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Arresting the decline at Wigan


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3 minutes ago, MZH said:

I'd also say that if Hull could have a period of sustained success we could average 15k. Would be great for the game to have 3 clubs averaging over 15k with several others over 10k.

Toronto could have easily been one of the latter. 

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Last nights attendance for a big game was terrible 

Warrington (bless ‘em) have been the stand outs for me when it comes to enthusing and growing their support, a lot of teams could look closely at what they’ve done and are doing. It’s quite obvious th

I’d love it it Wigan got back to a 15-16k average, with 20 in for the big games, we need clubs like that and the same goes for Leeds. 

32 minutes ago, Eddie said:

More high end than Tetley or Carlsberg? I can’t imagine that. 

In my experience, fans don't go  to games because  they serve woke beer at stadium bars. They fuel up at pubs before the game then spend the game endlessly disturbing people as they are up and down, up and down at the urinals.

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1 hour ago, JohnM said:

In my experience, fans don't go  to games because  they serve woke beer at stadium bars. They fuel up at pubs before the game then spend the game endlessly disturbing people as they are up and down, up and down at the urinals.

Woke beer - I like it. 
 

To be fair in my 20s I would have supped whatever was on offer, but now I’m in my early 40s I won’t have a drink in the ground if it’s garbage, couldn’t bring myself to pay £4.40 for a lukewarm plastic bottle of Carling. 

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2 hours ago, Tommygilf said:
Radlinski certainly talks a good game here.

Is he still doing it for free?

2 hours ago, Hullfan said:

Biggest and greatest rugby league club ever in UK!!!! 

Many a true word spoken in jest.

I was once in Paris queueing to get up the Eiffel Tower during the same weekend as England RU were playing South Africa in a W.C. Semi.  A group of South Africa fans heard me talking and asked why I was wearing a S.A. Cap and scarf and not supporting England.  I explained that I was Rugby League fan and to a man they all said "Oh, that's Wigan isn't it?"

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I think a lot of it is complacency - you can't just think that you've found a winning formula and then sit back, which I think a lot of clubs did. It's a constant process of refinement and improvement. 

There's this incredibly dangerous phrase in the game of "we've got a great product, it's just that people don't know about it" - it's a sort of hubris that doesn't really play out in reality. We've got a great sport, but a great sport is not necessarily a great product. 

If you're losing fans, they're leaving you either because they don't like what you're offering any more, or because someone is offering something better. You don't get them back by shouting at them (more advertising of the same thing), by telling them that they're wrong (ala Caisley) or offering them more of the same thing they are bored of (loop fixtures). You get them back by doing what the business that took them from you did - by offering them something that they want to buy. 

Agree with the mention of complacency

I don't think clubs always realise that you HAVE to keep attracting NEW supporters, just to 'stand still' with attendances. A lot of clubs have an ageing fanbase who - without wishing to be disrespectful - die or get to inform to come to games. I think we'll be surprised by how many RL supporters have died during the COVID months!

And its also true with younger supporters. There was a time when I went withy three kids to the Bulls (mid 90s through to early 2000s). Success helped! But one by one they stopped going. One went to Uni and never really got back into it during the holidays, one discovered the opposite sex, and the other just kinda lost interest. It happens...

Did the Bulls do anything much to attract the next bunch of parents with kids? Not really. So instead of sitting in a jam-packed main stand, it gradually became more and more thinly occupied as the years rolled by.

 

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21 minutes ago, paulwalker71 said:

Agree with the mention of complacency

I don't think clubs always realise that you HAVE to keep attracting NEW supporters, just to 'stand still' with attendances. A lot of clubs have an ageing fanbase who - without wishing to be disrespectful - die or get to inform to come to games. I think we'll be surprised by how many RL supporters have died during the COVID months!

And its also true with younger supporters. There was a time when I went withy three kids to the Bulls (mid 90s through to early 2000s). Success helped! But one by one they stopped going. One went to Uni and never really got back into it during the holidays, one discovered the opposite sex, and the other just kinda lost interest. It happens...

Did the Bulls do anything much to attract the next bunch of parents with kids? Not really. So instead of sitting in a jam-packed main stand, it gradually became more and more thinly occupied as the years rolled by.

