Toronto Wolfpack

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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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This is.....interesting!
Total RL
A Q&A with Toronto Wolfpack’s prospective new owner Carlo LiVolsi
MATTHEW SHAW 09/09/2020

Members of the media were introduced to Toronto’s prospective new owner Carlo LiVolsi on Wednesday. This is everything he had to say.

His background…

Essentially, I’ve been the beauty distribution business servicing major retailers worldwide for the last 18 years. I own about 12, 13 businesses that the majority are predominantly in beauty space. I’m a shareholder and board member of a publicly-traded company that’s the largest manufacturer in Canada and top two in North America. Predominantly I hang my hat selling major to Fortune 500 (companies) around the world. There’s Woolworths in Australia, I do business with Boots in the UK, Walmart which is our largest customer.

The reason I’m interested in the Wolfpack is very simply that I’m a founding shareholder, so I know enough about the team, I’m not a rugby enthusiast but I love sports. I’ve played a lot of competitive sports internationally and travelled a lot for them. Essentially, I feel that the prior ownership did a very good job of putting a good product on the field but was devoid of the basic structure that you need to run a business and I think that my success in the last 18 years of how to run a business strategically and making sure that the foundation is solid is the one key factor that I bring to the table that will help the team. The club side, the performance there has spoken for itself and they’ve done a very good job, just not financially monetising and structuring the business in a way that was physically responsible and that’s where I plan to excel and take this to another level.

Can you outline how you believe you can make this club profitable given the amount of money it has taken to get it where it is so far?

“David (Argyle) and I have known each other because I’ve invested a lot of money into financial deals he’s been involved in. I think the first thing is this, in any business and any expectation, whether you’re a parent, running a company or sports, you can’t over promise and under deliver. The key thing here is making sure you set the expectations low enough that you understand what the realities are. From my perspective, part of the problem is that a lot of money has been spent and wasted in the wrong areas. David wanted to be liked by all and wanted to be known as a magnet which he was never.

I think the first thing you do in a business is you look at the P&L. You look at your balance statement and your finance sheet and where your synergies lie in your company so you can monetise in a certain way. From a structure perspective, I have very good people internally that can help streamline the business from the financial side.

The second part is this, I own a brand that I believe will help monetise the league and the team. It’s called Wolf Grooming, we’re going to launch next year in the UK and this brand itself will help catapult into a marketing machine. From my perspective, grooming brands are a sector of the marketplace that’s worth a lot of money, a lot more than a Super League team would go for. I believe that by taking the brand itself, building a story around the guys, the players and injecting that into the core of what Super League is today will help it succeed.

It comes down to sponsorship, I donate a lot of money to charities and have good relationships with companies. I’m a stable person, a family guy and I have my roots here, so I can call upon the business community that I know so I can get a lot of good sponsorship. That’s why I’m confident that I can succeed.

We’ve heard a lot about what Super League and the RFL want to see from you, what do you need from them to make this takeover take place?

I won’t skirt around this question because this is important and I’ll tell you exactly where it is. My opinion is we should be treated equally and as fairly as the other 11 clubs. That’s a big part of it. You have to look at it from this perspective, Wolfpack pays for every team to travel to and from Toronto. That’s not fair but that was what was agreed upon, so fine.

If the Wolfpack is going to absorb this cost that benefits everyone else, forget all the problems of the past year and forget the financial portion of it. When you look at the team itself and how it’s galvanized the Super League and attracted more teams to the Super League, it’s been a great success.

Strictly from a performance, forget David Argyle and all that other stuff. Focus strictly on that and you can’t, there’s nobody who can legitimately argue that it hasn’t been a success. So why should the club have to pay twice the amount of every other club to participate in this league? It’s not fair.

So if I’m a partner and I believe I’m going to be one of the better partners because I have a successful track record and I know how synergistically I can build this league through Wolf Grooming and other things, I feel we should be treated like every other team. If we’re going to pay for everyone else’s travel which is fine, we should be compensated on the other side. That to me is important. There are those who will argue against it but I always say you have to see the forest from the trees.

