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Cheap tickets and empty stadiums


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6 hours ago, Mattrhino said:

 

What a load of tosh,  I bet there were a lot of these types of posts before about Catalan when they were joining the SL. 

They were getting about 2k attendance way way behind USAP and now they have taken over as the biggest rugby club in the city. 

USAP averaged 11,000 in a relegation season last year. What makes you think Catalans are bigger than them? Serious question btw. 

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51 minutes ago, Eddie said:

USAP averaged 11,000 in a relegation season last year. What makes you think Catalans are bigger than them? Serious question btw. 

It was not that they are as big as them. It was that in 2005 (before Catalans joined SL) they were averaging under 1000 and USAP were averaging over 10,000. Now in 2019, they average 9-10,000 - more than USAP (who are in a lower division). USAP may be bigger but Catalans are now big from a zero start.

We don't know what Toulouse's potential is but they currently average double what Catalans did in 2005. What can you not see about this?

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Just now, Scubby said:

It was not that they are as big as them. It was that in 2005 (before Catalans joined SL) they were averaging under 1000 and USAP were averaging over 10,000. Now in 2019, they average 9-10,000 - more than USAP (who are in a lower division). USAP may be bigger but Catalans are now big from a zero start.

We don't know what Toulouse's potential is but they currently average double what Catalans did in 2005. What can you not see about this?

Their crowds should grow if they get in to SL, but a disappointing 1,100 crowd against York last week.

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15 hours ago, DOGFATHER said:

Ooh hark at you! In your opinion, it isn't farcical that a team that finishes 5th could be champions, I wholeheartedly disagree with you. 

Australia has a play-off system due to not playing every team home and away. They play less games with generally much more strength in depth than we have here. Our playoffs have been invariably won by the team carrying less injuries than the rest, a war of attrition rather than the best side over the season.

The old playoffs were a standalone knockout cup, not the same thing at all.

I agree about too many games. I agree that like in the NRL (and the ARL & NFL) the fixtures are uneven.

But the FACT is the RFL have always had an end of season playoff which favours the higher positioned teams. The winner always got the big prize and kudos. All just as now. 

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5 hours ago, Celt said:

one caveat about TWP:  they are only one multi-millionaire's mood swing away from being another Celtic Crusaders. 

You could apply the same caveat to most heartland clubs. Derek Beaumont's dummy spit is only 12 months ago, whilst fans of Huddersfield and Hull KR should probably be hopeful that their owners look both ways before crossing the street. 

When so few clubs can stand on their own two feet financially, geography doesn't really come into it if those clubs can't find another owner willing to underwrite the losses. 

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17 hours ago, JonM said:

The fact that the play-offs get significantly worse attendances than regular season games. Hard to position a play-off game as a vital must-watch for Sky when the attendance is less than half what the same game would get in the regular season.

We see time and time again that fixtures arranged with 5 or 6 days notice cause problems in attending for a significant number of fans. Personally, I like the top five format (although the system for determining who plays at home is broken IMO.) But you have to accept that it's a loser when it comes to gate money and how it looks on tv.

Its not a weeks notice.  The fixture dates are set up at the start of the season.  The week by week evolution of the competition is clear for all to see.    What is wrong is that the biggest games of the whole season are shunted off to Thursday and Friday night's instead of weekend afternoons.   Those clubs that play in football stadiums might struggle to conform to that however. (although the Latics did win at home on Sat. even though the Warriors played on Fri.  !)

Without a doubt there is a definite sense of deja vue all over again with the same 3 or 4 clubs at the top.  But increasingly the fans themselves are turning their backs on Rugby League irrespective if how hard the clubs try.

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37 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

Its not a weeks notice. The fixture dates are set up at the start of the season.  

It is less than a week's notice. The fact that Warrington would be playing at home to Castleford on Thursday evening was decided as a result of both team's results in the final round of regular season's fixtures before.

Fans can not simply book time off work from Thursday through to Sunday on a particular week when the fixtures are set up at the start of the season, on the off-chance that their team makes a particular play-off game. They can't (or won't) cancel any other plans they have for those four days on the off-chance, or arrange childcare for all possible dates when a game might be played. In my case, where it's a 400 mile round trip, I can't (or won't) book a hotel for both Thursday and Friday evening in all towns where there is a club on the chance that there might be a play-off happening.  For regular season games, the dates are known well in advance and people can arrange to be there.

