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Why are Salford’s attendances always so poor?


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3 hours ago, headtackle said:

None of their mates know what RL is so all discussion revolves around the Prem or Fifa. It is a big issue for our game

There's no one simple answer to "why <insert club>'s attendances are poor" but I think the bit bolded possibly sums up part of the problem - and why such a question may even be the wrong question to ask. 

As a sport we seem to have this idea that a fan is only worth anything if they're buying a ticket and something from the club shop. As a result, everything that clubs have done has generally been focused on the short-term goal of selling tickets - almost at any cost. We have clubs that have, for example, massively damaged and undersold themselves through mass discounting - and it's almost impossible for them to reverse those discounts once you've got people addicted to those cheap prices. 

What RL has been much slower at doing than other sports is stepping back from that mentality, looking at what modern sports "consumption" looks like and how the sport can capitalise on it. Not everyone can or even wants to stand on the terraces on a Sunday afternoon - especially in the middle of an amber weather warning in February. Not every kid wearing an Aguero, Messi or Ronaldo shirt has ever been to a top-flight football match - they just play those characters on FIFA. 

People want to consume sport on their terms, and RL hasn't understood that particuarly well. 

The obsession with ticket sales also plays to the sport's biggest weakness in this country - that's it's actually really hard to "buy" RL unless you live in a very specific part of the country. There may well be people outside that small geographic region that could be tempted to buy into quality RL, yet there is a culture in the sport that seems to look through the nose at those people and sees them as less "worthy", and it needs to change. 

Because what RL ultimately is is a form of entertainment - a form of content or a form of media. We can't keep seeing people watching games on TV as inferior or less important to those in the ground, or people looking for RL on YouTube as less valuable to those playing on a Sunday morning. They're all audiences that want RL content. 

But look around at most clubs and what they're doing on platforms like YouTube and whatever other social media platform you care to look at, and it usually ranges from dated and piecemeal, to above-average at best. 

The stuff that people like Lee Hicken is doing is excellent but it is very much a long-term issue to correct not only how clubs and SL addresses the fact that people consume sport differently in 2020, but also the image of these clubs and the sport. If we are going to fix anything then, in the age of Instagram, we have to make the sport fashionable. 

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1 hour ago, aj1908 said:

As a summer sport lesgue should be able to find it's niche.  I'll never understand why more soccer fans can't have a rugby league club as their second team 

In Sydney this is common across sports 

Actually a lot of soccer fans do have a favourite team in another sport, just not RL. In my youth I used to watch Essex play in the 40 over Sunday league cricket,  BTW a great tournament,  the number of West Ham fans there were astonishing . At The Oval it was Crystal Palace and Chelsea fans. At Headingley there were plenty of Leeds United fans etc. Today at Test and ODI matches you see soccer club banners, such as Manchester United barmy army. Cricket got there first for footy fans , of course copious booze consumption makes the cricket more appealing. 

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When I was a young kid and started following the game Swinton was a big club and to a lesser extent so were salford. Manchester used to have an healthy rl following and those two clubs had better combined gates than the hull clubs as far as I remember. Man utd and man city were also massive football clubs back then as they are now.  When someone can work out what caused the drift away from the sport and then how to reverse it will be a massive turning point in our game. Sadly I don't believe anyone will ever find the solution

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5 minutes ago, HawkMan said:

Actually a lot of soccer fans do have a favourite team in another sport, just not RL. In my youth I used to watch Essex play in the 40 over Sunday league cricket,  BTW a great tournament,  the number of West Ham fans there were astonishing . At The Oval it was Crystal Palace and Chelsea fans. At Headingley there were plenty of Leeds United fans etc. Today at Test and ODI matches you see soccer club banners, such as Manchester United barmy army. Cricket got there first for footy fans , of course copious booze consumption makes the cricket more appealing. 

I was thinking different football clubs.

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Any area struggling with lack of awareness of RL will have to build it from the grass roots. Can`t see it ever happening top-down. One option is a big push for Tag RL. Because of the strong contact element, Tackle RL will never be a mass participation sport, but Tag could be. It can be played by people of all ages and all abilities, and gives an understanding of the game`s basics- PTBs, dummy-half, markers,6-play limited possession etc. If every pro club had an extensive Tag league operating under its aegis each player, and their circle of family and friends, would be potential fans. Many would be new to RL, having never previously paid attention to the Tackle game. The Auckland RL with Kiwitag  have belatedly realised the value of Tag and many junior clubs in NSW have more players, members and volunteers through Tag. One club chairman in Western NSW said that without the influx of new people from LLT (Ladies League Tag), the club would have folded. Here, I wish it would be called Tag Rugby League rather than Tag Rugby. It might seem pedantic but when you see pictures of Tag players in the South they`re all wearing RU jumpers. They appear to feel no connection with RL despite regularly playing a non-contact version of it. Why aren`t the Broncos across this? And in Ireland you wonder if the thousands of Tag players have even heard of Rugby League.