From a personal level and as a businessman, what’s your opinion on the way Toronto Wolfpack has acted in terms of players and companies not being paid?

“It’s disgusting. Listen, I can get into… I know David Argyle more than anyone does, I chose months ago not to speak to him anymore because I didn’t like some of the things he did. My belief is that you don’t try to promote yourself to be something you’re not for the sake of people liking you from an ego perspective. I think it’s unfair to the players who have worked hard and have rent to pay and they can’t even get paid what they’re owed. I think that’s dishonest and it’s not the way you run a business or live your life.

If you read anything about me I want it to only be positive. I don’t want headlines about me, I’m not even comfortable with them talking about me, I’d rather them talk about my brand and the team and how we plan to grow from that perspective.

From a personal perspective, I feel for all the players. I can only say that if we’re given the opportunity things are going to be much different, they will prosper under us, they’re going to make more money and be treated like family versus outcasts how they were treated before. There’s no excuse for not paying your bills, you don’t go into an agreement then not pay the people that help you.

Will all the outstanding debts be paid if your takeover goes through, and what if Super League say no to you being readmitted?

From my perspective, if we’re awarded the club, we will pay all obligations to the players. I don’t know why Super League would say no, I really don’t understand why because you’ve spent four years marketing this whole thing to get to Super League, it’s got a tremendous fanbase, notoriety and momentum from a club perspective, the financial side will take care of itself, people will forget about the sins of the past ownership if you have the right people involved and we’re that group. If we get awarded the team we will remedy the financial obligations that are owed retrospective wages.

Will any company that has an outstanding bill, will you settle that debt as well?

I’ll be honest, I’m owed money personally. David owed everybody including the local bartender money. It really comes down to… I’m being completely honest because I don’t lie and make things up. Number one the players get paid first, 100% of what they’re owed, that’s non-negotiable as long as we take over.

As far as obligations to any supplier, I’ll tell you it’s probably going to be negotiated because I don’t even know what’s owed specifically because all these things are coming out of the woodwork so we’d have to make sure we manage things correctly from that perspective. That’s the truth.

Can you tell us a bit more about this Wolf Grooming product and how it will benefit Super League rather than just Toronto Wolfpack?

It’s something I’m passionate about. I’m a shareholder of Canada’s largest manufacturing facility. It’s a lead certified facility. LEED, it’s essentially the first sustainable manufacturer facility of its kind in North America when it was built a few years back.

We have a women’s line called Flow which is a sustainable brand, then what we did was we launched a men’s brand line called Wolf which is Flow spelt backwards.

The premise of Wolf essentially is focused on the men’s grooming category which is a multi-billion dollar segment of the marketplace. My strategy always was when I spoke to David that there’s a lot of synergy between Wolf and Wolfpack, let’s get players involved and the Super League involved. It was always supposed to happen but it always got kyboshed at the end because David had his ulterior motives with other things. Wolf essentially is a lifestyle brand that encompasses a shaving cream, a shampoo, freestyling products and a moisturiser.

We’re coming out with a line called Wolf Black which is CBD enhanced products at a high end. The products themselves perform really, really well. The products are all sustainably made. The goal here is to partner with the Super League and its teams and almost become a distributor of this product and market them to the 20 million eyeballs that see Super League through a year and build almost like what Red Bull has done with Formula 1 and all these sports they’ve advertised in. I have a very robust plan I believe can make this successful. The male is the largest portion of the fanbase in rugby and I believe we can build this into a $100 million dollar revenue-wise for Super League over five years.

What’s your opinion on the Sonny Bill Williams deal, the benefits of it and whether you’d like to see Sonny back next year?

I think that from a marketing perspective it was a smart deal to be had if you had the money to do it. If you’re going to do a deal like that you have to be on solid ground. Would I love to have him back? Absolutely, I think there would be some great synergies for that, but right now if I could be honest, I’m so far removed from where the club needs to be from a team perspective because I want to make sure it’s on solid ground financially first. The confidence has to be there from the players so the first thing you do is you pay the players and then put a good plan in place and then you can get more talent to come on the team, but it’s difficult to do that without gaining the confidence of the team first. 100%, I would love to get Sonny Bill Williams in the fold and more talent around there. My goal for the Wolfpack is to be one of the top teams for years to come.