Not saying everyone is in this situation, but it's pretty obvious that a reasonable proportion of fans do have problems attending play-off games and cup games, and I don't think "can't be arsed" is the explanation. 

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2 hours ago, Scubby said:

It was not that they are as big as them. It was that in 2005 (before Catalans joined SL) they were averaging under 1000 and USAP were averaging over 10,000. Now in 2019, they average 9-10,000 - more than USAP (who are in a lower division). USAP may be bigger but Catalans are now big from a zero start.

We don't know what Toulouse's potential is but they currently average double what Catalans did in 2005. What can you not see about this?

You said the Dragons are the biggest rugby club in the city, hence me asking why you thought that, and now you’re saying they’re not?

Anyway as I have continually said, RL is the third (if not lower) sport in Tolouse, who also have a Ligue 1 team. There is absolutely no reason other than daydreaming to think they will ever get 10,000 crowds, there is no history of them and the current crowds are pathetic despite them being contenders at the top of the championship. Using your Catalans argument you could say that about establishing a team in any city in the world, such as Liverpool where it will definitely never happen either.

I’d love to see a Tolouse team in a 14 or 16 team SL averaging 10,000 (along with all the other teams) but there is zero reason to think it will happen any time soon.

 

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Toulouse has a treizist history and a lot of positive points. First of all, the candidacy of Toulouse is not based on the will or project of a patron but of a team that is linked with the oval table (a club of 600 partners). This project does not date from today and it is now supported by the whole French treizist community. Toulouse  is in the center of a Treizist region (Villeneuve, Saint Gaudens, Albi, Carcassonne etc). If we compare the candidacies of Toulouse and Toronto: a traditional club scheme and the other that looks more like a NRL franchise project or American sports. Toulouse has a public potential at least equal to Toronto.

www.fcl13.fr FCL XIII - Lezignan Corbieres Rugby League

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The season isn't over until the final. So Castleford didn't "finish" in 5th, they qualified for the 5th playoff spot. 

If the regular season standings were what determined the winner, clubs would play differently. So you can't just say if it weren't for playoffs a certain team "would have" won.

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10 minutes ago, TheReaper said:

The season isn't over until the final. So Castleford didn't "finish" in 5th, they qualified for the 5th playoff spot. 

If the regular season standings were what determined the winner, clubs would play differently. So you can't just say if it weren't for playoffs a certain team "would have" won.

To be fair Saints would have won regardless. 

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1 hour ago, JonM said:

It is less than a week's notice. The fact that Warrington would be playing at home to Castleford on Thursday evening was decided as a result of both team's results in the final round of regular season's fixtures before.

Fans can not simply book time off work from Thursday through to Sunday on a particular week when the fixtures are set up at the start of the season, on the off-chance that their team makes a particular play-off game. They can't (or won't) cancel any other plans they have for those four days on the off-chance, or arrange childcare for all possible dates when a game might be played. In my case, where it's a 400 mile round trip, I can't (or won't) book a hotel for both Thursday and Friday evening in all towns where there is a club on the chance that there might be a play-off happening.  For regular season games, the dates are known well in advance and people can arrange to be there.

Not saying everyone is in this situation, but it's pretty obvious that a reasonable proportion of fans do have problems attending play-off games and cup games, and I don't think "can't be arsed" is the explanation. 

Thursdays are terrible. So frankly are Fridays.  I regularly say so.  But the dates... and the selection options ... are selected at the start of the season. Any fan with aspirations knows that. There seems little excuse for that.  Are we to suggest Salford fans will not turn up on Thursday or Wigan fans will not go over Billinge Hill on Friday?

32000 watched an Aussie play off game.  Explain why British fans are so much dimmer and less interested than Aussie ones? 

I live hundreds of miles away and back, I'm a pensioner, I do have a pension but modest means. Travel is usually out of the question. I cannot legislate for these timetables but many thousands do live locally.  What I will say is this ...  I sometimes buy a day pass on NOW TV, and so this must impact on attendances if others do the same.  It's worth noting that I bought a special deal covering the 2 months of the Ashes and so benefited from watching RL.  The NOW packages strike me as an issue for RL.

