Discussing the numbers game in Britball and the viability of 8v8 teams vs established teams creating A&B teams in large cities!
There has been A LOT of chat over the last couple of weeks around the creation of an 8v8 league but to my knowledge and experience of teams, I think it would be better to have fewer clubs and more teams within single organisations. The best teams to look at are the London Blitz and Manchester Titans who although have the warriors to contend with are probably two of the best setups in British American Football. A&B teams in the same organisation would allow for movement up and down of players as they develop their skills and would provide great competition for spots in both teams. The coaching quality tends to be (but not always be) higher in premiership teams, sponsors, funding and organisation tends to be better across the board.
What I have done for this article is based purely off of the population of areas compared to the number of members in teams and used teams I have played for as examples.
BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER THESE NUMBERS ARE BASED ENTIRELY OFF OF 2020 ESTIMATE VALUES JUST TO GIVE AN IDEA OF WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT. EXACT NUMBERS WITHIN CITIES AND TEAMS ARE SOMEWHAT EDUCATED GUESS WORK.
Edinburgh, not including women and junior teams, currently has 54 people on their adult contact roster which meets the game-day roster size of 53. Whether they are all there every game or not is a different story, but it’s enough to comfortably make a squad every week. Edinburgh has a rough population of 500,000.
Aberdeen currently has 38 people on their adult contact roster which is a little low for a division one team but meets current BAFA standards for numbers. Aberdeen has a rough population of 240,000.
Edinburgh – one player for every 10,000 people
Aberdeen – one player for every 6,000 People
So let’s say for an average we have one player per 8000 people in each city.
For this article we will take into account some of the major cities listed below.
Glasgow – 1,600,000 (200 Potential Players)
Glasgow currently has four teams within the area which is too many. They are likely all fighting for the same players and with three of those teams in division one they obviously have decent standards but this will be stopping them having a premiership team. Imagine if this was two teams with an A&B team. They would have two strong clubs with most likely one premiership squad and a division one or two squad for each club.
Newcastle – 800,000 (100 Potential Players)
Newcastle currently has two teams, a division one and a division two team but no premiership team. If they had one club with an A &B team they likely have one in the premiership and one in division one or two.
Leeds – 800,000 (100 Potential Players)
Supports two teams in the Yorkshire Rams & Leeds Bobcats with the Knottingley raiders potentially coming under this area as well, but not a single team makes the premiership from this major city. This is the same situation as Newcastle.
Manchester/Liverpool – 2,700,000 + 900,000 (3,600,000 Combined) (450 Potential Players)
Most people will hate me for grouping these two, but they are so close together it makes sense. Currently supports a number of teams including two premiership teams (Manchester Titans & Merseyside Nighthawks, a number of division one and two teams plus a large number of 8GL teams. This area, in particular, could have two really strong organisations, one in Liverpool, one in Manchester with A & B teams, one represented in the premiership and the other in division one or two.
Sheffield – 730,000 (90 Potential Players)
One team here and they are in the premiership. No surprise there.
Nottingham – 780,000 (97 Potential Players)
This area has one team that has been in division one football for a long period of time.
Leicester – 550,000 (68 potential players)
This area has one team that is relatively new to the league. They worked their way through the leagues to the premiership and currently reside in division one.
Birmingham – 2,600,000 (325 Potential Players)
Currently supports three teams with two of those being the Tamworth Phoenix and Sandwell Steelers in the Premiership. This is probably about correct but there is no real need for the third organisation even though they are by far the oldest.
London – 9,300,000 (1,162 Players)
Now London supports a ridiculous amount of teams and there are three of those in the premiership, a number in division one and some in division two. This area has a large enough population that it can probably support five organisations comfortably with both A & B teams in the Central, North, East, South and West Regions of the city. The Exiles and Olympians are close together and the London Hornets sit directly in the middle of the London Blitz and Hertfordshire Cheetahs.
I have obviously only looked at the bigger cities here, however, if a team is looking to set up in an area they should really look at the demographics. If the city/town you are setting up in has less than 400,000 people the likelihood of you having a squad meeting the maximum 53 man roster is small. It would be better to join already established teams and when required have them create a second team to compete within the three divisions in the BAFA structure.
For those teams in outlying areas, make a team in a central location of some minor cities. For example, Bury is a 30-mile drive from Ipswich and a 47-mile drive from Norwich. These three teams could easily form one large powerful team to have a premiership team. Between the three cities, there are roughly 600,000 people which would cover one extremely solid team and potentially a B team if numbers were good.
For those players who don’t want to commit to travelling into an area where a football team is then 8v8 may be for you but you should feed into the bigger organisations.