 

You've cracked it with NEW supporters.

Something some people involved in the game ignore.

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2 hours ago, DavidM said:

Last nights attendance for a big game was terrible 

Sorry but we don't travel in very big numbers at the moment.

                                                  "Son, can you play me a memory, I'm not really sure how it goes,

                                   but it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete, when I wore a younger man's clothes"

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47 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Woke beer

Brewdog will be nicking this linguistic excrescence for their new (guess what?) IPA some time soon.

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25 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

Brewdog will be nicking this linguistic excrescence for their new (guess what?) IPA some time soon.

I'm afraid the chancers at Brewdog have already had their bums handed to them this year by Aldi

Aldi v Brewdog - Album on Imgur

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Just now, sweaty craiq said:

Wigan’s turnout was about the same, especially after 60 mins,  but Hull brought nowhere near what Salford did

I noted a distinct lack of quips about the "Wigan Walk". Glad that people have grown out of that.

"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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I don’t think changing the club badge is enough - people need more than that to encourage them to make the time commitment required to support a club regularly.

It is a vicious circle though in terms of attracting new fans when stands are already looking empty.

People of all ages want to associate themselves with doing things that will increase their social standing either consciously or subconsciously.

Of course there’ll always be a devout hardcore whose reasoning is different to this and catering to the hardcore and the new fan will involve striking a balance.

 

 

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The average age of Wigan fans has been quite high for a while. There was a survey done about a decade ago and it was revealed the average age was worryingly high (although I can't recall the exact figure). Over the last 5 years or so the club hasn't really seemed to do much about it though and attendances have dwindled. Some of it will be down to older fans not being able to go any more, but marketing will have played a part too.

The last time there was a real buzz (I hate that phrase but it seems appropriate) about watching rugby at the DW Stadium was back when Mick Hogan was CEO. He helped improve our average attendances, came up with some new ideas and it made a huge difference. The year after he left to join Sale our average attendance was over 17,000. From that point onwards though the crowds just kept declining. The club just used the same marketing campaigns and ran them into the ground, there seemed to be no new ideas. The matchday experience just seemed to become an afterthought.

What the club need to do is make home games an event that you don't want to miss. The club faces a tough battle trying to make itself relevant to younger people but it's the same battle faced by Super League as a whole. A lot of rugby league towns will be in a similar situation to Wigan. It's not just the sport or the club that struggles to attract young people, it's the towns themselves. The population of the town is aging so if the club keeps targeting a younger audience in Wigan then that audience is already dwindling.

When I first saw the new badge I thought it was horrendous. I thought it was unrecognisable as Wigan. Over time though it became clear that to survive the club has to be for more than just the people of Wigan. Super League has to be for more than just the people of Leeds, Salford, Wakefield etc. Most of these areas aren't thriving. They are struggling. If the sport just isolates itself in those areas then it can only struggle too.

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14 hours ago, fighting irish said:

Come on wms?

You completely ignored my last post to you and I'm really eager to hear your answers to my questions.

You've explained in some detail (a few times), what we're doing wrong but, WTF are we going to do about it? 

I was reading through this thread and got to WMS`s post and thought exactly the same thing as, with all due respect WMS, I`ve read the same thing from yourself about a dozen times and never any solutions, what he says is often very convincing as to the problems facing our game without ever offering a solution.

14 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

You get them back by doing what the business that took them from you did - by offering them something that they want to buy. 

So O.K. who took them, I gather we are talking about disappearing fans here. So are we talking about former fans who have stopped coming and new fans that aren`t engaging.

13 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I'm not employed by a club or Elstone so, frankly, I'm not going to do anything. If they want my services then fine - a few of them have my number. But I've got enough work to keep me busy and to keep my work-life balance in check.

But as a fan, I can comment on what I think is and isn't working and how I think it needs to change. People can choose whether to listen and people can decide whether they agree or not.

A lot of what I suggest goes beyond what one bloke with a few ideas can do and this is where I do have a bit of sympathy for Elstone. He has been installed by a group of stakeholders who I think have a misunderstanding of what the problem is, with those same owners in a position where they can either hamper him, undermine him or ignore him without consequence when he actually does try to address the real issues. 