The ashes BTW obviously had it's ups and downs, but the grounds were packed... because people were interested.  Compare that with gates in our last NZ internationals.

Let's stop moaning about the playoffs, we in British RL have deeper issues than that.

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8 hours ago, Mr Wind Up said:

You do realize they play in a 27k MLS stadium? When LAC move to the new stadium, it'll skyrocket to 60-70,000. 

That's not how it works. 

Cities and countries have way too many variables to say 'if this place from here gets this then this place here should get this'. It's poor use of reasoning. 

RU and football are rooted in Toulouse. If they're getting in the mid teens, there's very little chance an RL team or any other team of any sport is going to consistently pull above 10k. They might get over 10k for a French derby, or an occasional marquee game, but there is not some pent up demand for sport in Toulouse that the existing professional teams aren't meeting if that's what you think. 

In that case, then in Toulouse just as in London, Manchester and other big English cities for RL to crack those markets it needs a way to break through that dominance of other sports and a steady diet of opponents from other big cities on both sides of the Atlantic in an outside-the-box new league might be the one possible way of doing that.

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23 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

Thursdays are terrible. So frankly are Fridays.  I regularly say so.  But the dates... and the selection options ... are selected at the start of the season. Any fan with aspirations knows that. There seems little excuse for that.  Are we to suggest Salford fans will not turn up on Thursday or Wigan fans will not go over Billinge Hill on Friday?

Some will attend, others won't. Any Salford fans who have a job which requires them to work on Thursday evening, or who have children to look after, or any other kind of commitment that they can't get out of at a few days notice won't go. And that's why no-one should act surprised that play-off games get a smaller crowd than regular season games. It's not that people don't like the concept of play-offs, or can't be bothered, or it's too expensive. It's simply that for some proportion of fans, it becomes not possible to attend. People don't spend a couple of hundred quid on a season ticket, turn up every couple of weeks and then overnight lose interest when it comes to deciding who makes the grand final.

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13 minutes ago, JonM said:

Some will attend, others won't. Any Salford fans who have a job which requires them to work on Thursday evening, or who have children to look after, or any other kind of commitment that they can't get out of at a few days notice won't go. And that's why no-one should act surprised that play-off games get a smaller crowd than regular season games. It's not that people don't like the concept of play-offs, or can't be bothered, or it's too expensive. It's simply that for some proportion of fans, it becomes not possible to attend. People don't spend a couple of hundred quid on a season ticket, turn up every couple of weeks and then overnight lose interest when it comes to deciding who makes the grand final.

Oh come on, this is beyond desperate.  We may as well close down the game and this blog at this rate.  

Thursday and to some extent Friday are separate issues.  Nothing to do with  playoffs.  

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1 hour ago, Eddie said:

You said the Dragons are the biggest rugby club in the city, hence me asking why you thought that, and now you’re saying they’re not?

Anyway as I have continually said, RL is the third (if not lower) sport in Tolouse, who also have a Ligue 1 team. There is absolutely no reason other than daydreaming to think they will ever get 10,000 crowds, there is no history of them and the current crowds are pathetic despite them being contenders at the top of the championship. Using your Catalans argument you could say that about establishing a team in any city in the world, such as Liverpool where it will definitely never happen either.

I’d love to see a Tolouse team in a 14 or 16 team SL averaging 10,000 (along with all the other teams) but there is zero reason to think it will happen any time soon.

 

Apart from the case study 120 miles west of Tolouse several of us have stated. They managed to get 6,100 fans for a game this season. 

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Things we know that affects crowds:

1 - Thursday fixtures. Wire v Cas earlier in the year got 9.3k, the 2nd lowest of the season, although interestingly it was higher than last year when we met on a Friday.

2 - All-pay games - our two other all-pay games this year (outside of semis and finals) saw us get 7k at home to Wigan on a Saturday afternoon, and 3.3k at Hull KR on a Friday night. Massively down on where they would be with season tickets (down by 6k and 4k respectively).

