and follow AFL and Union. Only the Bears will bring them back.

    The bid team is mindful they need to prove they will not harm existing teams, and their ownership and sponsorship profile indicates this has already been achieved, without a license.

    I would like to see four teams be given licenses, staggered over two entry dates. Central Coast and either Pert or South-East Queensland for 2015, (or both if an existing team is relocated to one of these venues), and the loser plus Central QLD granted provisional licenses (subject to them fulfilling criteria such as stadium/membership criteria) for inclusion in 2020. Should relocation occur, Wellington could enter with Central Queensland in 2020.

    Some of the bid teams have spent enormous sums of money in garnering corporate and community support. Volunteers from the Bears, for example, have spent time away from family for many weekends over two years now.

    Denied passion leads to bitterness.

    To be ignored will ensure these bids will disappear along with many fans and sponsors and the game will not be able to grow.

    Photo via Central Coast Bears website.

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    The Crowd Says (121)

    • February 17th 2012 @ 8:01am
      mummabear said | February 17th 2012 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      Well Rabby hope that is enough info on stats for polls lol well done
      Ourimbah Maggie’s , the polls were not run by Bears silly , as I keep saying
      The numbers don’t lie , n CENTRAL COAST BEARS win again , how many polls do we
      Have to win , so sick of rude ppl with uneducated comments bagging the
      Bears , lucky there s more of us coasties n North shore fans to Clearly OUT VOTE U , look at
      The Score Board !!!

    • Roar Guru

      February 17th 2012 @ 8:17am
      peeeko said | February 17th 2012 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      without offering an opinion on expansion i think fan polls dont really count for much and the 8000 or so members of the CCB dont really count for a lot. it comes down to TV dollars.

      • February 17th 2012 @ 8:36am
        Beowulf said | February 17th 2012 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        The Bears don’t believe they will cost any TV dollars – its only a report that David Gyngell will pay more for a QLD team and none for any more. Which is crap, and the BEars can prove its crap, but if true it means WA are screwed due to travel costs etc. They are looking at the extra game on Sun nts 7.30 now as its huge in the US re NFL. Suits the Central Coast perfectly. THe 9.30 game on Fri nt has diminishing ratings.

        And the fans don’t matter? That’s the issue, isn’t it?

        • Roar Guru

          February 17th 2012 @ 8:59am
          peeeko said | February 17th 2012 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          of course the fans matter, but small sample size online polls are not always reflective of the feelings of the total population.
          business decisions are never based off fan polls. getting 8000 members is great but really its not a huge number to sway the decision the bears way, it helps but really its not a huge number

    • February 17th 2012 @ 8:44am
      Will Sinclair said | February 17th 2012 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      Good on you Beowulf.

      As I said yesterday, rugby league has always been “The People’s Game”, and the Bears are a good test of whether this is still the case, or whether the game is now owned by faceless suits at the TV networks.

      I, for one, would LOVE to see the Bears back in the NRL.

      Bring it on.

    • February 17th 2012 @ 8:47am
      Gaz said | February 17th 2012 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      Peeeko, you’re quite correct, Rabbits are reporting a 18k membership but little support at the stadium on game day. Broncos 13k average 20,000 plus at Lang Park. The TV dollars are important but Ch 9 has lost its way and has been allowed to dictate the running rather than showcase Our game for far too long.
      With the new commission and recent interest of Ch 10 it may well be the finish of 9’s stranglehold. This is so refreshing and really gives a new slant on things to come.
      Beowulf, I hope you get your wish and have a team to support on the CC but to be realistic it may well be a team relocated from Sydney otherwise it could be seen as an extension of an already “too many teams in the one spot” scenario rather than true expansion. Don’t worry too much about Perth being too far away that’s the crux of expansion and Cowboys already travel to Melbourne and vice versa.

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    • February 17th 2012 @ 9:11am
      Andy said | February 17th 2012 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      As much as I liked the bears when they were in the comp I dont think they should be allowed back in. The game needs to expand to new areas. Perth is a no brainer and will be the next team in. The other team that should join them is PNG. This is a country of nearly 7 million people that eat, sleep and crap RL. They would easily be the most supported club win, lose or draw. The stadium would be full every week and would be fantastic for our game.

      On top of that their government will invest 20 million towards a new stadium. They have a lot of sponsors including some very powerfull mining companies. I know PNG have a lot issues facing their bid and I know there will be a lot of people against it but before you say anything please have check this out.

      RL is about passionate and there is no other place on earth as passionate about this sport as PNG.

    • February 17th 2012 @ 9:44am
      Chris said | February 17th 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      I’ve said this on many other posts, and I’ll say it again…

      Expansion/relocations: Add the CC Bears, move the Sharks to Perth and the Sea Eagles to Adelaide and start up a second team in Brisbane.

      The advantages of this are that there is a blend of looking after heartland AND expansion into new markets. There is only one genuine ‘start from scratch’ new team. Sharks and Sea Eagles can maintain pockets of support in Sydney (look at the support the Swans get in Melbourne from old South Melbourne supporters as an example).

      All of this needs to happen over a reasonable length of time – probably 5-10 years I would have thought to minimise the disruption.
      We can have our cake and eat it too…:)

      • February 17th 2012 @ 11:29am
        AGO74 said | February 17th 2012 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        except for Cronulla and Manly fans.

        • February 17th 2012 @ 1:01pm
          Crosscoder said | February 17th 2012 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          Yes and the pocket of support for those teams recommended for relocation ,is not much different to some Sydney heartland teams.
          AlI I can say the Sharks must have deep pockets(sic).

          The club actually grew their crowds in 2011 by 14.6%,in an ordinary year.Souths,Parra,Penrith and the Tigers crowds were down.But wait they therefore, are candidates for relocation.

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