Restructures, private equity offers and TV deals all vital to long-term future of the competition
Super League supremo Ken Davy has urged his fellow club owners to stop talking the game down – but admits the competition needs “significant change”.
Huddersfield chairman Davy is interim chief executive for the sport’s top tier at a time when potential restructures, private equity and TV deals are all seen as crucial to its future.
Counterparts Adam Pearson of Hull FC and Leigh’s Derek Beaumont have both publicly warned that Super League could end up being part-time if it doesn’t rise to the current challenges.
But ahead of Magic Weekend in Newcastle on Saturday and Sunday, Davy insists the sport has to talk itself up. He explained: “That is a message I’m trying to make sure my colleagues take on board. If we don’t speak for rugby league and Super League, who else will?
“It is our responsibility to tell of the success of our athletes. We’re just not very good at blowing our own trumpet, that is the reality, and we need to focus on the positives.”
Davy and other owners remain cautious about the prospect of private investment after a previous proposal was rejected by clubs, but he maintains that painting a picture of a dying sport is counterproductive.
He said: “If anything run down by its own participants then it doesn’t increase its value. There’s no magic in private equity, and it’s something I have quite a bit of experience of, as indeed do other members of the Super League board.
“But it can have a purpose, and what we want to ensure is that we take the Betfred Super League forward positively in the coming years.
“That will require some external funding – the form and source of that funding is in its infancy at the moment and it will be wrong to assume that it will require private equity. But of course it could.”
Davy also confirmed that Super League will remain at 12 teams in 2022, but that his ultimate aim is to establish a second tier that can cushion the blow of relegation. He said: “One can see a lot of logic in two leagues of 10.
“What’s important in whatever structure, is that we lose this cliff edge of if you’re relegated out of Super League, when the financial impact is so significant that getting back in is a potential challenge.
“In an ideal world – and whether we achieve it remains to be seen – we want to have a structure that gives the ability for promotion and relegation to take place more easily and with less draconian impact on the relegated club.”
With Super League revealing that no more postponed matches are set to be replayed before the end of the season, bottom club Leigh are now relegated.