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Less than 7,000 at Castleford on Thursday, around 8,500 at Warrington for a clash between 3rd and 4th last night, another sub-3,000 crowd at Salford, and Widnes posting a record Super League low of 3,681 last night.

St Helens, Wigan, Huddersfield and Hull FC all regularly play in front of stadiums that are either less than, or marginally over half-full. Over the last few years, my hunch is that the majority of clubs have seen a reduction in crowds, I think there needs to be a concerted effort to address this slide. For example, Widnes sometimes posted better crowds in the Championship than they have this year in Super League.

Whilst I think there's a problem, I'm not sure what the answer is! Could one Friday match on tv, one Saturday match on TV and all remaining games on Sunday (bar Catalans) help? Is it a problem with the structure? Is it because games take over 2 hours with video ref calls? Maybe it's because clubs don't put enough effort in to their marketing?

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Magic weekend probably broke a few people.

Also, people are generally skint at the moment, hence why there are loads of retailers going bust.

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Friday nights and Thursday nights for the majority of matches must be a real killer for all but the most committed.

I think Sunday at 3pm should be the aim for the majority of games in any round with only Catalans and two other games being moved for TV purposes.

 

Edited by Gerrumonside ref
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Interesting to see the average crowds over the last ten years:

2018 - 8189 (so far)

2017 - 8568

2016 - 9134

2015 - 10019

2014 - 8365

2013 - 9048

2012 - 10151

2011 - 9615

2010 - 9615

2009- 8864

So the last year or two we are slightly down but it doesn't appear to be a long term trend yet, i'm more concerned about no growth rather than any substantial decline. Much of it probably has to do with which teams are in super league. If Widnes and Salford are replaced by Toronto and Leigh then we'll probably see one of the highest Super League averages. Losing Bradford probably wasn't great for the average either.

I agree with the previous comment about Sunday afternoon matches being important.

 

 

Edited by fevtom
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28 minutes ago, Mark S said:

Magic weekend probably broke a few people.

Also, people are generally skint at the moment, hence why there are loads of retailers going bust.

Economy is a weak excuse. Retail is struggling because spend is going elsewhere - online and more on experiences. 

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6 minutes ago, fevtom said:

Interesting to see the average crowds over the last ten years:

2018 - 8189 (so far)

2017 - 8568

2016 - 9134

2015 - 10019

2014 - 8365

2013 - 9048

2012 - 10151

2011 - 9615

2010 - 9615

2009- 8864

So the last year or two we are slightly down but it doesn't appear to be a long term trend yet, i'm more concerned about no growth rather than any substantial decline. Much of it probably has to do with which teams are in super league. If Widnes and Salford are replaced by Toronto and Leigh then we'll probably see one of the highest Super League averages. Losing Bradford probably wasn't great for the average either.

I agree with the previous comment about Sunday afternoon matches being important.

 

 

You have to remember that 2015 saw two sides dropped from 2014 thats why the averages have gone up. Bradfords attendance was about 6.8k in 2014, Londons was 1,295 in 2014.

if we include those 2014 figures (even though they actually dropped again in 2015) the average in 2015 would be 9172 which would be a growth of about 800 but that could easily be simply the difference in away fans from swapping 1 game hosting london to 1 game hosting another SL side.

I dont think swapping Widnes and Salford for Tornto and Leigh will make all that much of a difference, Leighs average isnt much higher than Widnes's and whilst Toronto's are much higher and likely to be good, they will, like london, be a slight drag on other attendances because of a lack of away fans (though again, like it did with London and does with Les Catalans responsibility for that lies completely with the home side).

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I still think folk like Sunday afternoon rugby , but bizarrely they often shift them anywhere but . No idea if that’s part of this but Thursday and Friday aren’t great especially for away speccies 

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Personally, and speaking to fans from my club and other clubs there is a few reasons why crowds are dropping, namely the product on the pitch is at times, appalling and not what you'd expect from the "greatest game"

The games played on Thursday nights, and to an extent Friday nights put a lot of people, especially with families off, i know this is a problem at Huddersfield as we tend to have a large percentage of either older generation fans and young families, but not a lot in between, come the summer holidays, this might not be too much of a problem, but with the cold, dark, winter/spring months, many people choose to stay at home.

