I think it is because as you indicate the population of west Yorkshire has enough interest in Rugby League to attract 55,000 to 11 clubs. An average 5,000 per club won't make any of them a Superleague success.
It is said it doesn't work like that and of course if you get rid of 10 west yorkshire clubs the remaining club won't get a 55,000 gate!
But it sure as heck won't be short of fans - as Marauder says - have the SL bug will travel.
I wonder if in Lancashire we are seeing something significant. We have lots of anecdotal evidence that people travel from afar to watch SL clubs in Lancashire (and Yorkshire as per Marauder). We see Wire, Saints and Wigan average 14,600 fans ech.
In contrast Widnes and Salford were highly dissapointed with their gates, Leigh too, and of course Swinton, Oldham, Rochdale have few fans and Huyton and Blackpool are gone now.
It could be argued three SL clubs are mopping up support across three major regions of Lancashire.
Are five SL clubs in the smaller area of west Yorkshire putting pressure on each others attendances??
And is it the case that SL cannot in reality find the audience for a 14 clubs self sustaining league pitched at £1.65.
New audiences required (hence Catalans and Toulouse?? what about South Wales??) Or rely on rich men???
There are five SL clubs in West Yorkshire. They all already average more than 5,000 each. If you add in all the CC clubs you might come up with your 5,000 average.
Similarly if you add in Salford, Widnes, Leigh, oldham, Swinton and Rochdale to your Lancashire figures you will not get an average of 14,000 plus. As an aside, does the Warrington ground even hold that many and is it sold out for every fixture.
As Marauder says, they travel for SL. If Doncaster were to get to SL, I would think that they would prefer to make the shorter journey to Doncaster for their SL rather than travel further afield.
It could be argued that Warrington, Saints and Wigan are top of the SL tree and are attracting attendances that such a level of success would deserve.
When you have a lesser level SL team in Lancashire, as at Salford and Widnes, SL is not pulling them in. If Salford and Widnes are to up their game and compete at the top level, it remains to be seen whether they would increase their gates. I would bet they would.
In West Yorkshire the same argument can be made. Leeds and Bradford have been at the top and have increased their gates. Once they are not successful the gates fall, as at Bradford.
Wakefield have struggled for years, now they are just being modestly more succesful, the gates are rising. Castlford are stagnating on the playing front and their gates are reflecting this.
Huddersfield have flirted with top tier status and their gates were pushing towards 10,000. They have not actually won anything and have had a couple of dramatic collapses and the gates have gone down to reflect that decline in playing success.
I think the increase in SL attendances is more to do with more supporters from their own areas flocking to a successful team rather than them mopping up floating supporters fronm other areas.
Did the floating fans of CC Widnes flock to Saints games when they were playing their home
SL games at Widnes?
I think the salary cap should be reduced to the point where more teams can make a go of it in SL. This small, ultra successful SL that is seen to be the ideal will make the footprint of the sport too small.
The expanded World Club CAhmpionship will not be the panacea to solve the small league syndrome which will emerge if the game contracts to 8 British clubs. It will not last. Our big clubs are small compared to their Australian counterparts and will not compete against their better monetary and playing resources once the big billion dollar TV contract money kicks in. The competiton will be, like the last expanded version, too full of massive mismatches and will the Aussies will quickly nix it.
I have no problem with Catalans and or any Welsh team or any second French team being admitted to SL. they should however be admitted to augment the numbers of the SL and not at the expense of sending current SL teams to the saltmines. Inclusion, not exclusion, should be the policy.