Rugby league’s new off-field chief vows not to undersell the sport any more

RUGBY league’s off-field chief Rhodri Jones believes it will no longer keep underselling itself, even though fans may moan.

The recent World Cup was blighted with whinges about the price of tickets, although it attracted crowds of more than 40,000 in Newcastle and London and 67,000 for a final not involving England.

England’s win in the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup may have opened up new financial avenues as bosses vow not to undersell the sportSWPIX.COM

And the man leading the sport’s development of the field in its new era, managing director of the newly-founded Rugby League Commercial body Jones, believes the era of cheap tickets, which has not worked, is over.

He said: “I spoke with World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton last week and one of the key takeaways for him from the tournament was fixing a value to your events and to your sport.

“It’s something we all have to look at. We have to be competitively priced but we can’t undersell the product.

“We’ve all been sat there at our big games and making the big games bigger. We’ve all enjoyed the occasions and we can’t lose sight of the fact that we’ve got a fantastic product on the field – but we can’t keep undervaluing it.

“So it was certainly a lesson. The World Cup faced up to its challenges and that’s a learning for us for next year, certainly when we’re looking at pricing for internationals at the end of the year that we’ll have to keep in mind.”

The World Cup also delivered another huge lesson to rugby league, the women’s and wheelchair games could be the way to grow it.

And Rugby League Commercial boss Frank Slevin is determined to build on that success, especially on England winning the Wheelchair World Cup.

He said: “We were really struck by the level of interest across all three tournaments. The question for us is, ‘How do we leverage that?’

“The wheelchair final was a standout piece of theatre, so we need to ask, ‘How do we make more of that?’

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