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Are you worried about attendances?


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5.5k at Wigan v Wakefield

10.5k at Leeds v Salford

No matter how you spin it this isn't the packed out return to attendances the sport was looking for. The real question that needs answering quickly is why?

Is it covid related attendance hesitancy? Possibly for some, but I don't know if anyone else went out this weekend but it certainly didn't seem quiet in the city centre I was in. If there is hesitancy, then it is impacting RL fan demographies more acutely - that they are quite narrow and leaves the sport vulnerable to this sort of acute problem is another issue.

More worryingly, is it that there is just too much better competition for people's money? The sport has been struggling for relevance before Covid, and has hardly taken many actions to rectify that since. Its also been highly reliant on Season Ticket attendees, whose numbers presumably have been dented as a result of Covid. 

Whilst many have struggled through Covid, lots have saved money too. There is clearly an appetite for leisure and entertainment. But perhaps in such a congested market RL isn't cutting through - and doesn't have the resources to do so. 17 or so months away from the grounds, out of the habit, with plenty of problems leaving fans disillusioned and a hell of a lot of competition for people's time and money - its not the ideal environment.

Perhaps it will get better...

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If you remember some old threads on here, at the height of Covid, many were simply implying that, why, of course people will be battering down the doors when live RL returns. But obviously they aren’t. Yes, there will be a percentage of anxiety based avoiders but based on things I’ve seen people doing this past weekend on FB, it doesn’t seem to stretch to gigs or suchlike.


You can easily get out of the habit of going to live matches, as I’ve done. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Eddie said:

The Leeds one doesn’t seem too bad (would have been 12k before Covid?), but Wigan’s is horrendous. The clubs, SL and RFL need to wake up big time. 

Allegedly, attendances were seriously affected after the big (big!) freeze of winter 1963. Games were postponed for ages and people simply got out of the habit of going. I think a similar thing might be the case here.

But my money is on the RFL/SL to just expect people to carry on coming regardless. 

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Just now, Johnoco said:

Allegedly, attendances were seriously affected after the big (big!) freeze of winter 1963. Games were postponed for ages and people simply got out of the habit of going. I think a similar thing might be the case here.

But my money is on the RFL/SL to just expect people to carry on coming regardless. 

I thought crowds would go up, post war boom effect, but whereas football continually keeps itself in the public eye SL just make balls up after balls up and turn people off. This year’s competition is a farce, and have any of the clubs actually done anything to try to get more people into stadiums? 

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3 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

If you remember some old threads on here, at the height of Covid, many were simply implying that, why, of course people will be battering down the doors when live RL returns. But obviously they aren’t. Yes, there will be a percentage of anxiety based avoiders but based on things I’ve seen people doing this past weekend on FB, it doesn’t seem to stretch to gigs or suchlike.


You can easily get out of the habit of going to live matches, as I’ve done. 

Indeed, and for casual fans, its fairly easy to not be bothered and/or see that there are other things to do. I already know I won't be going to all of my team's remaining home games this year, and there's only 4 left and I wouldn't describe myself as casual at all.

I do think some of the attitude you have described has gotten worryingly high up within the game. Believing their own hype?

Between clubs struggling and a wider game malaise, it looks very difficult right now.

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17 minutes ago, Eddie said:

The Leeds one doesn’t seem too bad (would have been 12k before Covid?), but Wigan’s is horrendous. The clubs, SL and RFL need to wake up big time. 

I remember within the past decade where 14k would have been a poor crowd for Leeds.

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Or is it that people are just becoming disillusioned with the sport at pro level, I know I do not derive as much enjoyment from watching the game anymore, in fact I would never ever miss a televised game but these days there are times I just can't be bothered putting it on the TV.

The quality has gone out of the pro game for me, I find modern tactics are stifling and as for the blatant cheating of feigning injuries that every team is adopting to slow the momentum of the opposition is as big a put off as anything else.

I doubt that I will purchase another season ticket, but that is me and I should imagine that I will be like my friend Johnoco and I will eventually get out of the habit of going, albeit I will still get along to the community side of the sport, I find that much more honest.

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3 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I remember within the past decade where 14k would have been a poor crowd for Leeds.

Yeah definitely but the season before Covid weren’t they around 12k? You’ll obviously know 100x more about it than me but it sounds like from what I’ve read on this forum that they’ve done nowt to arrest the decline in attendances either?

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3 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Or is it that people are just becoming disillusioned with the sport at pro level, I know I do not derive as much enjoyment from watching the game anymore, in fact I would never ever miss a televised game but these days there are times I just can't be bothered putting it on the TV.

The quality has gone out of the pro game for me, I find modern tactics are stifling and as for the blatant cheating of feigning injuries that every team is adopting to slow the momentum of the opposition is as big a put off as anything else.

I doubt that I will purchase another season ticket, but that is me and I should imagine that I will be like my friend Johnoco and I will eventually get out of the habit of going, albeit I will still get along to the community side of the sport, I find that much more honest.

Very sad to hear, though I’d probably enjoy watching an NCL team as much as a SL one too, and you’re spoiled for choice round your way. The only RL I get to see without a 400 mile round trip is SL on TV. 

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1 minute ago, Eddie said:

Yeah definitely but the season before Covid weren’t they around 12k? You’ll obviously know 100x more about it than me but it sounds like from what I’ve read on this forum that they’ve done nowt to arrest the decline in attendances either?