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8 hours ago, TboneFromTO said:

I did some wrong math(was using this year's numbers dividing by the whole season which isn't done yet) but last year their average attendance was 6.6k ish.  The lowest of their league.  While it is more then srd I wouldnt say they are good numbers.  The stadium is hard to get to and is absolutely a deterrent for more audiences.  Casual fans may even be less inclined to go because it's poor public transport links.  These are all things businesses have to worry about

It's faster to get to st Helens, Wigan and Warringtons grounds from central Manchester (Piccadilly gardens) for example then the ajbell. (Less transfers/walking too) why would someone who wants to check the sport out go all the way to the AJ Bell when time wise the other three options are quicker?

I mean their promotional game isn't great and they could benefit from direct marketing but as a sports fan, given the choice is go somewhere else that's faster/easier to get to

 

It's quicker to get to Huddersfield's ground from Manchester than Salford too !!

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16 hours ago, Hela Wigmen said:

I don’t get where this thread has come from, if I’m honest. 

Salford played Huddersfield on Friday night. It happened to be Valentines Day, the game was televised for Sky Sports and Storm Dennis was starting to take full swing. The crowd was 3,350. 

Rewind six months ago, almost to the day and Salford hosted Huddersfield at the AJ Bell. It was a 3pm kick-off on a Sunday, the weather was good and Salford were on a good run. They attendance was 2,750. 

Salford have shown a 22% increase on last year’s game against the same opposition. Rather than slag them off because they might not have a five figure crowd, let’s congratulate them as a club for such an increase in such a short time and long may it continue for them. 

Also the Huddersfield support was up 224 from the previous game too, not a massive hike but shows that this game attracted more Salford and Huddersfield fans compared to the last time they met so there is positivies in what was seen as a poor crowd

 

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38 minutes ago, daz39 said:

Also the Huddersfield support was up 224 from the previous game too, not a massive hike but shows that this game attracted more Salford and Huddersfield fans compared to the last time they met so there is positivies in what was seen as a poor crowd

 

Shhh Daz, don’t you know this forum is all about slagging the sport off?

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54 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Any area struggling with lack of awareness of RL will have to build it from the grass roots. Can`t see it ever happening top-down. One option is a big push for Tag RL. Because of the strong contact element, Tackle RL will never be a mass participation sport, but Tag could be. It can be played by people of all ages and all abilities

There are some sports (boxing, wrestling, for example) where most spectators have never participated, but most people who watch football or cricket, or RU have played it and understand what's going on to some extent. I'd guess most (but not all) people who watch RL played as a kid. We've missed the boat and are still missing the boat in terms of getting people playing some version of RL - and that affects the whole sport. 

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2 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Because what RL ultimately is is a form of entertainment - a form of content or a form of media. We can't keep seeing people watching games on TV as inferior or less important to those in the ground, or people looking for RL on YouTube as less valuable to those playing on a Sunday morning. They're all audiences that want RL content. 

Excellent post. I never understand why people say we'd be doomed without Sky. Sky are not a charity, they're a profit-making business who recognise that people pay to watch RL games on tv. They channel some of that money from subscriptions and in-program advertising into our clubs. TV ratings and subscriber numbers are (long-term) as important as gate figures. 

I pay £50 per year to be able to watch all my club's first and reserve team home and away games online, a couple of days after the game was played. That's only the price of entry to two matches, but it's almost pure profit as the content already exists - no stadium to hire, no stewards to pay or anything like that. My brother and father almost never watch live games due to distance, but have stumped up £50 each too. I suppose the next step is to start selling advertising/sponsorship on those internet replays, too.

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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Any area struggling with lack of awareness of RL will have to build it from the grass roots. Can`t see it ever happening top-down. One option is a big push for Tag RL. Because of the strong contact element, Tackle RL will never be a mass participation sport, but Tag could be. It can be played by people of all ages and all abilities, and gives an understanding of the game`s basics- PTBs, dummy-half, markers,6-play limited possession etc. If every pro club had an extensive Tag league operating under its aegis each player, and their circle of family and friends, would be potential fans. Many would be new to RL, having never previously paid attention to the Tackle game. The Auckland RL with Kiwitag  have belatedly realised the value of Tag and many junior clubs in NSW have more players, members and volunteers through Tag. One club chairman in Western NSW said that without the influx of new people from LLT (Ladies League Tag), the club would have folded. Here, I wish it would be called Tag Rugby League rather than Tag Rugby. It might seem pedantic but when you see pictures of Tag players in the South they`re all wearing RU jumpers. They appear to feel no connection with RL despite regularly playing a non-contact version of it. Why aren`t the Broncos across this? And in Ireland you wonder if the thousands of Tag players have even heard of Rugby League.

