Lansdown in the Times

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Dan. Dan. Dan.
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Lansdown in the Times

Postby Dan. Dan. Dan. » Fri May 22, 2020 11:02 am

Steve Lansdown has been throwing his (financial) weight around in the Times, saying just because some clubs are struggling financially doesn't mean we should "go down to the lowest common denominator" and make cuts to the salary cap or changes to the marquee contracts.
For clubs who are struggling he suggests looking "at other ways to remain competitive, or how you rebuild your club or get investment into it. I don't feel we should be penalised because we are successful and manage our affairs." Bristol have apparently made £12M losses in two years.
It seems an extremely weird and contradictory article as later he is quoted as saying both, "people will see the way forward and if they don't, they will fall by the wayside and others will come to replace them." Then ends by saying, "I still see a professional game with a lot of amateur aspects to it, in Rugby, there is still too much of: we look after ourselves." Surely that is more true of professionalism than the amateur game, and surely "looking after ourselves" is exactly what he is proposing?

I don't know much about Steve Lansdown other than that he must have lost a lot of money through both Bristol City and 'the Bears', but this just sounds like nonsense to me, but raises some pretty substantial questions.

Does sport work the same way as other markets? How do you feel about having wealthy owners running clubs at a loss? Should it be professional at all? Is the fan base big enough to support "the best league in the world with the best players in the world"? :!:

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Puja » Fri May 22, 2020 12:47 pm

What a load of tosh. Bristol aren't "successful and manage their affairs" in the slightest. Mr Lansdown is, and he happens to be comfortable spunking a load of money on them, which is great, but he can't then lecture other clubs that they're not managing themselves well enough to spend like Bristol. Your business plan is basically, "Have a rich fan who is comfortable chucking tens of millions at you."

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Dan. Dan. Dan. » Fri May 22, 2020 1:10 pm

That was kind of my thoughts exactly. But I find it worrying, especially seeing as he's football first, that eventually he'll just piss off when he realises there's just not that much money in Rugby and leave them completely buggered.
If someone wants to hold up Exeter as a great example of how to run a Rugby club, fair enough. But it just doesn't wash coming from him and I wouldn't be particularly bothered if Bristol and Saracens want to go off and play in a league of two with a load of past it galacticos. Just don't want them taking England players in their prime with them.
Also, he has the luxury of owning a team that is based in one of the few English cities that could be called a 'Rugby town' and even then I'd wager that the two football teams have far healthier bank balances.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby jimKRFC » Fri May 22, 2020 1:34 pm

Blimey you two come across as bitter... :)

The loses are related to the investment in the new training ground. The aim is for Bristol Sport (the owning group of City, Rugby and the Flyers) to become self funding. SL has poured a load of money into all three teams, four including Bristol Ladies, and more into the ground. The site is going from the Ashton Gate on it's own to including hotels, conference centre and music arena as well as offices. In the long term the club will make money.

His point is that why should clubs (not just Bristol) that can afford it not be allowed to spend. As Bath and Exeter, alledgedly, support this position I assume their backers have a similiar view. If a club can't afford it then find the investment, grow the incomes or find a level you can afford.

I don't recall any sympathy in previous years for clubs struggling, going bust or not being competitive. No-one from from Leicester/Bath/Wasps etc.. said "we know Bristol are struggling, so we won't try and poach White/Corry/Lipman/Reagan/Shaw/lewsey etc.. from you" previously. So why should Bristol give on this? And even if he did walk away and let Bristol on the brink of being bust it would be the 5th time and supporters would get on with it.

The Myners report called for the immediate lowering of the cap and abolishment of marquee players - given Bristol are legally bound on these now how could he say anything other than no. Perhaps if the conversation was how can we bring down costs over the the three/four years the response would be different.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Dan. Dan. Dan. » Fri May 22, 2020 1:41 pm

jimKRFC wrote:.