Can you tell us about the talks you had with Ralph Rimmer and Robert Elstone last week?

I’ve spoken to also, I had a call with Gary (Hetherington). He’s a wonderful man and I have had a separate conversation about a few things this morning. I think they’ve all been nice and respectful about the situation we’re in.

I understand the position they’re in. Imagine you own a house you’re renting out and your tenant defaults on payment, you’re a little concerned letting them back in. I understand the trepidation but you have to look at the two and separate the two. Do they feel the team was a positive influence for Super League? Yes. Then you look at the other side. The issues are all easily fixed because I’m solid financially, I’m rooted in the community, I donate to charities and I’m pretty good at making people forget the past. I think Ralph recognises that, I’ve had some good conversations with him and I hope to win over the rest of them and all I ask is that I’m given an opportunity to be available to do so.”

Is it Super League or bust?

It really is. It’s Super League or bust, there’s no other alternative from my perspective, I’m not interested in anything other than that.

Is it a five-year plan you’ve put forward?

We have a five-year plan we’ve put forward. In five years time we want to win the whole thing. I’m very competitive, I have three kids, my two boys play sports. I’m a competitive person, I hate losing more than anything. The first thing I’ll do is make sure we’re on a sound financial footing. We’ll build the business from the ground up and the rest of the owners better watch because we’ll be one of the best teams for years to come. We’ll go after the top players, we’ll be aggressive and we’ll listen to the people who know the sport too, that’s not my job. My job is to essentially make sure we have the money and build our business through the Wolf Grooming brand I’ve pitched to the Super League. Do I think we’ll be successful in five years? Absolutely.

Do you have shares and if your bid goes through will you be the sole owner?

I’d be the sole owner. Right now as far as I’m concerned it’s insolvent, there’s debt and nothing there. The team from that perspective is worthless and you’re assuming the debt. I got involved because David and I were friends and doing other business together. I’m sure my shares have been diluted like everyone else’s. I only put money in originally once and then I loaned him money, that wasn’t an investment into the team, but a loan as we’re friends and I trusted him. The actual investment I’m assuming is going to be a lot and will start over with me having 100% control of the team. I may bring in a strategic branding partner, I’ve a few things in mind but until I have this deal done I will own 100%. I may bring someone in as a minor stakeholder just to be clear, I think that’s well known and recognised, but I’m not privy to say because I don’t own the team yet.



Seems to me that he is saying
He is buying in to promote his product
He wants Super League to Promote his product.
He wants Super League to pay for this promotion.
And because of the greatness of his product he will not accept anything less than staying in Super League (forever?)
It doesn’t matter that they may have few players
He is not that interested in a Rugby League.
He walked away from the Wolfpack when he didn’t get his way.
The Wolfpack had huge financial difficulties before Covid.
Last edited by Quolls2019 on Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

Post by leeroy*NRL* »

Toronto > everything seems to be coming along nicely after all hell hit them..

I still cannot believe they did not call the Ottawa the Stags.
such a better name. and suits Canada well.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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I am not convinced that all is well, decision time soon.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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From an English RL blog site:

Report post
Posted 31 minutes ago
Quote
TV interview
Can you tell us a bit more about this Wolf Grooming product and how it will benefit Super League rather than just Toronto Wolfpack?
The goal here is to partner with the Super League and its teams and for them to become a distributor of this product and market them to the 20 million eyeballs that see Super League through a year.

“So it would seem that his grand plan is to turn SL and its clubs into some sort of pyramid marketing scheme. Marvellous.“

Yep. I reckon that’s a good assessment.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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https://www.skysports.com/rugby-league/ ... pack-works

Interview with McDermott...imho it’s a bit all over the place.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Total Rugby League
Toronto’s fate in the balance
MATTHEW SHAW 13/09/2020

September 25th is set to go down as one of the biggest days in Rugby League’s recent history with two major decisions to be made.

