Within English rugby there is a distinct difference between the two tiers and their level of support, financially and otherwise.
However within English Football it is not uncommon to have sponsors, television rights and league sponsors from National Level 3 all the way to the Premiership.
Even in the USA, NCAA and college sports and greatly invested in by government bodies whilst the highest level sports NBA,NFL and NHL are all backed by huge private investors and in some cases owned as sports franchises.
This is the level of support needed in England to help bring rugby from its professional infancy to the next level. After all the game itself has been professional for less than 25 years. Though the RFU can help fund this level of rugby they make a valid point in stating that Clubs are in essence business’ and should manage their funds and affairs accordingly, after all you wouldn’t expect retailers and brands to be bailed out by the Government constantly would we?
The Catch 22 for Championship rugby is that they need a sponsor for the league who can invest money over a period of a few seasons to give the clubs financial support and drive interest in the game, however the sponsor themselves wants a return on their investment and to know they will gain profitable exposure, something which at present cannot be guaranteed.
Instead we are in a stand off situation, where one side waits for the other. We can only hope that a brand or business will spot the opportunity to invest in the league and secure what could be a brilliant future investment.
With clubs verging on bankruptcy, if one entrepreneurial figure can invest some time and money into Championship rugby and begin to get games televised and consumed on a larger scale, ultimately increasing the efficiency of the teams then there is a large potential for profit in future years.
If by any chance I hit the Lottery jackpot I would love the opportunity to invest in the game and try to emulate the success the USA has with their sports business’