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Eddie

Wigan’s Attendances

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Does anyone know why Wigan’s attendances have dropped so alarmingly over the last few years, from over 17,000 in 2011 to not much more than 11,000 now? I’ve always seen Wigan as the biggest club but if this trend continues they won’t be for long - is there anything they can do about it or is the decline terminal?

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5 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Does anyone know why Wigan’s attendances have dropped so alarmingly over the last few years, from over 17,000 in 2011 to not much more than 11,000 now? I’ve always seen Wigan as the biggest club but if this trend continues they won’t be for long - is there anything they can do about it or is the decline terminal?

Very similar to my own club tbh, past decade littered with success but also decline in crowds. Part of it is related to the sports overall popularity but part must be down to the on field and in stadium experience. Wigan were winning but were dour and the stadium doesn't help imo. 

The decline in average crowds for the whole league can basically be attributed to Leeds and Wigan losing 4-6k off their totals, rather than any difference between promoted and relegated sides. I don't know if this is the same for Wigan but Leeds' visibility in the city has massively declined in the past decade imo. Despite the success we've basically retreated to Headingley. Seems that the club didn't think it had to try hard and just show off the trophies and the crowds will come - as I say I don't know if Wigan are the same but it wouldn't surprise me if it was a similar tale.

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35 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Does anyone know why Wigan’s attendances have dropped so alarmingly over the last few years, from over 17,000 in 2011 to not much more than 11,000 now? I’ve always seen Wigan as the biggest club but if this trend continues they won’t be for long - is there anything they can do about it or is the decline terminal?

   Yes.End the 8's and end Jeopardy.Everything will then improve.

https://www.wigantoday.net/sport/rugby-league/changing-structure-crucial-whole-rugby-league-says-wigan-warriors-owner-lenagan-700262

    It will,won't it?

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     No reserves,but resilience,persistence and determination are omnipotent.                       

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29 minutes ago, Angelic Cynic said:

   Yes.End the 8's and end Jeopardy.Everything will then improve.

https://www.wigantoday.net/sport/rugby-league/changing-structure-crucial-whole-rugby-league-says-wigan-warriors-owner-lenagan-700262

    It will,won't it?

I wonder what Mr Lenaghan thought last Thursday, because the attendance at the Toronto game looked poor.

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2 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

Very similar to my own club tbh, past decade littered with success but also decline in crowds. Part of it is related to the sports overall popularity but part must be down to the on field and in stadium experience. Wigan were winning but were dour and the stadium doesn't help imo. 

The decline in average crowds for the whole league can basically be attributed to Leeds and Wigan losing 4-6k off their totals, rather than any difference between promoted and relegated sides. I don't know if this is the same for Wigan but Leeds' visibility in the city has massively declined in the past decade imo. Despite the success we've basically retreated to Headingley. Seems that the club didn't think it had to try hard and just show off the trophies and the crowds will come - as I say I don't know if Wigan are the same but it wouldn't surprise me if it was a similar tale.

I agree with you about Leeds. I think they got lazy and took success for granted. I know different sport and popularity but if Leeds United has won what the Rhinos had they’d have had a parade through town every time.

With Wigan they had so much success in the 90s It probably got boring and despite success in the past decade, the style of play was heavily criticised 

Edited by Mr Plow
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1 hour ago, Eddie said:

Does anyone know why Wigan’s attendances have dropped so alarmingly over the last few years, from over 17,000 in 2011 to not much more than 11,000 now? I’ve always seen Wigan as the biggest club but if this trend continues they won’t be for long - is there anything they can do about it or is the decline terminal?

This might have something to do with it. From 2010;

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/rugby-league/wigan-warriors-tactics-defended-1939385.html

“Martin Sadler, a leading sports writer, has leapt to the defence of Wigan Warriors after criticism of their "wrestling" tactics which have taken them to the top of Super League.

Sadler feels that the Warriors should be getting credit for the way they have started the season but instead, the headlines are being dominated by negatives such as John Kear's comments before and after Wakefield's game against Michael Maguire's men on Easter Monday.

His remarks followed a similar complaint from Hull FC coach Richard Agar earlier in the season after his team had been beaten by Wigan but Sadler is convinced this is merely a case of "sour grapes."
 