3 - Poor form - neither of these teams went into this with a spring in their step. Wire had 1 league win in the lost 9th, bombing 2nd place and stumbling into 4th. In their last 18 games Cas had a win ratio of 44% and again rather stumbled into that 5th place with the help of a Hull team who blew it. Alternatively look at what the positivity can do for a team like Salford where they can take 2k to Wigan as they have a real positive vibe about them and a touch of momentum.

4 - TV coverage - probably a bit less of an issue on its own, but when coupled with the above, it is much easier for fans to just sit at home and watch it or enjoy the match in the pub.

I think at Warrington last Thursday we just ended up with a bit of a perfect storm, and I think there are a couple of other factors like we have damaged the playoff concept by moving to 8 when we did, but that is more subjective. It is all well and good people trying to win arguments on the internet making out some of these things are not an issue, the evidence is right there, the empty seats. Last week we had around 5k Wire fans and 7k Wigan fans going to these games. We can't just keep ignoring it and then being surprised every year! But, this is what we have done with the Challenge Cup, so there is no reason to believe we will do anything with this.

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9 hours ago, Celt said:

I agree with most of your post.  I would love to see both clubs in the League to be honest, but one caveat about TWP:  they are only one multi-millionaire's mood swing away from being another Celtic Crusaders.  There is virtually no infrastructure to the sport in Canada backing up this pro team..  Unplug the money man, and they would be gone - leaving the Super League looking very stupid, and the image of the game ruined.

 

Toronto seem to have more backers and sponsors than most.

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1 hour ago, Mattrhino said:

Apart from the case study 120 miles west of Tolouse several of us have stated. They managed to get 6,100 fans for a game this season. 

And none of them went back. How many were free tickets, hospitality etc  

Also what’s happened in Perpignan is no indication of what might happen in Tolouse as they are completely different cities with different sporting cultures; you might as well say London Broncos will soon be getting 12,000 crowds because York have multiplied theirs by 6 in a short period of time - the comparison is meaningless at best. 

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10 hours ago, Celt said:

I agree with most of your post.  I would love to see both clubs in the League to be honest, but one caveat about TWP:  they are only one multi-millionaire's mood swing away from being another Celtic Crusaders.  There is virtually no infrastructure to the sport in Canada backing up this pro team..  Unplug the money man, and they would be gone - leaving the Super League looking very stupid, and the image of the game ruined.

 

I do agree that this is a risk, but tbh I've made the point before that I think the impact of that is overstated. If TWP ended up going bust and leaving the league, I'm not sure how much damage it'd do to the brand. Sports clubs come and go - even in football look at the likes of Bury and Bolton in recent weeks.

I think people accept that the sporting world us volatile, investors can come and go and that can leave some clubs in trouble - but it certainly won't ruin the image of the game. Personally my view is enjoy the ride, and even if the worst comes to the worst then it was worth a go and we had some fun while it lasted. In the best case it leads to genuine growth and expansion and further investment from the region.

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

Things we know that affects crowds:

1 - Thursday fixtures. Wire v Cas earlier in the year got 9.3k, the 2nd lowest of the season, although interestingly it was higher than last year when we met on a Friday.

2 - All-pay games - our two other all-pay games this year (outside of semis and finals) saw us get 7k at home to Wigan on a Saturday afternoon, and 3.3k at Hull KR on a Friday night. Massively down on where they would be with season tickets (down by 6k and 4k respectively).

3 - Poor form - neither of these teams went into this with a spring in their step. Wire had 1 league win in the lost 9th, bombing 2nd place and stumbling into 4th. In their last 18 games Cas had a win ratio of 44% and again rather stumbled into that 5th place with the help of a Hull team who blew it. Alternatively look at what the positivity can do for a team like Salford where they can take 2k to Wigan as they have a real positive vibe about them and a touch of momentum.

4 - TV coverage - probably a bit less of an issue on its own, but when coupled with the above, it is much easier for fans to just sit at home and watch it or enjoy the match in the pub.

I think at Warrington last Thursday we just ended up with a bit of a perfect storm, and I think there are a couple of other factors like we have damaged the playoff concept by moving to 8 when we did, but that is more subjective. It is all well and good people trying to win arguments on the internet making out some of these things are not an issue, the evidence is right there, the empty seats. Last week we had around 5k Wire fans and 7k Wigan fans going to these games. We can't just keep ignoring it and then being surprised every year! But, this is what we have done with the Challenge Cup, so there is no reason to believe we will do anything with this.