Leigh actually in my opinion by putting up the entrance fees did something positive in assisting the figures to decline, and I don't think they will recover from it.

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Well I've not had the chance to attend a live home game yet, so I'm not sure if the appetite has gone for live rugby for me yet!

Had tickets got the Leigh game but was called off... However, I got the track and trace on the Saturday so wouldn't have been able to go anyway!

There's obviously a combination of factors: getting out of the habit, right finances, fear for safety. For me, feeling like the game would likely get called off being a big off-putter of planning my days, as well as my own isolation, are what is stopping me going.

 

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29 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Or is it that people are just becoming disillusioned with the sport at pro level, I know I do not derive as much enjoyment from watching the game anymore, in fact I would never ever miss a televised game but these days there are times I just can't be bothered putting it on the TV.

The quality has gone out of the pro game for me, I find modern tactics are stifling and as for the blatant cheating of feigning injuries that every team is adopting to slow the momentum of the opposition is as big a put off as anything else.

I doubt that I will purchase another season ticket, but that is me and I should imagine that I will be like my friend Johnoco and I will eventually get out of the habit of going, albeit I will still get along to the community side of the sport, I find that much more honest.

I know what you mean, it's not that I dislike RL now....it's more apathy and dissillusion. 

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It'll be interesting to see Wire v Wigan on Wednesday, but the Wigan one is bad.

But, I won't be going standing in 10k plus crowds yet, so that's the reason for me.

Plenty of places are getting busier, but still nowhere near as busy as they used to be. People are still affected, people are isolating, people are still wary. I think it'll take a bit of time and effort.

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Super League needs a total re-boot in reality there is only 6 teams that can be sustained in the traditional areas.

It desperately needs some new blood in Toulouse and the London Broncos doing the business.

Also some rebranding would not go amiss the name Super League I am afraid is dated and seen as naff.

 

Paul

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2 minutes ago, ShropshireBull said:

Yes I am massively worried.  Not just SL where concern should be. Thought with World Cup it would reengage people for next season but if that is off we are in massive trouble. 

The slope is increasingly getting much more slippery, the glue that is holding it all together is Sky TV, and the way the game is heading and losing it's appeal - which it most definatley is even before C19 we were witnessing attendance figures continually dropping season on season - I can see that Sky will be reducing it's payments till it eventually drops it altogether.

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1 minute ago, Harry Stottle said:

The slope is increasingly getting much more slippery, the glue that is holding it all together is Sky TV, and the way the game is heading and losing it's appeal - which it most definatley is even before C19 we were witnessing attendance figures continually dropping season on season - I can see that Sky will be reducing it's payments till it eventually drops it altogether.

Esp now they are owned by comcast. Plus streaming reducing need for filler content. 

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3 minutes ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

Super League needs a total re-boot in reality there is only 6 teams that can be sustained in the traditional areas.

It desperately needs some new blood in Toulouse and the London Broncos doing the business.

Also some rebranding would not go amiss the name Super League I am afraid is dated and seen as naff.

 

Paul

So replace 5.5k declining attendances with 1k attendances, don't think that's gonna work.

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Certainly at lower level RL , the whole social aspect of watching the game has been altered by restrictions , that have taken much of the joy away from spectating at this level and seen many drift off to watch the Community Game .

Over stewarding , lack of pre/post match social facilities , segregation / away fans bans , no paying on the gate meaning no spontaneous attendance , the threat of games being called off meaning an end of to overnight trips/ train travel  to more remote clubs , supporters buses unable to run due to social distancing making them financially unviable . 

I could go on ....



 

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7 minutes ago, Dave T said:

It'll be interesting to see Wire v Wigan on Wednesday, but the Wigan one is bad.

But, I won't be going standing in 10k plus crowds yet, so that's the reason for me.

Plenty of places are getting busier, but still nowhere near as busy as they used to be. People are still affected, people are isolating, people are still wary. I think it'll take a bit of time and effort.

Well from the footage I've seen this weekend of people at mini festivals and indoor gigs, I'd say you were in the minority. I'd still be cautious, and almost certainly wear a mask but I'd still attend things when they come along.

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7 minutes ago, Smudger06 said:

Thought people would be itching to get back to stadiums.

Appears we are in big trouble. 

Crowds will be affected for the rest of the season, anyone that thought there would be a massive increase in attendances was kidding themselves.

People will still be wary of mixing with large crowds, many people will be self isolating and there's also the fact that people will get out of the habit of attending games after being in lockdown for a year and a half.

 

We as game do have issues no doubt but the low cords are not just because of that.

The WC was a massive boost to the game and could have (still could) given the game a massive shot in the arm (pun intended) which makes me even madder at the ARLC and NZRL, however I still think the WC can go ahead and be successful.

 

What doesn't help us though and it isn't aimed at anyone particular on here just a general comment, RL fans seem to be the first to stick the boot into their own sport, I would describe them as a right miserable bunch, Ive absolutely loved going back to games, it was the single biggest thing I missed during all the lockdowns, I appreciate everyone is different but the negativity some fans portray is grating sometimes.

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2 minutes ago, Chrispmartha said:

What doesn't help us though and it isn't aimed at anyone particular on here just a general comment, RL fans seem to be the first to stick the boot into their own sport,

One depressing trend is that there seems to be an element of tortuous wishful thinking in some the comments, admittedly from the usual suspects. Social media has definitely escalated this Rugby League tradition. They seem to love nothing more than death riding the game and ridiculing it for its defining characteristics.

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