The Super League board has set a deadline of a week on Friday to make a call on the Wolfpack’s reapplication to the competition, while a call on running Super League as an eleven- or twelve-team competition should the Wolfpack be kicked out will also be determined.

The Wolfpack, whose prospective new owner Carlo LiVolsi has made it clear that he sees a potential bright future for the club in Canada’s biggest city, have already made a submission in support of their bid to remain in Super League in 2021, and Super League (Europe) officials have prepared a timeline of key dates to determine what the future holds for both the Wolfpack and Super League in 2021.

By September 18th, the Super League executives will provide an appraisal of Canada’s value to Super League, with Super League chief executive Robert Elstone apparently unconvinced of its value, while they also expect the RFL to announce any sanctions to apply to the Canadian club.

Crucially, an appraisal of the Wolfpack’s application is also set to be submitted on the 18th, which will include input from both Super League and the RFL.

By the same date, the RFL will have confirmed the sanctions that would be imposed on the club if its re-entry were to be accepted.

A recommendation on Toronto will be sent from the executives to the clubs on September 21st, before a final decision is made by Super League board on the 25th.

There are two key elements that will sway the decision. First, the strategic vision for expansion in Canada and second, the viability of Toronto’s bid, which will need to provide assurances on the legitimacy of their prospective new owner and an agreement on their participation conditions.

If Toronto’s return is accepted, LiVolsi will be invited to present in front of the clubs in the week commencing September 28th.

Super League is yet to decide what will happen if they do not allow the Wolfpack back and if they should wish to ‘promote’ another side.

Key components to the decision are the financial repercussions and how a decision on who to promote would be determined.

Should the competition decide to run with twelve teams, but without Toronto, clubs interested in applying will have to submit their bid by October 16th, with a final decision then to be made week commencing October 26th.

If Super League opts to run with eleven teams next year, there will then be consideration of promotion and relegation at the end of 2021, with the possibility of two teams being promoted from the Championship.

A proposal to promote the winner of the competition, and then have a Million Pound Game between Super League’s bottom team and the Championship’s second-placed team, has been mooted.

A decision on that, however, is not set to be finalised for a number of months.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Total Rugby League

McCrone’s (team captain) plea for the Wolfpack
DAVID ROGERS 13/09/2020

https://www.totalrl.com/mccrones-plea-for-the-wolfpack/


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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https://wolfgrooming.com/pages/pro-rugby

https://wolfgrooming.com/
If you press the “wolf” logo at the top left of the introduction page, a flash appears that states that wolf grooming are already the sponsors of Super League.
A little presumptuous?
Might not go down too well with the poms.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Common sense will prevail. These people are English , There not from Victoria! Rugby League is far better off with Canada's involved.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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SEP 25th. let it be known


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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pussycat wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:21 pm Common sense will prevail. These people are English , There not from Victoria! Rugby League is far better off with Canada's involved.
I think the VFL then AFL has managed expansion very well....and it’s position will only get stronger.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Wolfpack players receive ‘hardship’ payments from rugby league authorities
ND
By Neil DavidsonThe Canadian Press
Mon., Sept. 14, 2020timer2 min. read
Toronto Wolfpack players, who have not been paid since June 10, have received a second “hardship payment” from English rugby league authorities.

Spokesmen for Super League and the Rugby Football League confirmed the payments had been made from Super League’s hardship fund for players. They declined further comment.

Wolfpack chairman and CEO Bob Hunter confirmed the $1,000-pound ($1,700) payments, saying it was the second such cheque the players had got from the league fund. He said the Wolfpack pushed for the payments, with the first coming from a bond of some 30,000 pounds ($50,900) the transatlantic team had put up in the past.

“Both were great and stepped up,” Hunter said of Super League and the RFL.

Hunter was unsure whether import Wolfpack players, like former All Black Sonny Bill Williams and Australian-born Samoan international Ricky Leutele, who had left England to return home, had received hardship payments.

