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walter sobchak

Challenge cup semi-finals.

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I know it's a long way off but I've thought about this for a while and I'm bored but why aren't these huge important matches given the respect they deserve and played at top class stadiums like the eithad stadium(man city), anfield(Liverpool FC), bramhall lane(sheff utd) etc. semi-finals in Leigh, Doncaster or Warrington in 10,000-14,000 stadiums just don't capture the imagination of rugby league fans never mind the neutrals and media, just look at the 2011 four nations double header at wembley that attracted 44,000 fans, nearly more than double than what we get at playing internationals at Wigan, hull and Huddersfield. With promotion there's no reason why we can't have 20-30000 at these matches or even sold out if double headers.

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I know it's a long way off but I've thought about this for a while and I'm bored but why aren't these huge important matches given the respect they deserve and played at top class stadiums like the eithad stadium(man city), anfield(Liverpool FC), bramhall lane(sheff utd) etc. semi-finals in Leigh, Doncaster or Warrington in 10,000-14,000 stadiums just don't capture the imagination of rugby league fans never mind the neutrals and media, just look at the 2011 four nations double header at wembley that attracted 44,000 fans, nearly more than double than what we get at playing internationals at Wigan, hull and Huddersfield. With promotion there's no reason why we can't have 20-30000 at these matches or even sold out if double headers.

That we can't get crowds to the semi finals just shows how the appeal of the Challenge Cup has fallen. I remember being at Odsal in 40,000 plus crowds for semi finals, at least one of which featured small town Featherstone. The Cup used to be a huge competition but not anymore. The final is still a winner but the qualifying rounds including the semi finals don't seem to draw. On the other hand the SL playoffs have the same problem.

Is it the pre paid season ticket syndrome which affects these attendaces.?

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I know it's a long way off but I've thought about this for a while and I'm bored but why aren't these huge important matches given the respect they deserve and played at top class stadiums like the eithad stadium(man city), anfield(Liverpool FC), bramhall lane(sheff utd) etc. semi-finals in Leigh, Doncaster or Warrington in 10,000-14,000 stadiums just don't capture the imagination of rugby league fans never mind the neutrals and media, just look at the 2011 four nations double header at wembley that attracted 44,000 fans, nearly more than double than what we get at playing internationals at Wigan, hull and Huddersfield. With promotion there's no reason why we can't have 20-30000 at these matches or even sold out if double headers.

Often thought the same myself. I think you'd probably have to start with either single games at smaller grounds like the DW or the Reebok and aim for 20,000+ or a double header at somewhere bigger like the Eithiad, then promote it and try and build in to an annual occasion. Would probably need a lot of promoting ing the first instance and maybe a deal such as buy a s/f ticket and get a discount on the final ticket even if you purchase later, for example if you wanted to wait to see if yourteam got there

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That we can't get crowds to the semi finals just shows how the appeal of the Challenge Cup has fallen. I remember being at Odsal in 40,000 plus crowds for semi finals, at least one of which featured small town Featherstone. The Cup used to be a huge competition but not anymore. The final is still a winner but the qualifying rounds including the semi finals don't seem to draw. On the other hand the SL playoffs have the same problem.

Is it the pre paid season ticket syndrome which affects these attendaces.?

Totally agree with everything you've said but it's worth a try as more often than not these matches are great ties and are even better than the some final's. I still prefer the challenge cup to the grand final even though both are great events, I just think something needs to be done to re-energize this great competition i.e rewarding season ticket holders with cut price tickets or cheap tickets on the whole.

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Often thought the same myself. I think you'd probably have to start with either single games at smaller grounds like the DW or the Reebok and aim for 20,000+ or a double header at somewhere bigger like the Eithiad, then promote it and try and build in to an annual occasion. Would probably need a lot of promoting ing the first instance and maybe a deal such as buy a s/f ticket and get a discount on the final ticket even if you purchase later, for example if you wanted to wait to see if yourteam got there

I think we missed a great opportunity in 2011 with the Wigan v st Helen's semi-final, we could have tested the waters by taking that match to the eithad, anfield or even like you say the reebok stadium Bolton. You'll never know unless you try and that's why I applaud the RFL in taking the 2011 4 nations double header to wembley or the 2013 world cup double header to Cardiff, we've got to smash our way out of thinking small and making do with 10,000-12,000 for challenge cup semi-finals.

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Totally agree with everything you've said but it's worth a try as more often than not these matches are great ties and are even better than the some final's. I still prefer the challenge cup to the grand final even though both are great events, I just think something needs to be done to re-energize this great competition i.e rewarding season ticket holders with cut price tickets or cheap tickets on the whole.