That answer just sounds evasive to me, if you have supplied a detailed analysis elsewhere and don`t want to go through the whole thing again I understand, however if you could point me to it that would be much appreciated, because as I said your analysis of the problem to me sounds well informed, but I would be equally interested to hear your analysis of what you consider a solution to be.

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14 hours ago, paulwalker71 said:

That continual on-field success won't necessarily translate to sustained levels of crowd won't be a surprise to Bulls fans.

Anyone recall Chris Caisley having a rant in the Bradford local paper because crowd figures at the Bulls were ebbing away despite us winning the treble the season before? 

I don't know what the solution is but it seems to be the case that you need more than winning titles to keep people coming. Perhaps there's a kind of 'success fatigue' (for want of a better term) that afflicts perpetually successful teams?

The solution is not to make Super League even more of a regional competition with more small towns a few miles down the road from existing Super League clubs.

The solution is to grow the game, especially internationals with England playing regularly on free to air tv. The World Cup will help but they need to be on every year, not once every few years. Games down under at 6am-8am will only attract die hard fans, England need home games on the bbc.

Super League used to be as big as the Premiership Rugby, now it’s tiny in comparison. The Premiership has benefited from increased interest on the back of the International game as well as its European competitions. Rugby League can’t have a European competition like the Heineken Cup yet, but we could add French sides to Super League and the Championship and see a similar benefit.

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I’m sure there is already an element of this done by clubs in the community, but I’ve always wondered what you could do by a sustained giving out of hundreds of vouchers to be exchanged for free tickets in all the local schools. Maybe for a full season. On the premise they must be accompanied by one adult per free ticket maybe.

Supply the schools with a dozen shirts/scarfs etc each, one per quarter season, and get a buzz going among the kids.

Like I said, I’m sure this happens on a small scale, but one that is a SL wide and partially central funded initiative might help

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27 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

I was reading through this thread and got to WMS`s post and thought exactly the same thing as, with all due respect WMS, I`ve read the same thing from yourself about a dozen times and never any solutions, what he says is often very convincing as to the problems facing our game without ever offering a solution.

So O.K. who took them, I gather we are talking about disappearing fans here. So are we talking about former fans who have stopped coming and new fans that aren`t engaging.

That answer just sounds evasive to me, if you have supplied a detailed analysis elsewhere and don`t want to go through the whole thing again I understand, however if you could point me to it that would be much appreciated, because as I said your analysis of the problem to me sounds well informed, but I would be equally interested to hear your analysis of what you consider a solution to be.

It's not about me being evasive. Like I said, I think there are wider issues that the game is missing that need to be addressed and Elstone and his team alone can't carry the sole responsibility for solving them. 

As for "who took these fans?", they must be spending their leisure dollar somewhere. They won't all have gone to the same places, but they've gone somewhere, presumably because what the Bulls were offering didn't seem like value, or didn't hold their attention any longer. The way to win them back, or to win over people like them, is to reverse that. Whether that is through match day experience, the product on offer or a combination of that and many other factors.

In terms of ideas to change things, I've thrown out a few recent suggestions to different issues. 

On broadening the audience and increasing participation:

On broadening the audience to increase the value of TV rights'

On addressing actual problems, rather than symptoms of problems:

 

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If it were announced England would play a three test series against Australia every four years we could sell out any RL ground in this country for all three fixtures. 

If we played them three times every year, with the series winner decided by who wins one final game regardless of the score to that point I think we'd soon struggle to sell all the tickets.

I like the GF, it's a genuine big event but that method of finding a champion means clubs can afford to lose a lot of games, it devalues the week to week competition.

The overall quality also doesn't help. There's an awful lot of clubs in SL doing nothing more than treading water. We don't get top level stars over from the NRL and our best players all go down under.

In Wigan's case in particular, as an outsider it feels like they have been so successful bringing through their own players they haven't felt like a team packed with stars for a long time. This isn't a dig at Wigan, it isn't a coincidence that the club with the best academy consistently wins trophies but there is a glamour factor that comes with expensive signings and imports.

It's ok though, people want to replace an exciting project with Toronto with another Yorkshire team so that will solve all our problems.

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