Toronto has been in limbo since announcing July 20 that it could not afford to finish out the Super League season. Super League subsequently tore up the Wolfpack’s participation agreement and expunged Toronto from the 2020 season standings.

Majority owner David Argyle, who could no longer fund the club, has since stepped away. Toronto businessman Carlo LiVolsi wants to buy the franchise, but the sale is tied to the club staying in Super League.

Wolfpack officials said last week that the club owed some 500,000 pounds ($848,365) in missed payroll.

Argyle, a Toronto-based Australian entrepreneur who specializes in mining and natural resources in emerging markets, has offered a personal guarantee for the player pay but has not been in a position to make good on it. He has said the original ownership group poured $30 million into the franchise.

LiVolsi has pledged to take care of the players.

Toronto has submitted a new business plan in its bid to return to Super League under LiVolsi’s ownership. A decision is expected later this month or in early October.

Hunter said he and other team officials are currently going over Super League/RFL questions on the business plan and LiVolsi — with the answers due Tuesday.

Toronto has been actively lobbying for a return to Super League, asking players and supporters to speak up on social media while talking to Super League owners behind the scenes.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Will Toronto be given a second chance?
By Trev SmithSeptember 14, 2020

The future of Toronto Wolfpack and their participation in Super League is well and truly up in the air at the moment.

There will be many in Canada’s largest city who are sweating on the possible likelihood of a return to the league they withdrew from only a few months ago.

Now, with their house seemingly in order, they will try to persuade the rest of the Super League members that they deserve a shot at redemption which, you’d have to say, looks slightly unlikely.

That isn’t a view that is held exclusively outside of Toronto, but rather in it. Indeed, Wolfpack head coach Brian McDermott has recently pleaded with Super League teams to make a ‘brave and compassionate decision’ with regards to their bid to be readmitted to the league.

Despite his pleas, McDermott is realistic about their chances, after what he describes as knowingly antagonizing member teams last season.
The 50-year-old coach may well be showing an impressive self-awareness and disarming honesty, but it does feel like it could be too little too late in some respects.

When all is said and done, this is perhaps solely down to Toronto’s pursuit of Sonny Bill Williams and subsequently tying him down to a $10 million contract to be paid out over two seasons.

It was an aggressive move to say the very least, as the former All Black was to be paid 40 times the average Super League salary, thanks to Toronto using contractual loopholes to bypass the usual salary cap, which is around $85,000 a year.

It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to see why this was seen as a deal that wasn’t necessarily done in the spirit of fair play and competition.

To make matters worse, it spectacularly backfired as well, given that Sonny Bill Williams looked off the pace and did very little to contribute to a winning cause.

In fact, Toronto managed to lose every game they played in before they withdrew from the league.

The truth is, they were the early favourites to finish bottom of the league and looked well out of their depth right from the off, despite their spending spree.

In comparison, if we were to look at the team that now occupies that spot, Hull KR, who sit bottom of the table now and are at outrageously long odds of 750/1 to win the Grand Final in rugby league betting, they’ve still managed to be competitive, having racked up two wins whilst operating on a shoestring budget.

Try as you might, you can’t really picture the East Yorkshire outfit being ready to accept Toronto back into the league with open arms, given the different ways these two teams have gone about their business this season.

Toronto’s saving grace may be that the Super League favours a league which comprises of 12 teams. That may be their magic ticket back into the big time but you still suspect that the majority of Super League members have been left with a bad taste in their mouths which proves impossible to get rid of.

Toronto lived the dream but were writing cheques that they ultimately couldn’t cash. They will now go with cap in hand and ask for forgiveness.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Rugby league in Canada can be great, insists Toronto Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott
https://www.loverugbyleague.com/post/ru ... mcdermott/

Dream or Nightmare: A Tale of Toronto
5 live Rugby League
“Close the door now and we lose North America forever.” Ex-Director of football at Toronto Wolfpack Brian Noble joins Dave Woods to disuss whether the club has learned from the past and whether the new regime can deliver in the future.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08rksns


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