He said: "A coach will adopt whatever tactics it takes to win the game. They are adopting wrestling techniques, straight from Melbourne, but they are able to do it because the referees are giving them the latitude to be able to do it. And while the referees are not forcing the tacklers to get away from the ruck more quickly then Wigan's tactics are going to be the right ones and the other clubs are going to be the wrong ones I'm afraid"

Sadler has also hit back at Kear's claim that watching Wigan is "like watching paint dry" and reckons the fans at the DW Stadium will have few complaints about what they are seeing this season.”

 

Introduced by Maguire, and continued by his assistant Shaun Wane, this dour, attritional Aussie style of play is alien to how rugby league was played in the UK. It made Wigan successful, at the expense of being entertaining, and the decline in attendances has coincided with this. I posit it is not a coincidence.

Boring rugby league may work in Australia, evidently it does, but not here. The English way of more free flowing, less structured, less rigid, more risk taking attacking running rugby is what generates most interest here...Castleford were the most recent example of this (although they still were a long way off to how teams generally used to play), the team to go see, but sadly the rigid, risk averse, five drives, grappling, attritional Aussie style of play has infiltrated the game here. 

The main issue I have is this attritional style of play makes it a lot harder for individuals to shine, to stand out and become stars. Stars entice new people to a sport. Watching games played in an era that made Offiah a star, it isn’t the same sport. He would not be afforded the space now to do what he did then. Those less structured, turnstile defences may have made it a lot easier for him to make those eye catching runs, but being more structured means he doesn’t make those runs, runs that got people off their seat. Being a much harder game to play and a less entertaining game to watch is not a quality. How this can be reversed I do not know. 

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4 minutes ago, DC77 said:

This might have something to do with it. From 2010;

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/rugby-league/wigan-warriors-tactics-defended-1939385.html

“Martin Sadler, a leading sports writer, has leapt to the defence of Wigan Warriors after criticism of their "wrestling" tactics which have taken them to the top of Super League.

Sadler feels that the Warriors should be getting credit for the way they have started the season but instead, the headlines are being dominated by negatives such as John Kear's comments before and after Wakefield's game against Michael Maguire's men on Easter Monday.

His remarks followed a similar complaint from Hull FC coach Richard Agar earlier in the season after his team had been beaten by Wigan but Sadler is convinced this is merely a case of "sour grapes."
 
He said: "A coach will adopt whatever tactics it takes to win the game. They are adopting wrestling techniques, straight from Melbourne, but they are able to do it because the referees are giving them the latitude to be able to do it. And while the referees are not forcing the tacklers to get away from the ruck more quickly then Wigan's tactics are going to be the right ones and the other clubs are going to be the wrong ones I'm afraid"

Sadler has also hit back at Kear's claim that watching Wigan is "like watching paint dry" and reckons the fans at the DW Stadium will have few complaints about what they are seeing this season.”

 

Introduced by Maguire, and continued by his assistant Shaun Wane, this dour, attritional Aussie style of play is alien to how rugby league was played in the UK. It made Wigan successful, at the expense of being entertaining, and the decline in attendances has coincided with this. I posit it is not a coincidence.

Boring rugby league may work in Australia, evidently it does, but not here. The English way of more free flowing, less structured, less rigid, more risk taking attacking running rugby is what generates most interest here...Castleford were the most recent example of this (although they still were a long way off to how teams generally used to play), the team to go see, but sadly the rigid, risk averse, five drives, grappling, attritional Aussie style of play has infiltrated the game here. 

The main issue I have is this attritional style of play makes it a lot harder for individuals to shine, to stand out and become stars. Stars entice new people to a sport. Watching games played in an era that made Offiah a star, it isn’t the same sport. He would not be afforded the space now to do what he did then. Those less structured, turnstile defences may have made it a lot easier for him to make those eye catching runs, but being more structured means he doesn’t make those runs, runs that got people off their seat. Being a much harder game to play and a less entertaining game to watch is not a quality. How this can be reversed I do not know. 

There is that, and what has just come to mind is that the stars Wigan have produced recently they have been quite willing to let go to the NRL. Keep selling your best players and you won't have happy fans!

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Bit more on Maguire (from 2011)

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2011/apr/22/michael-maguire-wigan-warriors

Wigan silent as rival coaches voice concern over tackles and tactics

“To rival Super League coaches, players and administrators Maguire remains a divisive figure because of the tactics, and, specifically, tackling techniques, that underpinned Wigan's rapid rise last season from the chasing pack to a first Grand Final win since 1998.

