Premiership is sport’s’sleeping giant’ Massie Taylor

Simon Massie-Taylor
Massie-Taylor, who was the chief commercial and marketing officer at the Rugby Football Union in October, joined Premiership Rugby.

Simon Massie Taylor, boss of the rugby league Premiership, says that it is a “sleeping beast” in the sporting scene.

Premiership Rugby, despite the negative consequences of the Covid pandemic has set a goal to double its audiences within six years.

The league will also try to raise the salary cap at a “sustainable” level, and return promotion and relegation.

Massie Taylor stated, “The vision for our league is to become the beating heart of English football.”

Speak on a special Rugby Union Weekly podcast, Premiership Rugby's chief executive said: “We feel like a bit of an invisible giant when it comes sport. That is definitely how the clubs feel, but also how CVC, the recent investors, feels.

“We know that the market exists. There are 10,000,000 rugby fans in the UK. Of these, 9 million are England fans. Pretty much everyone tunes in to Six Nations games.

“So where are we now? That's not the place we need to go or where it should be. It's a far cry from where that market is. So that's the challenge.

Recovery from covid will take “five-plus years.”

The financial hit from the pandemic has resulted in a drastic lowering of the salary cap, from £6.4 million to £5 million, which has had an impact on the depth and quality of squads across the league.

The Champions Cup saw no English team reach the semifinals. A moratorium was also placed on promotion or relegation to give clubs some financial security.

Massie Taylor added that salary caps are a way for us to manage ambition and growth. This is not only for the league but also for future competitions in Europe.

“Covid recovery can take up to five years, for any person, but particularly rugby, as it was previously a loss-making area.

“So I believe when we lower the salary cap, it must be sustainable.

“I believe the most important thing over the past few months was putting together a plan with the clubs that not just addresses their local market but also looks at total rugby growth.

“That's the realization that everyone has, that we must double our numbers and there is the chance to do so.

“Intention” to bring back promotion or relegation

The Championship's last promotion was to Saracens, who were deported for violating financial regulations.

Massie Taylor also reiterated his plans to increase the league to 14 teams, and then to reintroduce promotion or relegation via play-off between top and bottom teams in the Premiership.

Ealing Trailfinders was the winner of this season's second-tier competition. failed to meet the criteria required for entry to the top flightThe Premiership will remain a 13-team division in the 2022-2023 campaign.

Massie Taylor stated that the league was disappointed because it wanted to be a fourteen-team league. “It's about making certain we can get there next year and then it moves on to promotion and relegation again, and a play off.”

“The intention is that we have that mechanic. We have to work together with the RFU.

“But you have to also think about how we somehow get the Championship to a point where it can nurture that next Exeter. This is a difficult task.

“It's a difficult challenge, speaking honestly, especially after the loss of Covid. It's not possible to get the financial resources from the RFU, or the Premiership clubs, to invest in this. [the Championship]It's all about creating a platform that allows them to grow again.

“There is no perfect solution to the Championship, but we do have a better one at the moment.”

“Many processes are occurring simultaneously, whether it's the future for the women's game or the future Championship, or the global season piece. These things are all happening at the same moment, which, thankfully, allows us to consider them all together.

These topics aren't going to be tomorrow's problem if they're not addressed immediately. All of them are interconnected and all are on the current agenda. We can expect to make a significant improvement in the future.

Clubs are ‘all-in' on women’s soccer

Exeter will compete in their Premier 15s final Friday

English rugby bosses also have to worry about the future direction and goals of the Premier 15s. A number of Premiership clubs are either running their own women’s programs or working with Premier 15 teams.

The league is currently run and managed by the RFU rather than Premiership Rugby. Massie Taylor says that more clubs should be involved in the future.

“The Premier 15s was created initially as a performance league to begin nurturing some of England's future talent. It has since evolved to a commercial enterprise with the potential for great growth,” he stated.

“That's exciting. So when you talk to the clubs, they are all in on the future of women’s rugby and its importance. It is about how to grow it sustainably. This requires a joint approach from the RFU.

“I think clubs need to feel more ownership around the future league, which we are discussing at this moment. But equally, the RFU has to manage this very new state of the women’s game at present, to ensure it grows at the right pace and that things are improving at every level.

“So all these things are on the agenda and being discussed at this moment, but it comes along with a lot momentum and lots of excitement.”

Leave a Comment