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Where have all the fans gone


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#81 Northern Sol

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:55 PM

Wigan has a population of aprox. 120,000, Wigan Borough has a population oof around 320,000. Wigan benefits from having good transport links, making Preston just 11mins and Lancaster about 20mins away to the North and Birmingham to the South is only an hour by train and there are guys in the pub pre-match for every home game from Birmingham. East, West Wigan has direct rail connections to Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton and Southport as well as a host of smaller towns in between. Wigan also has the M6 running straight through it.

 

So it depends what you call a catchment area, Wigan have targeted the area to the North in particular with close links with UCLAN (Preston) and they have targeted Manchester.

Oh yeah, there is no doubt that Wigan are Lancashire's* team as well as Wigan Borough's. When I used to live in that part of the world I used to see folk heading south for the rugby.

 

But my point was that if a side are successful enough then their catchment area can grow quite some distance outside their home town.

 

*as in the modern rump county that includes Preston, Burnley and Lancaster but not Wigan



#82 Padge

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 10:30 PM

Oh yeah, there is no doubt that Wigan are Lancashire's* team as well as Wigan Borough's. When I used to live in that part of the world I used to see folk heading south for the rugby.

 

But my point was that if a side are successful enough then their catchment area can grow quite some distance outside their home town.

 

*as in the modern rump county that includes Preston, Burnley and Lancaster but not Wigan

 

I agree about growth being beyond the town boundary for a successful club, whoever you also need good transport links and a large untapped resource on those links.

 

Wigan is lucky in its geographical position to be able to take advantage of the infrastructure it sits on, and it sits in the middle of a densely populated area.

 

here is something I posted in the past regarding populations

 

****************************

 

 
St. Helens, Wigan and Warrington have a population of around 120,000 - 150,000 each as a starting point for a fan base.
 
Wigan Borough alone has a population of 360,000 the whole of Wakefield MBC has a population  320,000, the three South Lancs SL clubs discussed sit in a massive conurbation of some 4 million people that is the most densely populated area outside of London. The more people you have on your door step the more people you are likely to get in through the turnstiles.
 
Although people will and do travel to games the farther away you get from the population centres the less likely you are to pull in the punters. Saints are on the doorstep of Merseyside and aim towards Liverpool for extra support, Wigan is 12 minutes from Preston by train and they target the area to the North,  Warrington looks South and East to Chester and South Manchester. All these areas they target have high populations and no other RL to compete with them.
 
The Wakefield district has to the North/North West Bradford and Leeds to compete with and those two have that area pretty much stitched up, to the West is Huddersfield, again they will have to compete with an SL club that is growing. East of Knottingly you've got field after field to Hull. The only way out for the Wakefield district clubs is to head South to Barnsley, population 75,000, this gives a net target of something just short of 400,000 as opposed to 4 million.
 
I'll even be kind and say that nobody from East of the Leigh border is included in the figures, I'll be even kinder and now include Widnes as a team vying for these fans since they are now in SL.
 
Merseyside 1.4million
Central Lancashire 350,000
Wigan 140,000
Warrington Borough  200,000
Wirall 310,000
 
That's 4 clubs sat in an area with no other pro RL clubs sharing a population of 2.4 million or 600,000 each.
 
Compare that with the 'Calder' trio and I'll throw in Barnsley MBC for good measure.
 
Wakefield MBC 320,000
Barnsley 230,000
 
Total 550,000 giving them 183,000 each, the four South Lancs clubs have over 3 times more people each to go at.
 
It is these figures that make it difficult for clubs (amongst other factors), the fact that the clubs are hemmed in to the West and North by other SL clubs who have successfully tapped into these markets that limits what they can do in these areas, to the East is a desert.
 
Just shear numbers of population make it difficult.
 
West Yorkshire has a population of 2.2 million divided between something like 10 clubs, even looking at it that way only gives each club a 220,000 target each.
 
The figures in some ways may be simplistic but they show the crux of the problem.