Yes, making the cup ties a cheap option on the season ticket could be a good idea. The ties aren't being attended so anyway to get the crowds back has to be a good deal. The problem is though that cup ties are shared gates with half the receipts going to the other team so that might be diff to deal with, but the basic idea seems good to me.

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I think we missed a great opportunity in 2011 with the Wigan v st Helen's semi-final, we could have tested the waters by taking that match to the eithad, anfield or even like you say the reebok stadium Bolton. You'll never know unless you try and that's why I applaud the RFL in taking the 2011 4 nations double header to wembley or the 2013 world cup double header to Cardiff, we've got to smash our way out of thinking small and making do with 10,000-12,000 for challenge cup semi-finals.

think im right the a semi between wigan and sains back in about 91 was played at old trafford in front of a big crowd so we dont have to go back to ancient history for decent crowds for the semis .

since the advent of super league the grand final has taken over as the major prize until then it was always the cup final that was seen as the must win but now its just a midseason comp much in the catagory of the regal trophy at least until the final

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think im right the a semi between wigan and sains back in about 91 was played at old trafford in front of a big crowd so we dont have to go back to ancient history for decent crowds for the semis .

since the advent of super league the grand final has taken over as the major prize until then it was always the cup final that was seen as the must win but now its just a midseason comp much in the catagory of the regal trophy at least until the final

If the World Club championship is extended to two teams from each country, maybe Winning the Challenge Cup can be made a criterium for a team to qualify for that. Interest in the Cup would be stimulated if that were so.

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If the World Club championship is extended to two teams from each country, maybe Winning the Challenge Cup can be made a criterium for a team to qualify for that. Interest in the Cup would be stimulated if that were so.

Would the Aussies want to expand the World club challenge, they hardly take it serious now.

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Semis are fine as they are, fan number says the RFL get it right!!

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Semis are fine as they are, fan number says the RFL get it right!!

Fan numbers for 4 nations games at Wigan, Huddersfield and hull didn't stop them taking a match to wembley resulting in a extra 20,000 fans turning up, it's worth a gamble in my opinion.

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Would the Aussies want to expand the World club challenge, they hardly take it serious now.

I know it was being discussed with them but I don't know of any results from those discussions.

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Semis are fine as they are, fan number says the RFL get it right!!

Getting less for the semi final of a major competiton than for a run of the mill league fixture between teams cannot be right.

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I agree that the semis should be treated as an event and planned ahead. Just as we all know where the final will be and when (bring it back to cardiff!) the semis should be located in a permanent home and tickets sold and promoted well in advance

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Fan numbers for 4 nations games at Wigan, Huddersfield and hull didn't stop them taking a match to wembley resulting in a extra 20,000 fans turning up, it's worth a gamble in my opinion.

With respect, semi finals is four clubs, not every league fan in the country..... So it's a massive gamble, plus the timing of the semi to final is a few weeks..... Expensive for most people.

Getting less for the semi final of a major competiton than for a run of the mill league fixture between teams cannot be right.

I agree and understand, but this will happen due to season tickets and then people not willing to part with their hard earned cash... Play offs exactly the same.

I agree that the semis should be treated as an event and planned ahead. Just as we all know where the final will be and when (bring it back to cardiff!) the semis should be located in a permanent home and tickets sold and promoted well in advance

They're planned well ahead, why should they have a permanent home??

I've enjoy semis in Yorkshire, I've enjoyed them in Lancashire ( please don't split hairs) it nice to go to other grounds to see my team.

Surely going to the same ground every semi would get boring !!

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With respect, semi finals is four clubs, not every league fan in the country..... So it's a massive gamble, plus the timing of the semi to final is a few weeks..... Expensive for most people.

I agree and understand, but this will happen due to season tickets and then people not willing to part with their hard earned cash... Play offs exactly the same.

They're planned well ahead, why should they have a permanent home??

I've enjoy semis in Yorkshire, I've enjoyed them in Lancashire ( please don't split hairs) it nice to go to other grounds to see my team.

Surely going to the same ground every semi would get boring !!

so the promotion and ticket selling starts when? Are you bored of going to wembley every year? If they were gangbusters it wouldn't matter but the semis are dying in their ######. Something needs to be tried

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so the promotion and ticket selling starts when? Are you bored of going to wembley every year? If they were gangbusters it wouldn't matter but the semis are dying in their ######. Something needs to be tried

When you win you're quarter final game!! Simple really.