That situation has intensified since some tip sheets from the Australian's first season at Wigan began to circulate several weeks ago. The sheets, which have been seen by the Guardian, seem to confirm what most Super League coaches suspected, and several suggested – that the team's success was built on a hyper-aggressive attitude to defence that had never been seen in this country. Wigan accept that at least one tip sheet is in circulation but say that one version may have been doctored. Regardless, the tone, set at the top of the first page, simply reflects the attitude that drove Wigan to the dominant position they once took for granted: "Together we all HUNT like a pack of hungry dogs."

 

This may just be the most damaging individual to ever hit rugby league in the UK. 

Edited by DC77

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For the life of me, I can't work out why people describe Rugby League in Australia as dour and attritional. 

The NRL is wonderfully entertaining and skilful and packed with superstar players who can do remarkable things on a rugby pitch... I can't wait for the new season to start.

If the UK game or teams are dour it may be because they have copied the Australian defensive systems without investing in the creative play and ambition to open up those defences.

That is a shortcoming we need to take on the chin and do something about rather than blame the Australian style. 

I actually think the season has started over here with more emphasis on creative play and ball movement and the entertainment is better for it.

Edited by Dunbar
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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

 

The decline in average crowds for the whole league can basically be attributed to Leeds and Wigan losing 4-6k off their totals, rather than any difference between promoted and relegated sides. I don't know if this is the same for Wigan but Leeds' visibility in the city has massively declined in the past decade imo. Despite the success we've basically retreated to Headingley. Seems that the club didn't think it had to try hard and just show off the trophies and the crowds will come - as I say I don't know if Wigan are the same but it wouldn't surprise me if it was a similar tale.

Im not sure it’s strictly true that crowds in general have declined across the league in recent history. Take the last decade for example and the 2009 average was 8,864 compared to 8441 including a very low averaging London in 2019.

I’ve only got the stats for the last 20 years but there’s basically no change. It’s always between 8,000 - 10,000ish with no particular pattern.

I can’t comment on Leeds and Wigan specifically but i’m sure someone will be able to tell us. Have teams like Castleford, Cataland and Hull seen a bit if a rise maybe t offset Leeds and Wigan?

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I used to go to home games quite frequently but now I have unsociable hours at the office I work at in the office. Without wanting to sound like a glory hunter I can only make it to the big games now.

I imagine a lot of people albeit a small minority of the support will also have work commitments during unsociable days and hours, however I think the club should stick to Friday games, the crowds are still decent compared to other teams,

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33 minutes ago, DC77 said:

Bit more on Maguire (from 2011)

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2011/apr/22/michael-maguire-wigan-warriors

Wigan silent as rival coaches voice concern over tackles and tactics

“To rival Super League coaches, players and administrators Maguire remains a divisive figure because of the tactics, and, specifically, tackling techniques, that underpinned Wigan's rapid rise last season from the chasing pack to a first Grand Final win since 1998.

That situation has intensified since some tip sheets from the Australian's first season at Wigan began to circulate several weeks ago. The sheets, which have been seen by the Guardian, seem to confirm what most Super League coaches suspected, and several suggested – that the team's success was built on a hyper-aggressive attitude to defence that had never been seen in this country. Wigan accept that at least one tip sheet is in circulation but say that one version may have been doctored. Regardless, the tone, set at the top of the first page, simply reflects the attitude that drove Wigan to the dominant position they once took for granted: "Together we all HUNT like a pack of hungry dogs."

 

This may just be the most damaging individual to ever hit rugby league in the UK. 

Stop talking nonsense both in this post and your previous one. Wigan had very good attendances in this period and averaged over 16k in 2011 and 2012. Your attempts at looking for digs arent bourne out by facts.

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If you look back to Wigan’s successful years under Shaun Wane, for some of those years, they weren’t the best team to watch, they weren’t as exciting as others but were the most effective and could win big games. People like to be entertained, so this could have had some effect on it. 

Also, Wigan fans are blessed in some ways because their side are televised a fair amount, so they don’t actually miss anything because they can watch it on TV or even spend the equivalent of a ticket (£20-25, I assume) in a pub and that way, they stay warm, get food and/or drink if they want and get to see the game, with the added bonus of replays and discussion that you wouldn’t hear at a game (injury updates etc). 