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#83 Northern Sol

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:07 PM

What you say is all true but remember that the North West has soccer sewn up. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton are world renown and the the most successful clubs in the country (bar Arsenal). City only recently and Liverpool / Everton not so much today but certainly historically. Added to which there are the Blackburns, the Boltons, the Burnleys and the Wigans (lately) that may not be the biggest but are often at the top table.

 

Yorkshire has errm, well Leeds were quite good at one time and so were the Sheffield clubs and that's about it really. 



#84 koli

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 02:59 AM

Padge's chart shows it very clearly.aggregate attendances are at their highest since the early 60s.In broad trends they have followed soccer.All time high in the immediate post war period ,a gradual decline through the 50s that accelerated in the 60s and 70s as lifestyles changed and then a recovery from the 80's onwards.

They have also followed the trends set by soccer into concentrating into the top league and the rise of the season ticket /regular league v decline of the cup and walk up crowd.



#85 Ant

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 07:25 AM

People get paid monthly into their bank in general these days, instead of weekly in cash so it's actually easier to buy a season ticket than to budget for £20+ cash every random week - even more so when the game is on tv

I wonder if this is a reason for the trends in ticket buying?

#86 Viking Warrior

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 12:51 PM

after every widnes home game a chap who lives opposite the west stand always stands at his gate asking "how have we gone on" the irony is that he asks someone like me who doesn't live in widnes and travels to every game home or away, and he lives withing 50 yards of the stadium.
"Why is Napoleon crying ?" said one sailor to the other, "poor ###### thinks he's being exiled to st helens" came the reply.



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#87 Padge

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 04:37 PM

What you say is all true but remember that the North West has soccer sewn up. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton are world renown and the the most successful clubs in the country (bar Arsenal). City only recently and Liverpool / Everton not so much today but certainly historically. Added to which there are the Blackburns, the Boltons, the Burnleys and the Wigans (lately) that may not be the biggest but are often at the top table.

 

Yorkshire has errm, well Leeds were quite good at one time and so were the Sheffield clubs and that's about it really. 

 

Bradford City have had their moments and even down in championship 2 managed just over 10k last season (helped by a cup run you may say, it only went up by 100 on the season before),  even little old Barnsley averaged just over 10k last season. These may not be up there with the big Lancashire clubs but it shows where the interest is and where even more competition is.

 

Its the population density of the North West compared to West Yorkshire that has allowed the clubs to hold up. There is no doubt the soccer clubs are a big draw, but there is enough left over to not overburden the South Lancs RL clubs.



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Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

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#88 Trojan

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 07:02 PM

I agree entirely and so if the Superleague clubs can now draw it's future fans from far and wide ("York is full of Leeds Rhinos car stickers") and draw them from old local championship areas because they prefer to watch professional RL then it stands to (good business) reason to ensure a limited spread of top class clubs across the M62 set up to attract sizeable support from far and wide.

It's a point I never thought you would ever make?

 

Sorry to have been so long getting back, I've been in Salisbury away from a computer that I could reply on.  I read your comment on Tuesday night though. Parky I've been saying this for years. The context being that the lack of P&R  is to the advantage of the SL clubs every time.  IMO it's why Wakey's crowds have grown at the expense of Fev's (Fev were getting better crowds when both clubs were in the Championship)  I was why the Bulls' crowds expanded at the expense of 'Fax.  And without the chance to compete in the same league at these clubs it will continue and eventually clubs like Fax, Fev, & Leigh will go to the wall. 


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#89 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 08:40 PM

Sorry to have been so long getting back, I've been in Salisbury away from a computer that I could reply on.  I read your comment on Tuesday night though. Parky I've been saying this for years. The context being that the lack of P&R  is to the advantage of the SL clubs every time.  IMO it's why Wakey's crowds have grown at the expense of Fev's (Fev were getting better crowds when both clubs were in the Championship)  I was why the Bulls' crowds expanded at the expense of 'Fax.  And without the chance to compete in the same league at these clubs it will continue and eventually clubs like Fax, Fev, & Leigh will go to the wall. 

featherstone's crowds have grown aparently

are you suggesting that people are forsaking featherstone for wakefield?


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