I'll never get bored of wembley, have been most years since 87. As I'm now older , married and with kids, they go to their grandparents, so the wife and I make a weekend of it.

Tbf. Other than finals, the clubs during the regular season do a great job, any other matches will be a challenge due to the climate were currently in.

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Depending on who the four semi-finalists are (3 Yorkshire sides to 1 Lancashire side or vice versa) I would go for a double header at either the etihad stadium for Lancashire or bramhall lane for yorkshire.

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When you win you're quarter final game!! Simple really.

I'll never get bored of wembley, have been most years since 87. As I'm now older , married and with kids, they go to their grandparents, so the wife and I make a weekend of it.

Tbf. Other than finals, the clubs during the regular season do a great job, any other matches will be a challenge due to the climate were currently in.

sorry your first sentence is passing me by.

Fair enough about wembley but a day out at a decent northern stadium has its value as well, not sure why you'd get bored of that but not wembley, at least I don't see a massive difference. Still each to their own.

I'm not sure the decline of cc attendances can be blamed in tough economic times, although I'd like to see a ten year break down so we could see if it does match up

Edit: I get your first point now, but I already knew that, hardly evidence of it already being planned well in advance as you asserted

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Depending on who the four semi-finalists are (3 Yorkshire sides to 1 Lancashire side or vice versa) I would go for a double header at either the etihad stadium for Lancashire or bramhall lane for yorkshire.

wouldnt think bramhall lane would be considered due to the lenth of the pitch which only really leaves elland road for yorkshire

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wouldnt think bramhall lane would be considered due to the lenth of the pitch which only really leaves elland road for yorkshire

I was going to say elland road but apparently it's a dump, not that I've ever been.

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With respect, semi finals is four clubs, not every league fan in the country..... So it's a massive gamble, plus the timing of the semi to final is a few weeks..... Expensive for most people.

The final is two clubs. It gets more than any international in this country ever has. It's a poor argument.

It's not a massive gamble. The fans are there. On top of that, if the event was planned correctly with enough time, you'd get a fair number of neutrals anyway.

I agree and understand, but this will happen due to season tickets and then people not willing to part with their hard earned cash... Play offs exactly the same.

So we need to create a better event that people want to go to, not just sit on our hands and say "well that's how it is now".

They're planned well ahead, why should they have a permanent home??

How on earth are they planned well ahead? The venue is announced a week after the quarters, and then you have a few weeks to buy tickets. Wembley tickets are sold all year. If you sold tickets to the final after the semis, you'd get about 40k at Wembley.

I've enjoy semis in Yorkshire, I've enjoyed them in Lancashire ( please don't split hairs) it nice to go to other grounds to see my team.

And there are 13 league games to give you that opportunity.

Surely going to the same ground every semi would get boring !!

Some of us aren't that lucky to go every year!

Also, some of us prefer being able to plan our trips in advance. Some people like regularity. I think the semis would be a huge success if they were a double header in Sheffield or Manchester.

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The main problem is that RL is now predictable and lop sided scorelines are expected. There is no momentum by SF stage and no chance of s surprise team. It will be the same old same old in the SFs. The game has become too one dimensional with too much emphasis on muscle rather than guile for a sport which still has a limited fully pro player pool. I'd love to see competitive scrums brought back, a smaller retreat line and less subs.

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The final is two clubs. It gets more than any international in this country ever has. It's a poor argument.

It's not a massive gamble. The fans are there. On top of that, if the event was planned correctly with enough time, you'd get a fair number of neutrals anyway.

So we need to create a better event that people want to go to, not just sit on our hands and say "well that's how it is now".

How on earth are they planned well ahead? The venue is announced a week after the quarters, and then you have a few weeks to buy tickets. Wembley tickets are sold all year. If you sold tickets to the final after the semis, you'd get about 40k at Wembley.

And there are 13 league games to give you that opportunity.

Some of us aren't that lucky to go every year!

Also, some of us prefer being able to plan our trips in advance. Some people like regularity. I think the semis would be a huge success if they were a double header in Sheffield or Manchester.

some valid points made, the sad thing that is very true, International Rugby League doesn't pull in the BIG crowds and semis are dying.

Having a double header may only bring in a few extra thousand.

Selling tickets in advance for semis - other than the 4 teams, how many neutrals are actually bothered??

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I was going to say elland road but apparently it's a dump, not that I've ever been.

its past its best but in yorkshire theres no real alternative for grounds of that size as i would think that for 2 semis we would be alking 30,000 plus crowd

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