Tamworth Tiger wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:31 am
There must be a Castleford in Aus
I Googled the other day Sydney to Cas and Sydney Toronto and the mileage was only 600 miles different!
Edit - never mind, I read what you'd googled wrong... but Toronto to Cas is 5,536 km (3440 miles) whereas Sydney to Cas is 16,922 km(10,515 miles).
In general here are the main points I see against Toronto and this is why I disagree with them:
Problem: They won't bring many away fans
Response: If clubs rely on away fans to survive they don't deserve to survive, and it's not like Huddersfield or Salford bring many away fans.
Problem: It's a British/European league
Response: Well now it's a European and North American League. Get over it.
Problem: The existence of Toronto, Catalans, and possibly Ottawa, New York, etc in future is threatening clubs with long histories like Featherstone.
Response: Those clubs have had a long time to become economically strong members of Rugby Leagues top division.
Problem: Toronto give away free tickets to get their numbers up
Response: So What? they're growing the game, a child given a free ticket today is a season ticket holder in 10 years. It's called investment and it's smart.
Problem: The RFL shouldn't be spending money on Toronto, they should spend it on the heartlands.
Response: The RFL hasn't spent a penny on Toronto, in fact Toronto paid the RFL to enter the league. In contrast; The RFL spent money buying Bradfords stadium to stop them going bust, and they still went bust.
Problem: The travel distances are too far, teams can't afford it and no way can Toronto maintain it.
Response: Right now Air Transat are sponsoring Toronto and paying flight costs for away teams to visit. The distance covered is not actually unusual in sports - for example Super Rugby has teams in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, every North American sport sees west coast teams playing east coast teams (distances about the same as Toronto to Yorkshire). That said I do think that the lack of money in Rugby League does mean this might not be viable long term.
That's my opinion anyway.
I don't know if this Toronto experiment will be successful in the long run, I don't know if it's economically viable. What I do know is that Rugby League in the UK is currently a minority sport, who's biggest team can't even half-fill a 25,000 seat stadium most weeks. So as a sport we're not exactly gambling everything by letting a wealthy investor raise a team in Toronto and try to grow the game in a potentially very lucrative market.
I'd like there to be a professional North American league eventually, but right now the quickest way to grow the game there seems to be investing in teams joining an extant league. Maybe if Ottawa and New York are successful we can eventually look to creating a "North American division". I don't know.
But people being negative about it and whinging about Toronto being in the league, it all seems very parochial to me.