Broncos deserve to be Friday night regulars

MG Burbank Roar Guru

By MG Burbank, MG Burbank is a Roar Guru

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    There has been news recently in League circles detailing the collective desire of most club officals to have a fixed schedule in the NRL.

    Many of them cited the inherent advantage the Brisbane Broncos receive, on many levels, through the almost constant scheduling of the Brisbane club’s games on a Friday night on Channel Nine.

    At this stage the Broncos look set to feature on Friday in every round leading up to the State Of Origin series.

    While having a set seven-day break between matches is advantageous in terms of routine, the commercial opportunities afforded to the Broncos through regular national exposure is the element that is creating the most resentment among rival clubs.

    Cronulla, who are yet to receive a Friday game and with none in sight, have yet to sign a major sponsor. It’s representatives have some of the loudest voices when it comes to creating a set schedule for the entire season, as happens in the AFL.

    Part of that plan would include a supposedly ‘fair’ spread of Friday night games for all clubs. David Gallop and the Independent Commission should not let themselves be intimidated by self-interested voices that disingenuously shriek for ‘fairness’.

    I am an advocate for scheduling the entire NRL season in advance. Most major sports do it, and with good reason: it allows clubs to market their games more effectively. It also helps fans, especially those season ticket-holders and members who like to attend multiple games, to plan well in advance.

    That said, a set schedule should have absolutely no bearing on which clubs play on a Friday night in front of a national audience.

    The idea that the big TV games should be shared evenly is ridiculous. Yes, clubs should receive all the support the NRL can offer, from grants to organizational assistance and of course, their fair share of marketing appropriate for an NRL franchise.

    But sport is entertainment, and the fact is that certain clubs simply have a more appealing brand. The vast majority of League fans, in a given NRL season, do not want to see Cronulla on a Friday night. Or any other currently mediocre team with little appeal.

    I do believe that Brisbane has an unfair advantage, which is why a second team is needed in that city to provide some kind of competition for the abundance of elite juniors that emerge each year in that part of the country.

    But if executives and supporters of Sydney clubs want a fairer competition, if they truly want to compete with Brisbane for national exposure, they have two choices- build an extremely competitive club with a large fan base, or call for further rationalization of Sydney clubs- a prospect most Sydney-based fans abhor.

    Those crying foul over selections for TV games are kidding themselves if they think a full set schedule would cure their ills. In this case the ARLC would simply rate teams a year in advance based on the best available information and then allocate the highly-rated teams a majority of the prime slots.

    Which is how it should be. Rewarding mediocrity is a recipe for more of that same mediocrity splashed across our television screens on a weekly basis. The NRL must avoid this proposed race to the bottom. The only ‘fair’ thing to do in this situation is to broadcast the best matches to the biggest audiences.

    Anything less is detrimental to the health of the game.

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    The Crowd Says (93)

    • March 15th 2012 @ 3:20am
      JCVD said | March 15th 2012 @ 3:20am | ! Report

      I totally agree with this article. Why should teams like Cronulla and Canberra etc… Who have low membership figures and attract low crowds be given a leg up when over other teams who are innovative with their marketing strategies?

      Even if a second Brisbane team does enter the competition this will only mean that every Friday night there will be guaranteed at least one Brisbane team playing

      • March 17th 2012 @ 8:58pm
        E.B. said | March 17th 2012 @ 8:58pm | ! Report

        If Foxtel can organise to show both games live on Friday night, it would mean Brisbane based supporters who do not support the Broncos would not have to suffer through them every week.
        I believe breaking the channel nine stranglehold on Friday night football would be advantageous to all parties.
        As to the fairness of having the Broncos playing every Friday night I ask, “Since the Broncos started buying premierships back in the eighties, when haven’t they got what they wanted?”

    • Roar Pro

      March 15th 2012 @ 4:06am
      Football United said | March 15th 2012 @ 4:06am | ! Report

      definitely, tough luck if your team is not appealing enough to be on tv. you get enough of this equality rubbish benefits from the NRL.

      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2012 @ 6:36am
        MG Burbank said | March 15th 2012 @ 6:36am | ! Report

        Yep- although the salary cap, while not administered correctly (there must be huge exemptions for internally-developed players) is good for the game; there should be a reasonable chance for all teams to compete, something that doesn’t happen in the Premier League, for example, or for that matter most competitions that lack some of the protections the NRL has put in place.

        • Roar Guru

          March 15th 2012 @ 8:37am
          peeeko said | March 15th 2012 @ 8:37am | ! Report

          truth is we should have had 2 Brisbane teams a long time ago (well we did and got rid of one). this would get rid to some degree of the comparative advantage that the Broncos have. i believe it was also a factor in letting the Brisbane AFL team get a foothold in Brisbane

          • Roar Guru

            March 15th 2012 @ 8:54am
            MG Burbank said | March 15th 2012 @ 8:54am | ! Report

            You may be right. The Crushers (or as my father liked to call them, the Crushees) were never given enough backing, ambushed as they were by the Super League war. A quality organization will be successful.