His point is that why should clubs (not just Bristol) that can afford it not be allowed to spend. As Bath and Exeter, alledgedly, support this position I assume their backers have a similiar view. If a club can't afford it then find the investment, grow the incomes or find a level you can afford.



This is the problem for me. I just don't think the game can sustain more than 2 or 3 clubs at the top level. And if we are not going to greatly reduce the amount of teams competing in Europe/becoming among the best clubs in the world, I'd much prefer to have a worthwhile, sustainable competition, with the talent spread as evenly as possible.
I'm only bitter towards people with lots of money btw! Bristol have been brilliant to watch since finally coming up!

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby fivepointer » Fri May 22, 2020 1:48 pm

Dan. Dan. Dan. wrote: Is the fan base big enough to support "the best league in the world with the best players in the world"? :!:


No. And pro rugby has to cut its cloth accordingly. The current arrangements are unsustainable.

Lansdown has pumped a LOT of money into Bristol - Ashton Gate has been transformed and is a mightily impressive venue - but other clubs dont have that kind of finance behind them.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Stom » Fri May 22, 2020 1:53 pm

I think there could be a way around this.

Reduce the cap but add another marquee player and add extra homegrown player allowances.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Mr Mwenda » Fri May 22, 2020 2:11 pm

Dan. Dan. Dan. wrote:I'm only bitter towards people with lots of money btw! Bristol have been brilliant to watch since finally coming up!


This isn't meant as a dig at JimKRFC but there are times that people's defence of billionaires involvement in particular clubs smacks at doffing their cap to the squire who deigned to sponsor some community venture in times past. They're entitled to spend their money how they will, but I'm buggered if I'll sing their praises over all the unsung heroes who make any club a club. There's something about the millionaire philanthropist that sticks in my craw.

Hasta la vittoria siempre.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Puja » Fri May 22, 2020 2:16 pm

jimKRFC wrote:Blimey you two come across as bitter... :)

The loses are related to the investment in the new training ground. The aim is for Bristol Sport (the owning group of City, Rugby and the Flyers) to become self funding. SL has poured a load of money into all three teams, four including Bristol Ladies, and more into the ground. The site is going from the Ashton Gate on it's own to including hotels, conference centre and music arena as well as offices. In the long term the club will make money.

His point is that why should clubs (not just Bristol) that can afford it not be allowed to spend. As Bath and Exeter, alledgedly, support this position I assume their backers have a similiar view. If a club can't afford it then find the investment, grow the incomes or find a level you can afford.

"Afford it" is the bit that gets me - Bristol as a business cannot currently afford it. In the future, they might be able to, but right now, on an income vs outgoing sheet, they cannot "afford" to spend loads of money on Radradra and Piutau. Lansdown can afford to do that, not Bristol.

Note that I am not saying he doesn't have the right to do it, or the right to protest against salary cap changes - you are right that Brizzle are already locked into their plan and their contracts and there's not exactly an easy exit from that. Plus, Bristol are developing and awesome team and situation - the crowds they're getting are growing the English game and justify the star names and pizazz. Lansdown is doing good things for rugby and I will be cheering for your lot to win the title next year as I am enjoying your approach.

However, lecturing other teams about how they should concentrate on growing income and then they too could spend like Bristol is cheeky as f*ck considering it's all currently bankrolled by a rich man, not the growing income.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Banquo » Fri May 22, 2020 3:53 pm

Dan. Dan. Dan. wrote:
jimKRFC wrote:.

His point is that why should clubs (not just Bristol) that can afford it not be allowed to spend. As Bath and Exeter, alledgedly, support this position I assume their backers have a similiar view. If a club can't afford it then find the investment, grow the incomes or find a level you can afford.


I just don't think the game can sustain more than 2 or 3 clubs at the top level

This.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby jimKRFC » Fri May 22, 2020 4:28 pm

Puja wrote:"Afford it" is the bit that gets me - Bristol as a business cannot currently afford it. In the future, they might be able to, but right now, on an income vs outgoing sheet, they cannot "afford" to spend loads of money on Radradra and Piutau. Lansdown can afford to do that, not Bristol.

