Friday, 8 June 2012

Pre-empting the next few weeks

I don't make predictions and I never will - Paul Gascoigne

I'm not a predictions man either, but I have a feeling that the rugby league fan with access to the modern day equivalent of a green pen - the internet - will shortly be organising with letter-writing campaigns and perhaps even a petition. And I predict the reasoning is thus:

Waah waah waah, no rugby got mentioned on the tellynews.

It's been noticeable that the coverage of rugby league in the national dailies has diminished, often to the point where even agency copy of a brief match report is seen as a big deal. This has been an ongoing process as newsrooms slim down in the face of their parent companies inability to make giving all their journalism away for nothing on the internet pay the bills.

Similarly, TV newsrooms have been going the same way. I could make a political point about the current government's ideological opposition to the BBC, but it doesn't feel like the right forum. What is undeniable though is that the license fee has been frozen while the BBC are expected to do more. Something had to give. Consequently, the potential outlets for rugby league news have become more limited.

But during major international tournaments, of which we have two in quick succession, those outlets become even more restricted. Rugby league and plenty of other sports have to shout very loudly to be heard above the noise and, frankly, an England game against a made-up entity that doesn't actually mean anything isn't shouting all that loudly. Simply put, the next three weeks is about football. You may not care about football, but thousands - millions - do. After this, there are the Olympics where a month is occupied by sports that nobody really cares about for the other 47 months of the Olympic cycle dominate the headlines.

What it isn't is a conspiracy. It's just a prioritisation of effort towards the most likely revenue-generating content. However passionate you are about rugby league, a modicum of self-awareness will tell you that. Football is not out to destroy everything in it's path, however much it tries to make it look like that. It's simply dominant in the marketplace. Join in if you like. Play the office sweepstake, go for a beer down the pub in front of the humdinger that Germany v Netherlands promises to be. Paint your face if you want to take it way too far. Or ignore it (difficult though that may be). Just spare me the incessant whinging about how football had nine pages in this morning's paper and rugby league only had a couple of column inches.

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