IMG Ranking Revealed – Club Reaction

25 October 2023

IMG Ranking Revealed – Club Reaction

Forward momentum on the field must be accompanied by commercial success and sustained off-field growth

Our fans will no doubt have seen the RFL release earlier today which details the indicative points for all member RL clubs under the new IMG grading system. As can be seen, Swinton Lions has earned 7.21 points to achieve an overall rank of 26th and a “C” club rating.

If this rank of 26th was translated into a league position, this would of course represent the bottom end of the Championship, which, to be fair, is a reasonable reflection of where we have been operating on the field, on average, over the last 3 years.

What is important to remember, however, is that these rankings and IMG points scoring have no bearing on our prevailing actual league position, and they only really become of vital importance to those clubs seeking to sustain their Super League status (“A” grading), or to achieve Super League status (“A” grading, or high ranked “B” grading). For Swinton, whilst it provides us with a medium to long-term target, it’s nevertheless a little way down the road just at today’s date, so our advice to fans in the meantime is try not to be too distracted by IMG points and gradings.

That said, here is a quick re-cap for those of you who have tried to understand the methodology of the IMG points scoring system, for which a maximum of 20 points are available. These 20 points are broken down into different pillars. Those pillars are Fandom (5 points maximum); Performance (5 points maximum); Finances (4.5 points maximum); Stadium (3 points maximum); Community (2.5 points maximum). Within each pillar, there are then a number of sub-pillars, and accompanying the whole system there are clear guidelines on how points are attained or not attained.

Yes, admittedly it is complicated, but what this system also provides are clear outlines on how clubs can improve their overall infrastructure (in terms of the importance of increasing support, improving their stadiums, improving their finances and sustainability, and improving their off-field development efforts). From a Swinton Lions perspective, we have no issue with being given indicators on how to improve ourselves as a club. Indeed we are already aware of one relatively straightforward fix, which we hope to resolve within the next two weeks, and which will improve our IMG score to about 7.5 points and make us a borderline “B” ranked club.

However, please be rest assured that our prime objective will always be the team on the field and success for the Lions, and the fact that we have won promotion from League 1 and then finished 10th in the most competitive Championship ever, is demonstrable proof of this. In fact on the field we are arguably ahead of schedule. BUT we must also recognise that if we are to achieve further forward momentum as a club, this on-field progress is only sustainable if it is accompanied by similar commercial and off-field development success.

The challenge for the Board is therefore simple. We must grow the club across this whole spectrum of objectives as outlined by the pillars described above. Our crowds need to increase, our social media engagement needs to attract greater numbers, and our commercial revenue must increase. The ongoing commitment of a growing fan base is an integral part of this process.