However, lecturing other teams about how they should concentrate on growing income and then they too could spend like Bristol is cheeky as f*ck considering it's all currently bankrolled by a rich man, not the growing income.


But without the debt/loses then Bristol couldn't grow the crowd, invest in the stadium or develop other facilities. So you're saying Bristol should have stayed as tenants to Rovers in a decaying ground?

I understand that rugby needs to find a balance but there will never be complete financial parity in the game, from the moment Newcastle started splashing the cash about under Hall the chance for that was gone. There have always been clubs that struggled to survive and clubs that thrived. At no point has any other club given two hoots about other clubs dying as it's not sustainable (the picked off the scraps), and it seems like now the grandees of the league are at risk, of what they did nothing to stop happening to others, the clubs that can afford to go are on as they want are the bad guys. If clubs can't afford to spend to the cap then they can do as Worcester, Bristol, London Irish, Newcastle and whoever else have not spent to the cap did - adjust to not winning the league and competing in the Euro Cup and enjoy the threat that comes with possible religation every season.

If Myners, and the 10 other clubs (that are alledged to want the marquees scrapped & cap reduced) had come out and said we want to review the cap and marquees players and impliment changes in 2/3 seasons (to allow contracts to run out) to the cap, EQP payments etc.. then I suspect Lansdown's response would be different.

If we do want an equal ise system then I think we should go the NFL route- conferences, play offs and a draft system for players coming out academies and total transparency on salaries.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby jimKRFC » Fri May 22, 2020 4:32 pm

Banquo wrote:
Dan. Dan. Dan. wrote:

I just don't think the game can sustain more than 2 or 3 clubs at the top level

This.
[/quote]

Has the Premiership ever had more than 2/3 at the very top level?
Now - Sarries (through cheating), no one else really
Previously - Wasps & ?
Pre-history: Bath (for one season)

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Mellsblue » Fri May 22, 2020 4:34 pm

Company loses money to invest in facilities to make them a going concern in the long term. Doesn’t seem much to hold against someone but does seem very much like a standard way to run a young business. It’s what Exeter did, minus the marque players, and they are held up as the gold standard. You’ve also got to take into account the amount of investment in community facilities. Which is a lot.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Dan. Dan. Dan. » Fri May 22, 2020 5:11 pm

[/quote]


If we do want an equal ise system then I think we should go the NFL route- conferences, play offs and a draft system for players coming out academies and total transparency on salaries.[/quote]

Bingo!

I actually think this is the absolute best thing to do. Centralise the hell out of it, with the international game and player welfare at the centre of it.
Lansdown, Craig et al can still have their play things, die hard fans can still support their local club, but they'll be in the second tier of English rugby, with national players contracted centrally.

*awaits backlash*

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Stom » Fri May 22, 2020 5:45 pm

Mellsblue wrote:Company loses money to invest in facilities to make them a going concern in the long term. Doesn’t seem much to hold against someone but does seem very much like a standard way to run a young business. It’s what Exeter did, minus the marque players, and they are held up as the gold standard. You’ve also got to take into account the amount of investment in community facilities. Which is a lot.


I have no real problem with what Bristol are doing.

But I do have a problem with the idea of scrapping the cap completely.

I think it would be best to reorganise it a bit. I think more emphasis should be put on homegrown talent and the urge to buy journeymen taken away somewhat.

The only way I can think to do that is to drastically raise the amount of excess given to academy graduates.

Whereas now you get £30k for academy players, you should probably get up to £100k per player. Or maybe even more.

Add another marquee, so there are 3 of them, and reduce the basic cap amount by half a million.

Overall, teams like Bristol and Bath can continue spending silly money if they want to, but on fewer players, while suddenly their homegrown players are much more important.

