AS THE sun beamed onto Odsal stadium last Sunday, I couldn't help but feel that the rugby league gods were smiling upon us as the Welsh Raiders were put to the sword.

And as I boarded my flight later that evening to Dubai and then on to Auckland, I couldn't have anticipated the chill of 'the Beast from the East' and all the disruption to our local community.

Bradford are such a tough and resilient community, who have become weathered to challenging conditions on and off the field.

Yes, Auckland is a bit of a hop and a skip across the ocean, but I was reminded of how connected the world we live in has become.

Sitting down to a pleasant lunch in Auckland's Viaduct this week with Lowie, the topic of conversation revolved around the convergence of sport and technology and how, as a game, we must continue to adapt to the changing landscape and challenges.

Lowie asked about the success of our digital coverage on Facebook Live with Proper Sport and how much he enjoyed the drama and theatre of live games.

As a matter of fact, I explained, the numbers of viewers and digital engagements are off the charts for the York v Bulls League One coverage and climbing with over 100,000 viewers reached.

When you talk in digital lingo, it's "eyeball this and eyeball that". One thing is certain, the world of digital sports broadcasting rights is in a metamorphosis and rugby league needs to continue to sharpen its act in this space.

Sky Sports, so long the main banker and financial backstop to rugby league, has made a massive investment to develop its commercial media rights, an arrangement in place until 2021.

However, since the Sky/RFL/Super League deal was struck back in 2013, the way the world consumes sport and entertainment has continued to change.

The 'big hitters' in this space include visionaries such as Jeff Bezos, from, Reed Hastings from Netflix, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Kevin Systrom from Instagram, Jack Dorsey from Twitter, Pichai Sundararajan of Google and Susan Wojcicki of YouTube.

If you don't recognise these names, that's okay, but the organisations they run or own intersect in your lives nearly every single day.

As in 2013, when Nigel Wood signed a record media rights deal with Sky Sports, the opportunity for the game to reposition commercially is once again presenting itself.

It's not about deals with one party versus another, its about recognising that the market for media rights in all forms now includes a host of new players along with the traditional media partners.

In among all the various digital and media players, a multi-partner solution for rugby league exists. The challenge for the game's commercial decision-makers is to make sure they follow the smart money – and the smart money says "follow the eyeballs".

A false perception exists among some in the Super League ranks; that Championship and League One clubs do not represent significant value to our game.

I've heard it said that these clubs are just a cost burden. It's a clear lack of perspective, respect and probably self-interest that drives this erroneous thinking.

The reality is that the Championship and League One clubs represent a significant asset to rugby league, an investment forged over decades in most cases.

The challenge for the doubters is to understand that. The opportunity is to capitalise on it and provide a long-term sustainable model for club investment and thereby extend the development of our pathways.

The RFL rightfully is introducing return on investment criteria to decide how to allocate these investment funds.

The Bulls FaceBook Live strategy is highlighting how valuable our rugby league content and product is. Taking a so-called 'third tier' game, producing it with the help of Proper Sport and then broadcasting it to the world was a first for rugby league. Free to air and live on Facebook shared around the world completely free.

All involved successfully proved it was technically and commercially viable. Now not only can our fans watch on smart TVs, computer and tablets, but we successfully delivered the game to their mobile phones and devices.

The viewer demographics make for interesting reading and is the source of much excitement in the commercial team. This digital strategy should be one that all clubs should want to embrace.

My short stop in New Zealand ends this evening as I make my journey back across the vast ocean expanse to good old Odsal Stadium for our round two clash with London Skolars tomorrow afternoon.

I'm looking forward to the continuation of our Bulls stampede, in what will no doubt be a tough, physical encounter with the men from London.

Any thoughts of 'digital this and digital that' will never replace feeling the roar of the Bulls faithful and the "Bully Bully" chant from the terraces.

But for Lowie in Auckland and our hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world who can't be there, enjoy the game with our free FaceBook Live coverage.

For the rest of us, see you at Odsal Stadium – and join the stampede.