Ticket prices, yes i know RL fans have a "cheap as you can" mentality but i do think a lot of clubs charge more than they should really, after all, we aren't a major sport and yet some SL clubs charge almost as much as Premier league and championship football.

Marketing of the game is virtually non existent, from club level to RFL there is virtually no marketing of the sport.

In this day and age, people want value for money and want to be entertained, RL is still probably one of the more entertaining and exciting games but not enough for some people

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Why are we playing all all the games on Friday night? (Bar Saints v Cas and Leeds V Catalans). Also why are Championship playing during Magic Weekend and vis-versa with Summer Bash?

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30 minutes ago, Cowardly Fan said:

Economy is a weak excuse. Retail is struggling because spend is going elsewhere - online and more on experiences. 

Correct

In the 1930's during the depression

And in the early 1950's during days of austerity and rationing, 

The crowds were a lot larger my club (Warrington)regularly posted crowds of 15,000/20,000 for normal league matches

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I think it was Leeds who said they massively increase their income on a Fri night through corporate sales. That may be a reason.

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7 minutes ago, West Leeds Riviera said:

Why are we playing all all the games on Friday night? (Bar Saints v Cas and Leeds V Catalans). Also why are Championship playing during Magic Weekend and vis-versa with Summer Bash?

Same reason we start the SL season the same weekend (usually) that the 6 nations kicks off, lack of forward thinking i would suggest?

As for Friday night games, my club, stuck with Sundays up until 2 years ago when the crowds started declining, it was Mr.Davy's idea, basically we tried to be as family friendly as we could, but when that didn't work, we switched to Friday nights to try and attract a different demographic and also to give us more recovery time from when we were on SKY on Friday nights, ironically, we've hardly ever been on SKY since!

Edited by meast

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8 minutes ago, GeordieSaint said:

I think it was Leeds who said they massively increase their income on a Fri night through corporate sales. That may be a reason.

Corporate sales are great for Friday nights, but clubs from what I see have little idea on best use of their corporate facilities. If it is too difficult to sell corpies on weekends, offer a different package targeted at groups of friends. 

Drinks only packages for example. 

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1 minute ago, Sports Prophet said:

Corporate sales are great for Friday nights, but clubs from what I see have little idea on best use of their corporate facilities. If it is too difficult to sell corpies on weekends, offer a different package targeted at groups of friends. 

Drinks only packages for example. 

My experience (albeit limited to 2 clubs) is the hospitality offering is poor and I would argue underpriced. I've been to non league football clubs that have better organised hospitality from all volunteers. 

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Was going to go as a late walk up at HKR last night .

£25 each , just to much money from a tight budget .

Not wanting the tickets for nothing , maybe would have committed if KR offered pint and a pie in the price .

Discount on next few home games .

The product on the field at the moment isn't my idea of league . Looking at the ref for penalties , rolling a round like someones been shot , taking an age to form a scrum/take a drop out . Stopping the game when someone gets injured . Far to many interchanges .

Bit despondent at the minute , heading out to watch Dockers in a short while many the game will lift my rugby league spirits . 

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Game needs stopping when someone gets injured but to many milking penalties , refs not sure if its genuine so stops the game . 

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The problem at Widnes is not that people don't desire to watch the rugby. They don't want to support the club. We finished bottom last year yet still averaged 5600 over the year, 2000 more than last night. Fans are now starting to boycott the games as they want the board and the coach out the club and i think last night was a real eye-opener. Nothing but chants at the board, boo's around the ground, much like the hostility at the West Ham games this season.

So for one, fans are boycotting the game as a direct attack at the clubs hierarchy and for 2, what family would take their child to a game where fans are hostile and aggressive towards their own club and board. I think as soon as there is change at Widnes, fans will come back, but if not, i can see this club dipping into semi-professionalism and never returning.

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4 hours ago, henage said:

Was going to go as a late walk up at HKR last night .

£25 each , just to much money from a tight budget .

Not wanting the tickets for nothing , maybe would have committed if KR offered pint and a pie in the price .

Discount on next few home games .

The product on the field at the moment isn't my idea of league . Looking at the ref for penalties , rolling a round like someones been shot , taking an age to form a scrum/take a drop out . Stopping the game when someone gets injured . Far to many interchanges .