Would it have any impact on the current Bristol squad? Probably 0, they have plenty of young homegrown talent, and I imagine one of their non-marquee players gets £500k, so that'd immediately be offset.

Would it have an impact on Sale? Yes, yes it would.

It's such a shame that the only northern club in the Prem atm are so unlikeable.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Tigersman » Fri May 22, 2020 6:24 pm

Bristol bears have the lowest amount of academy players in their team as a squad % lowest in the league so can't see them being too keen.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Banquo » Fri May 22, 2020 6:36 pm

jimKRFC wrote:
Banquo wrote:
Dan. Dan. Dan. wrote:

I just don't think the game can sustain more than 2 or 3 clubs at the top level

This.


Has the Premiership ever had more than 2/3 at the very top level?
Now - Sarries (through cheating), no one else really
Previously - Wasps & ?
Pre-history: Bath (for one season)[/quote]
so even worse then?

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Stom » Fri May 22, 2020 6:44 pm

Tigersman wrote:Bristol bears have the lowest amount of academy players in their team as a squad % lowest in the league so can't see them being too keen.


Ah.

So, there you have it.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Oakboy » Fri May 22, 2020 6:46 pm

I don't see how there can ever be totally fair competition for 12 premiership clubs. The salary cap is bound to be a compromise. Presumably, with a bit of effort, all 12 could find funny money from individuals or syndicates if they wanted to. The product, in terms of entertainment value, is good enough.

Where it all breaks down is with foreign imports and the balance betwen club and country.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Stom » Fri May 22, 2020 6:50 pm

Oakboy wrote:I don't see how there can ever be totally fair competition for 12 premiership clubs. The salary cap is bound to be a compromise. Presumably, with a bit of effort, all 12 could find funny money from individuals or syndicates if they wanted to. The product, in terms of entertainment value, is good enough.

Where it all breaks down is with foreign imports and the balance betwen club and country.


Well indeed. Hence my suggestion.

If clubs want to go outside the cap, they have the ability to hire 1/5th of their first XV from wherever they like. But they should be formed by their academy mainly.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Tigersman » Fri May 22, 2020 6:57 pm

IMO the system I would most like to see is a NBA one.
Bring in a luxury taxb (or Competitive Balance Tax)

So for example.
The NBA has a
Cap Maximum: $109,140,000
Luxury Tax Threshold: $132,627,000

For teams between $0 and $4,999,999 over the cap, the tax rate is $1.50 per $
$5,000,000 and $9,999,999 over the cap, the tax rate is $1.75 per $
$10,000,000 and $14,999,999 over the cap, the tax rate is $2.50 per $
$15,000,000 and $19,999,999 over the cap, the tax rate is $3.25 per $
$20,000,000 over the cap or above, the tax rate is $3.75 for every dollar over the cap, and increasing $0.50 for each additional $5,000,000 over $20,000,000.

In Rugby you could say
Cap £7 million no marquee players would also have it so Academy not added.
Luxury tax threshold £10 million (which is prob the most needed for Rugby ATM).
£0 - £500,0000 tax rate of £1.50 per £ over (so maximum payout to other clubs of £750,000)
£500K - £1,000,000 tax rate of £1,75 (Max payout £175000)
£1 Mill - £2,000,000 tax rate of £2.50 (Max payout £5,000,000)
£2 mill - £3 million tax rate of £3.50 (Max payout £10,500,000)
Add another £1 on the tax for clubs that repeatedly do it.

so say Bristol want their 2 marquee players for a total of 1.5 million they would have to pay the clubs £3,750,000 each club would get £340,909 for the first season and £477,272 for any season after that
and if a team wants to really be really greedy and go for the max well that would give each club nearly a extra million first season and over a million for the seasons after.

Let the rich owners have their cake but they also have to give slices to other clubs.

(I will say I would rather the cap went down and academy players didn't get included but....)

