After Nigel Woods’ departure from the RFL in recent weeks, both written and social media has been rife with people calling for new leadership at the top of the sport. Rugby league, after all, is a captivating product and arguably one of the most exciting sports in the world. Yet attendances and viewing figures aren’t increasing while the game remains – generally – the domain of towns and cities along the M62 corridor.
Could that, though, be about to change? One of the most common calls on twitter has been to suggest that Barry or Eddie Hearn should step into the breach vacated by Woods in order to transform the sport’s image and to give it the boost it so desperately needs. Between them, after all, they have already altered darts, snooker and boxing beyond recognition and now they may be set to turn their attention to the thirteen man team sport, something which would please many in the sport. That includes Mark Campbell, chairman of Featherstone Rovers, who has said that “Hearn could achieve great things with our sport.”
Eddie Hearn, the 38 year old son of Barry, has said that he believes the sport to be “in the wrong hands” and suggested that contact has already been made with a view to becoming involved in rugby league which could be hugely beneficial to the game in the northern hemisphere. Hearn himself believes that he can boost any sport, dismissing possible accusations of arrogance and pointing to his family’s track record of turning sports around.
Eddie, a man who is now regarded as one of the best promoters in boxing, further said that “rugby league is a great sport, rugby league has a huge fanbase. It’s just in the wrong hands, that’s all. The world’s changed. The way that you promote sport has changed completely” and added that he would back his team’s ability to alter the course of the game.
Would it be good for the sport?