People also didn’t, under the old structure, have as much to miss. Saints? Warrington? Missing one of those? Doesn’t matter, we’ll play them again in four weeks. That was certainly the way I felt, from the other side of the fence, when the old structure had us playing Wigan or Wire 3-4 times a year in the regular season. There was less and less of a big game feeling around them and losing or winning one started to feel different because of the familiarity of games between the three of us.  

Also, I’m not sure when it started or if it can be attributed to Wigan’s decline in attendees but they have a Wigan TV for something like £5.99 a month and you can watch full games a day or two after game. £5.99 a month or £20 a go to sit in a cold stadium? 

The relationship between Wigan and Wigan Athletic is as poor as it’s ever been.

Then there’s socioeconomic reasons to consider. 

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I was just about to ask about the soccer club.
 

How does the relationship manifest itself in terms of rugby crowds? Are you not allowed to like both Wigan clubs?

1 minute ago, Hela Wigmen said:

The relationship between Wigan and Wigan Athletic is as poor as it’s ever been.

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1 minute ago, Man of Kent said:

I was just about to ask about the soccer club.
 

How does the relationship manifest itself in terms of rugby crowds? Are you not allowed to like both Wigan clubs?

I’m sure some do like both but there doesn’t appear to be much of a relationship there. I’m not sure why or what’s contributed to it but as someone who reads different clubs fanzines, Wigan RL have appeared on the front of the Wigan FC fanzine and in it, and not in a positive light. 

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2 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

I’m sure some do like both but there doesn’t appear to be much of a relationship there. I’m not sure why or what’s contributed to it but as someone who reads different clubs fanzines, Wigan RL have appeared on the front of the Wigan FC fanzine and in it, and not in a positive light. 

I could see how fans of the football club might want to portray Wigan as some sort of scapegoat.

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It seems that with the Headingley rebuild Leeds crowds were restricted and don't seem to have recovered since, however their matchday income has probably increased with the corporate's they can accommodate now, and that unfortunately seems to be their main focus.

The DW is a souless place that doesn't encourage people to attend and I think the club has lost its way in the recent past in it's image, utterances and marketing, whether that is going to change under the current leadership is open to question.

 

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10 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

I’m sure some do like both but there doesn’t appear to be much of a relationship there. I’m not sure why or what’s contributed to it but as someone who reads different clubs fanzines, Wigan RL have appeared on the front of the Wigan FC fanzine and in it, and not in a positive light. 

Many of the football fans hold a lot of jealousy towards the Rugby club.

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1 hour ago, Gooleboy said:

I wonder what Mr Lenaghan thought last Thursday, because the attendance at the Toronto game looked poor.

A televised game on a cold Thursday night against a team whose supporters arrived in one car is hardly likely to attract a good attendance.

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4 minutes ago, Jinking Jimmy said:

A televised game on a cold Thursday night against a team whose supporters arrived in one car is hardly likely to attract a good attendance.

That’s a given and granted Wigan don’t pick the TV games but when clubs play Catalans and now Toronto at home, why don’t they do more to entice people in? 

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3 hours ago, Eddie said:

Does anyone know why Wigan’s attendances have dropped so alarmingly over the last few years, from over 17,000 in 2011 to not much more than 11,000 now? I’ve always seen Wigan as the biggest club but if this trend continues they won’t be for long - is there anything they can do about it or is the decline terminal?

I too have been wondering this!  Some have made the argument, that in a 12-team league, fans get sick of watching the same teams over and over again.  I wonder if this plays even a tiny part.  I know as a neutral fan, it also gets a bit boring.  I think they should put a 5 or even 10 year plan in place, to eventually expand to 16 teams.   Next year, take in two more, then say, 5 years later, another two.

London, Toulouse at the moment, I don't think would look out of place in SL.  And the likes of Bradford, Widnes, York, Leigh etc. are not far behind.

16 teams:  play each team home/away = 30 matches per season.  Perfect! ?

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13 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

That’s a given and granted Wigan don’t pick the TV games but when clubs play Catalans and now Toronto at home, why don’t they do more to entice people in? 

That’s a fair point but in regard to Catalans, I think Wigan have possibly done that for the game in March.

Edited by Jinking Jimmy

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27 minutes ago, Jinking Jimmy said:

A televised game on a cold Thursday night against a team whose supporters arrived in one car is hardly likely to attract a good attendance.

Toronto obviously didn't appeal to the part time supporters.

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