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Puja » Fri May 22, 2020 8:27 pm

jimKRFC wrote:
Puja wrote:"Afford it" is the bit that gets me - Bristol as a business cannot currently afford it. In the future, they might be able to, but right now, on an income vs outgoing sheet, they cannot "afford" to spend loads of money on Radradra and Piutau. Lansdown can afford to do that, not Bristol.

However, lecturing other teams about how they should concentrate on growing income and then they too could spend like Bristol is cheeky as f*ck considering it's all currently bankrolled by a rich man, not the growing income.


But without the debt/loses then Bristol couldn't grow the crowd, invest in the stadium or develop other facilities. So you're saying Bristol should have stayed as tenants to Rovers in a decaying ground?


Not really - I'm saying lecturing other clubs that they should act like Bristol to be able to spend like Bristol is a bit d*ckish when the starter move of "acting like Bristol" is finding a multi-multi-millionnaire to chuck ridiculous sums of money at them. It's like Trump lecturing that anyone can make it in America by just setting up their own businesses and ignoring the massive loans from Daddy that were needed to start.

I'm not against having a multi-multi-millionnaire investing and doing all the right things. I'm against acting like that's an option open to every club.

Stom wrote:
Tigersman wrote:Bristol bears have the lowest amount of academy players in their team as a squad % lowest in the league so can't see them being too keen.


Ah.

So, there you have it.

In fairness, they've suffered from having their youngsters poached while in the Championship. They have put a lot of effort and emphasis into rebuilding their academy since Lansdown came in.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby twitchy » Fri May 22, 2020 8:33 pm

A good discussion. I'm a bit of a hypocrite because I love watching bristol in their big stadium. Makes me think what club rugby should be like in this country. I totally take the arguments against though. Their team next season in front of a big crowd could be some thing special

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Timbo » Fri May 22, 2020 8:57 pm

I make him dead right, personally.

The cap was raised too much too fast, but now we are where we are and to drop it back down would be terrible for the overall product and image of the league. Star players would leave in droves. It would basically be admitting that it’s now a second tier competition, with the real heavyweights in France and Ireland. I would question whether the Prem would ever get back to where it currently is.

Happy to see the cap reformed in some ways, and there should be a commitment to not raising it for the foreseeable. Individual clubs need to take charge of their own finances and set themselves manageable and sustainable budgets.

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Re: Lansdown in the Times

Postby Stom » Fri May 22, 2020 9:15 pm

Puja wrote:
jimKRFC wrote:
Puja wrote:"Afford it" is the bit that gets me - Bristol as a business cannot currently afford it. In the future, they might be able to, but right now, on an income vs outgoing sheet, they cannot "afford" to spend loads of money on Radradra and Piutau. Lansdown can afford to do that, not Bristol.

However, lecturing other teams about how they should concentrate on growing income and then they too could spend like Bristol is cheeky as f*ck considering it's all currently bankrolled by a rich man, not the growing income.


But without the debt/loses then Bristol couldn't grow the crowd, invest in the stadium or develop other facilities. So you're saying Bristol should have stayed as tenants to Rovers in a decaying ground?


Not really - I'm saying lecturing other clubs that they should act like Bristol to be able to spend like Bristol is a bit d*ckish when the starter move of "acting like Bristol" is finding a multi-multi-millionnaire to chuck ridiculous sums of money at them. It's like Trump lecturing that anyone can make it in America by just setting up their own businesses and ignoring the massive loans from Daddy that were needed to start.

I'm not against having a multi-multi-millionnaire investing and doing all the right things. I'm against acting like that's an option open to every club.

Stom wrote:
Tigersman wrote:Bristol bears have the lowest amount of academy players in their team as a squad % lowest in the league so can't see them being too keen.


Ah.

So, there you have it.

In fairness, they've suffered from having their youngsters poached while in the Championship. They have put a lot of effort and emphasis into rebuilding their academy since Lansdown came in.

Puja


Oh, no, I agree. They have some players coming through who will go on to be squad regulars. Which is why I think my suggestion is the best way forward for everyone.


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