Dave Craven: Not really a Super Sunday when it comes to rugby league fans

Hull KR's Danny McGuire applauds the fans at full-time aganst Leeds Rhinos on Friday night. There are no Super League games this weekend. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Hull KR's Danny McGuire applauds the fans at full-time aganst Leeds Rhinos on Friday night. There are no Super League games this weekend. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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ANOTHER Sunday awaits and another Sunday without any Super League fixtures.

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Lately, it has become a common occurrence and in this season, it seems, more than any.

This is a second successive Sunday with no top-flight fixtures and a third in the previous four.

At least there were games in London and Perpignan last Saturday; this time around there is nothing across the entire weekend after five Super League matches were played last night.

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It is something the competition needs to address although, in fairness, how they do that is another matter entirely.

Chief executive Robert Elstone cannot make clubs play a certain day of the week and nor should he be able to.

For those who believe they will do better business – attracting bigger crowds and greater commercial interest – on a Friday night, they cannot be forced into switching games to a Sunday afternoon just to give the competition as a whole greater profile.

Nevertheless, there is a fixtures working group in place within Super League and, having spoken to some club chairmen and chief executives, there is an appetite for at least looking at a way in which there would always be at least one game played on a Sunday.

If they all agree, it could be done. But there certainly needs to be better strategic fixture planning for 2020.

That way, Super League can ensure there is no missed opportunities like last weekend when – aside from the Women’s Football World Cup final – the calender was relatively bereft of major sporting occasions. It offered rugby league a rare chance to claim some media space but it casually let it pass by.

Granted, looking at that bigger picture, tomorrow’s lack of Super League contests is perhaps not so damaging.

With England looking to claim a first-ever cricket World Cup in the Lord’s final, the Wimbledon mens’ single final involving Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer as well as the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, sports editors are not short of stories. Indeed, they will probably care as little for rugby league as they do kabaddi.

There is more chance of Love Island being axed – now that is a nice thought – than the sport getting a look-in this weekend and understandably so.

But tomorrow’s Super Sunday is a rarity. In fact, has there ever been a bigger Sunday of different elite sporting action for the nation to absorb?

Still, back to the main point: boosting Super League’s chances of reaching a wider audience.

In an ideal world there would be games played across Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, spreading the love and gaining the competition as much exposure as possible.

Sky’s commitment to broadcasting Thursday and Friday night fixtures broadly sees part of this occur and, of course, it shows all Catalans’ home games on Saturdays, too.

Obviously, there is nothing in place for Sundays.

Perhaps the more organic way to ensure more games are played on this day is to look at changing that when the next broadcast deal is negotiated for 2022.

It might not be easy especially with the behemoth of Sky’s Premier League coverage but perhaps this is where other broadcasters or platforms can come into play.

For now, though, I am not complaining; it has been ages since I last sat down and watched a Wimbledon final in real time.