Aviva Premiership: Facing down the Tigers’ Juggernaut

Has the salary cap had the unfortunate side effect of reducing the amount of competition in the Aviva Premiership? 

Or is it, as we’ve seen in the NFL, just that some organizations are more fortunate than others as managing not only their finances, but their teams as well?  

According to this article in The Guardian, since the salary cap was instituted, three teams have won the championship, with Leicester winning seven of the past 12 Premiership championships.

Much like in the NFL, certain teams in the Premiership seem to be able to take better advantage of their situation. Teams like Leicester in the Premiership, or the New England Patriots in the NFL, are always able to attract the talent they need to reload to compete year after year, and provide the facilities needed to not only attract the players needed, but also develop and grow the fan base. 

Is it coaching, or tradition that attracts better players to an organization?  Before the New England Patriots rise to their current success, the team was mediocre outside of a few good years.  But then after bringing in first Bill Parcells, and then Bill Belichick, the team began its rise to the current championship contender status they enjoy.  There are lessons there to be learned by other sports organizations.

What do other teams need to do to reach this level of success?  What comes first in this situation – the chicken (stronger fan base) or the egg (top flight players)?  According to the story: 


(Rugby rival Northampton chairman Keith) Barwell points out that Leicester, who enjoy a capacity of 24,000 at Welford Road, earn £3m more a year in gate income than Northampton and that his club’s annual turnover is £12m compared to £18.5m. “We cannot afford to stand still,” Barwell says. “We would have to decide whether it is worth putting the club into significant debt by paying for the redevelopment ourselves or share a stadium somewhere else.”

Stadium size is important, because if you have the fan base to build the stadium, that translates into more money.  But you need that initial investment of capital to provide the  facilities needed to attract players.  The story goes on to explain that some of the Premiership teams can’t afford the £4.1 million salary cap, putting them further back in a competition as long as the Premiership runs.

So should teams look for additional sponsorship?  Split stadium costs with other teams (much as the N.Y. Giants and N.Y. Jets do)? Do they need to reduce some of the teams in the Premiership?  These are some of the questions that teams need to answer as they try to challenge for the Tigers juggernaut in the upcoming season.




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