The recent history of the RLWC goes a long way to explaining its flaws. I agree that Egan does have a point but expanding to emerging markets of Oz is not it. One saving grace of LU is the international section where there are a few level heads.
International RL is administered by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF). The RLIF have very little real power. Unlike FIFA or the RFU they do not have strong independent sources of revenue. They are pretty much a side project of the ARL/RFL/NZRL - these leagues have been unwilling to defer more power to the RLIF to make a strong global body because they do not want to lose their own power base. Think BCCI and ICC in reverse order
The RLIF has one part time employee, Tas Baiteri. It as only had a website for the past year which was crap AND then it shutdown when the RLWC08 website was launched - like they couldn't have two at once? The RLIF gets money when the RFL/ARL/NZRL are doing well. If they make money they are more inclined to skim some for the RLIF. It is a relationship of dependence.
The RLWC is the biggest chance to get money for the RLIF to skim. In 2000 the event went tits up. They expanded to 16 teams, we saw massive thrashings played in front of small crowds and the event lost loads of money. Richard Lewis (not the guy from Curb Your Enthusiasm
) stepped in to the chief role at the RFL and declined to host another event in 2004 due to the RFL having to wear the debt from the 2000 RLWC. Instead he decided to have the Tri-Nationas because they made money. The RFL is now debt free and in the black. Lewis is a champion - primarily becauce he is not from the same stock as Australian RL administrators.
Anyway, the ARL decided to host a RLWC as part of the Centenary celebrations. With 2000 in mind the idea was/is to make money and play it safe rather than promote the game around Oz
. Any other year and things would have been different. With this in mind, the spread of venues relates to who has the most cash and where people are more inclined to watch RL. The Qld Government bid a bit of cash to get the final there and other events. The spread of events isn't national and so it is to be expected that non-RL heartland media won't talk about it much.
What shits me is how NSW and Qld RL media write off the event because of Australia's dominance and their general ignorance of anything that's not NRL/SOO.
I was in Melbourne in June and the promotion of the RLWC was impressive. St Kilda Junction had a big screen showing the ad for the game every two minutes on continuous loop. A lot of the "events" material you saw at airports, stations and other major areas talked about the game. Unpaid promotion (reports) are probably lacking but I'm not surprised. Colin Love (NSWRL/ARL/RLIF Chairman) has annoyed me beyond belief. He defends Ch Nein when they renege on a promise to show the Pool A Games live. He awarded commercial radio rights to the 2GB network when Fairfax Radio Network offered to broadcast all games and pay more money. He then gave ACP magazines the rights to the preview mag as well as the programme and they are a load of sh*t. I complained and the ACP Editor said we need to load it up with NRL stories because it's an Aussie audience. WTF? Only 4 pages on England and virtually nil on anything non ENG/NZ/AUS. Why are Love and Carr still employed by the ARL? Because the boards that appoint them are full of their mates. Classic problem in Aussie RL adminsitration.
The onfield product has been great so far. With the exception of the Kangaroos game the fixtures we've seen have been close and entertaining. Unfortunately what surrounds it has not matched that.
The next RLWC is due for 2013 in the UK. It will then go every four years thereafter. If Richard Lewis is still there he'll run a great product. He doesn't come from an RL background (he's a former tennis pro and Davis Cup rep). He sees the big picture and understands business. Australia needs people like him in RL.