    • Roar Guru

      March 15th 2012 @ 4:19am
      Dan Wighton said | March 15th 2012 @ 4:19am | ! Report

      The NRL does a lot to ensure the clubs have equal opportunities. The salary cap is the best example of this.

      I dont like the idea that each club will get the exact same amount of Friday, Sunday etc games.

      The Broncos are an appealing club who will feature on television more weekends than not. However it is not only a geographical argument.

      The Titans will receive less games, and I assume the Cowboys even less.

      The Sharks had plenty of TV games in the late 90s early 00s, with guys like Campbell, Ettingshausen and Peachey drawing attention.

      It creates a bit of a vicious cycle, but I guess its another incentive to try and make sure your club performs better and is more entertaining.

    • March 15th 2012 @ 4:23am
      Gaz said | March 15th 2012 @ 4:23am | ! Report

      43,000 at Lang Park last Friday nite and you would have to guess a relative TV audience suggests your topic is correct. A second Brisbane tean however would be divisional and serve no purpose in the growth of our sport. Channel nine would have done their homework and need to offer their sponsors the greatest viewing audience. This would not be possible if the Broncos did not have a winning culture. It is no doubt beneficial to a team to have this exposure in terms of jersey sponsorship and I note Cronulla that you mentioned are yet to attract a front of jersey sponsor. Perhaps with more prime time TV exposure that may not be an issue for them but that can only happen by consistently winning more games.

      • March 15th 2012 @ 4:57am
        Marc said | March 15th 2012 @ 4:57am | ! Report

        That’s right. But your comment about a second Brisbane team being ‘divisional’ (divisive?) is off the mark. Brisbane has a relatively large population, is fanatical about League and the current balance is completely skewed with one club owning that entire city. The odds are that a second Brisbane team would likely never compete on even terms with the Broncos but it would certainly peel off a decent number of juniors and grab some share of the market which would weaken the Broncos slightly. If a slight weakening of the Broncos meant that another viable team could emerge and the city of Brisbane would have an NRL game guaranteed on a weekly basis, it’s a move worth making. Sydney has 9 teams (too many)- Brisbane can certainly allow room for 2.

        • March 15th 2012 @ 5:56am
          Gaz said | March 15th 2012 @ 5:56am | ! Report

          No Marc I mean divisional in terms of growth, by introducing a second team in Brisbane you would be hypothetically deviding the existing supporter base into two therefore not affording any growth as opposed to introducing a side into Perth or wherever. But that’s an argument for another time.
          The Broncos are successful both on and off the field and Clubs need that these days. A winning culture actually begins in the board room and some clubs are deficient in this area. They are letting their fans down at this level and to begin the year without jersey sponsorship is unacceptable.
          Basically if a Club wants a Friday nite game they need to earn it.

          • Roar Guru

            March 15th 2012 @ 6:34am
            MG Burbank said | March 15th 2012 @ 6:34am | ! Report

            Agreed on most counts. And yes, it is more important for the game to continue establishing itself in areas with huge growth potential like Perth, New Zealand and eventually Adelaide. That progress,however, wouldn’t be hampered to continuing to expand within traditional strongholds. Where there is potential for growth, the NRL must take the initiative. Imagine the fever pitch in Brisbane if there were two strong sides battling for prominence. It’s those kind of rivalries that create interest in the code from elsewhere.

      • March 22nd 2012 @ 12:51am
        Queensland's game is rugby league said | March 22nd 2012 @ 12:51am | ! Report

        There are a lot of rugby league fans in Brisbane who do not support the Broncos. Those fans aren’t members of the Broncos. Nor do they go to many NRL games. Adding a new team into the greater Brisbane area would give these fans an incentive to go to more NRL games [of the new team] and become a ticketed member [of the new team]

        • Roar Pro

          April 2nd 2012 @ 12:26pm
          crip said | April 2nd 2012 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          A bloke at work the other day told me that for every stadium of Broncos fans you can fill in Brisbane you could fill two that hate them. He was a Brothers fan from way back.

    • March 15th 2012 @ 8:12am
      James said | March 15th 2012 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      I don’t mind if the broncos are on every friday. Fox sports has less commercials and better coverage.

      As far as entertainment goes I find the raiders, warriors and storm play far more entertaining football then the broncos any way.

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      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2012 @ 8:56am
        MG Burbank said | March 15th 2012 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        James, you lost me when you said that Canberra, a middling team at best (although on the rise with their young talent), play FAR more entertaining footy than Brisbane.
        Where do you get that? Hoffmann, Hodges, Yow Yeh, Wallace, Thaiday, Civoniceva… no shortage of entertainment there. I also would argue about Fox’s better coverage, considering their team of commentators are mediocre at best.

    • March 15th 2012 @ 8:14am
      Sammy Grazer said | March 15th 2012 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      In my humble oppinion, I think it just boils down to having at least 1 non-sydney team host 1 of the Friday night games. (FYI Illawarra and Penrith are both Sydney teams)

      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2012 @ 8:57am
        MG Burbank said | March 15th 2012 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        Nothing humble about it- but yes, they want a Queensland team every week and North Qld and Gold Coast do not currently warrant weekly exposure in prime time. Well said, Graze. You sound intelligent, which means you must follow Melbourne.

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