According to the 2001 Census the populations of the towns/city breakdown as follows,
2011 census gives regional populations as the following.
West Yorkshire 2,225,359
Gtr Manchester 2,681,735
Warrington District 202,137
I think those figures tell a lot.
I'd like to know exactly what you feel they say and others.
For me they say that in some places the concentration of RL fans is high, but that's against a low local population so crowds of 5,000, 6,000 and 7,000 are magnificent achievements. However these crowds have plunged the SL clubs into administration, near financial collapse, or they survive by rich chairmans handouts.
In other places top clubs have top crowds and do well with five figure fan bases, it's highly likely they pull fans from a wider region e.g. merseyside, cheshire, greater manchester for Saints, Wire and Wigan.
But salford can't pull 8,000 from a local catchment of two and a half million.
For west yorkshire my stamping ground I've enjoyed watching 12 pro clubs over the years, but that's a lot for a population of 2.2M to support.
What this means to P & R and licensing I'm not sure. Again should the financial level SL is pitched at be matched to the pulling power of the clubs in SL.
I don't believe SL is a good enough competition to draw the fans across the board, and as per pre 1996 fans follow the successfull clubs. Would an even competition pull more fans? Would evening up the competition financially damage the game.