Saturation too. For a 12 team league, playing nearly 30 games is far too many. More games make each game less meaningful.

“Every minute matters” they said...more games are added making every minute matter less. 

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On 22/09/2019 at 00:43, DOGFATHER said:

Why not just do away with the playoff system altogether?

Fans don't/won't pay to watch the playoff games other than the final, which is the biggest indicator that it isn't as popular as some seem to think it is. We already have 27 games in the regular season, too many in some people's eyes.

If we must have an end of season showpiece to appease Sky, why not cut to the chase and just have a Final, the LLS Winners v the Challenge Cup Winners, a Champions Cup game instead? It might even bring a bit more interest to the flagging CC.

At least that would get round the farcical issue of a team potentially finishing 5 and being crowned as Champions, invariably on the basis they have less battered bodies at the end of the season than their opponents.

 

You don’t get rid of your biggest game which is the Super League Grand final. It’s the one game that works. What you need to do is address the others.

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35 minutes ago, DC77 said:

Saturation too. For a 12 team league, playing nearly 30 games is far too many. More games make each game less meaningful.

“Every minute matters” they said...more games are added making every minute matter less. 

I could not agree more.  Less games + more teams is the winning combination.

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4 hours ago, Dave T said:

Things we know that affects crowds:

1 - Thursday fixtures. Wire v Cas earlier in the year got 9.3k, the 2nd lowest of the season, although interestingly it was higher than last year when we met on a Friday.

2 - All-pay games - our two other all-pay games this year (outside of semis and finals) saw us get 7k at home to Wigan on a Saturday afternoon, and 3.3k at Hull KR on a Friday night. Massively down on where they would be with season tickets (down by 6k and 4k respectively).

3 - Poor form - neither of these teams went into this with a spring in their step. Wire had 1 league win in the lost 9th, bombing 2nd place and stumbling into 4th. In their last 18 games Cas had a win ratio of 44% and again rather stumbled into that 5th place with the help of a Hull team who blew it. Alternatively look at what the positivity can do for a team like Salford where they can take 2k to Wigan as they have a real positive vibe about them and a touch of momentum.

4 - TV coverage - probably a bit less of an issue on its own, but when coupled with the above, it is much easier for fans to just sit at home and watch it or enjoy the match in the pub.

I think at Warrington last Thursday we just ended up with a bit of a perfect storm, and I think there are a couple of other factors like we have damaged the playoff concept by moving to 8 when we did, but that is more subjective. It is all well and good people trying to win arguments on the internet making out some of these things are not an issue, the evidence is right there, the empty seats. Last week we had around 5k Wire fans and 7k Wigan fans going to these games. We can't just keep ignoring it and then being surprised every year! But, this is what we have done with the Challenge Cup, so there is no reason to believe we will do anything with this.

I'd agree, but there are factors that the game has the power to address and doesn't, whilst at the same time complaining disproportionately about the things that it can't control. 

Thursday nights are neither a new thing, nor a thing that is going to go away any time soon. Sky like them, Sky like bums on sofas and they pay us to provide the content that puts said bums on said sofas. One of the few things that Elstone said in his interviews last week that was right is that if we are going to have Thursday nights, we need to embrace them and 'own' the concept - rather than waste any more energy complaining about them. Other sports have done this. 

As for the all-pay argument, the game needs to decide how it is positioning the play-offs. If we are trying to market a product to an audience that doesn't want to buy it, we need work harder to make it something that they do want to buy. If we are trying to market a product to an audience that can't afford to buy it, then the marketing strategy is wrong.

The argument around season tickets being included seems an obvious one, but it's arguably the thin end of a wedge. The more you put into the season ticket package, the more you increase the clubs' reliance on the season ticket and the harder you make it to sell the next 'all pay' event. We just end up devaluing the sport even more. 

There is so much that the sport needs to do to both understand why fans don't value the play-offs and to address that. Elstone himself described a 'fixture fatigue' and I would wager that is a much bigger factor than any other on that list. But the clubs refuse to address that. There are other issues that require much longer-term solutions but for now, let's fix what we can fix. 

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