This could be a growth area.

The RFL could work with pro clubs and community clubs and set up tag leagues across the country. The community clubs could enter teams and local businesses/companies. They could even reach out to union and football teams and invite them to enter teams. Men's, women's, mixed and youth teams could all have their own leagues. 

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4 hours ago, aj1908 said:

As a summer sport lesgue should be able to find it's niche.  I'll never understand why more soccer fans can't have a rugby league club as their second team 

In Sydney this is common across sports 

Football is starting earlier and earlier these days. Most football fans only have to wait a few weeks before their team is into pre season friendlies then off again. Not enough time without football for them to start getting bored and looking elsewhere

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1 minute ago, headtackle said:

Football is starting earlier and earlier these days. Most football fans only have to wait a few weeks before their team is into pre season friendlies then off again. Not enough time without football for them to start getting bored and looking elsewhere

Plus there’s the WC and Euros every other year. There is basically about 4 months in every 4 year cycle where there’s no football. 

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16 hours ago, aj1908 said:

Toronto don't have these problems attracting new fans 

Apples and pears.

Toronto is a completely different beast to Salford.

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3 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Any area struggling with lack of awareness of RL will have to build it from the grass roots. Can`t see it ever happening top-down. One option is a big push for Tag RL. Because of the strong contact element, Tackle RL will never be a mass participation sport, but Tag could be. It can be played by people of all ages and all abilities, and gives an understanding of the game`s basics- PTBs, dummy-half, markers,6-play limited possession etc. If every pro club had an extensive Tag league operating under its aegis each player, and their circle of family and friends, would be potential fans. Many would be new to RL, having never previously paid attention to the Tackle game. The Auckland RL with Kiwitag  have belatedly realised the value of Tag and many junior clubs in NSW have more players, members and volunteers through Tag. One club chairman in Western NSW said that without the influx of new people from LLT (Ladies League Tag), the club would have folded. Here, I wish it would be called Tag Rugby League rather than Tag Rugby. It might seem pedantic but when you see pictures of Tag players in the South they`re all wearing RU jumpers. They appear to feel no connection with RL despite regularly playing a non-contact version of it. Why aren`t the Broncos across this? And in Ireland you wonder if the thousands of Tag players have even heard of Rugby League.

Wasn't tag rugby taken up by the RFU over here? So it counts in their participation numbers, etc. rather than being a League variant.

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15 hours ago, Loup said:

Maybe they should hand out free tickets. That's how you get people with zero knowledge of the sport along for a good day out. So next time, a few of them come back and if you're lucky, they bring their mates. Time after that, they start following the game and understanding the play.

I've brought complete non-fans who'd never seen a game of rugby of either code to Lamport to watch the Wolfpack. I promise them a great day out and lots of beer. Over a couple of seasons, four have converted to season ticket holders and about six more come out fairly regularly. Toronto has gone from zero fans to a steady 7000-8000 in three years, with 10000 at the last MPG. Most had no clue about rugby league back in 2017.

Wolfpack had 50+ at Castleford. Last game of the 2019 season @Bradford, there were 200. You diminish your argument with silly digs.

Did they not have better crowds at the willows

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55 minutes ago, Celt said:

Great post... adds a lot to the thread.

I said "almost" the only source of civic pride.

Actually, you said "basically the only source of civic pride..." But, by all means, make it up as you go along.

I'd have thought the presence in Salford of a Football League club (owned by a bunch of multi-millionaires) is likely to have an effect on the rugby league club's ability to attract spectators. Or is that too obvious for you?

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11 hours ago, fieldofclothofgold said:

What are acceptable average attendances in RL anyway? . I think the thing with Salford are similar to Huddersfield.  Both clubs used to have good fan bases and used to win things ,but then we t through too long a time out of the limelight and lost a generation of fans 

Huddersfield lost more than a generation, it's 60 years since we were anything like successful, and had to build back up from almost scratch.

For 20 years, we hadn't been anywhere near the top flight, we struggled to just keep going for a lot of those years, never mind be a half decent top flight club,  there's no comparison really with any other established SL club, they were all more or less established top flight clubs for the majority of the last 50 years.

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