Bit despondent at the minute , heading out to watch Dockers in a short while many the game will lift my rugby league spirits . 

Went to Dockers game , enjoyed it .

Dockers went 12 behind but worked themselves back into the game .

Two steady teams not pulling any trees up , few good attacking plays from both teams , some good defence .

Ref did well , nothing for him to get involved with really .

Drop kick at the end was worth the admission alone . Dockers set themselves up about 15 metres out . Defence stormed out , hooker kicked one pointer from about 5 metres . 

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10 hours ago, Mark S said:

 

Also, people are generally skint at the moment, hence why there are loads of retailers going bust.

Only the high street going bust. Plenty spent online.

Anyway nothing to do with rugby. People are probably sated. We had enough to keep us going for a while in Newcastle 

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13 hours ago, henage said:

Was going to go as a late walk up at HKR last night .

£25 each , just to much money from a tight budget .

Not wanting the tickets for nothing , maybe would have committed if KR offered pint and a pie in the price .

Discount on next few home games .

The product on the field at the moment isn't my idea of league . Looking at the ref for penalties , rolling a round like someones been shot , taking an age to form a scrum/take a drop out . Stopping the game when someone gets injured . Far to many interchanges .

Bit despondent at the minute , heading out to watch Dockers in a short while many the game will lift my rugby league spirits . 

Have to say Henage I agree with everything you mentioned. £25 each is too much for what is offered. Adding value with a drink and food item is a good way to reward loyal fans. 

Otherwise, I wouldn't pay £25 for a product where skill is overshadowed by acting and penalty milking. Some people say the refs are killing the game. Unsportsmanlike behaviour is.

Less interchanges would open the game up more as players tire.

I could go on but you'd have me for plaigerism.

Edited by RayCee
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Widnes fans are protesting the way the club's being run so that is what it is.  Salford and Hudds are poorly supported and always have been.  Otherwise nothing's particularly different.  Hopefully freshening up the league next year will help.  Id like to see TWP replace Widnes or Salford at least.

Edited by Tre Cool

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2 hours ago, Tre Cool said:

Widnes fans are protesting the way the club's being run so that is what it is.  Salford and Hudds are poorly supported and always have been.  Otherwise nothing's particularly different.  Hopefully freshening up the league next year will help.  Id like to see TWP replace Widnes or Salford at least.

I'm not so sure. It seems Wigan's core attendances are well down on a few years ago. That's the one I've really noticed. You could usually guarantee a very healthy five figure gate regardless of the opposition. Now some of those games only just top 10-11k.

Edited by Scubby

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6 hours ago, Scubby said:

I'm not so sure. It seems Wigan's core attendances are well down on a few years ago. That's the one I've really noticed. You could usually guarantee a very healthy five figure gate regardless of the opposition. Now some of those games only just top 10-11k.

and then even some of the traditional derbies are down on crowd numbers too. Doesn’t help that they are likely to play each other four times or more a season.

There is very little that is exclusive about RL at the moment, which RU demonstrates, is even more important than the entertainment dished up.

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I noticed Fevtom had some attendance figures for the last several years which differ from mine but not by that much. Anyway, I've got attendances so far down 3.9% in total including MWE in the total average. The figures below compare the whole of 2017 with the season so far in 2018.

1 Leeds 14,207 -3.4% 

2 Saints 12,057 +10.1%

3 Hull FC 11,774 +3.5%

4 Wigan 11,272 -17.7%

5 Warrington 10,474 +3.0%

6 Hull KR 8,179 n/a

7 Catalan 7,968 -7.5%

8 Castleford 7,804 -11.1%

9 Huddersfield 5,450 -7.2%

10 Wakefield 5,445 +3.3%

11 Widnes 5,220 -6.6%

12 Salford 3,163 -19.0%

Total Av 8,505 -3.9%

Only four are up although H KR is up on last year and the team it replaced. It's higher than 2014, which was a low year. Then 2003 for the next lowest year. Then before that year they were much lower. 

Wigan and Salford are especially poor. With Wigan, a good local derby attendance and they could pull things back but Salford? The writing's on the wall there. 

If Salford's figures were replaced by a team averaging 10,000 per game (ie Toronto), then the average would be up 2.7% on 2017. 

Edited by RayCee

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