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Are you worried about attendances?


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In football with crowd trials clubs like Norwich with 18,000 season ticket holders didn't get 2k through the door. 

Newcastle falcons who average 5k ish failed to get 1,700 through the door. 

Part of this is Covid-19, but leeds gor example havent recovered from ground redevelopment. Once casual and even less casual fans stop going then it's hard to get back in the routine. 

I know clubs like safety of people paying in advance, but £20 on day turn up at turnstile needs to be an easy option. 

I must confess I'm worried. 

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4 minutes ago, M j M said:

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.

This X100. 

It's a self fulfilling prophecy too. 

RL suffers from some people calling it greatest game and not realising the tough environment in which we operate, but this is outweighed by constant negativity. 

There is a middle ground. Be optimistic, positive and talk up the game but also appreciate the difficulties. 

Edited by Rugbyleaguesupporter
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We missed a game due to my wife having to isolate plus we are very careful due to her underlying illness so we will always be cautious.

Having said that we could attend the Leeds/Salford game (wife being a keen Leeds fan) and too be honest not really excited about going but we have season tickets.

Found that we really enjoyed some of the rugby Leeds played in the first half... exciting well executed skills in tight situations creating opportunities and taking a few of them. 

Yep 2nd half reverted to previous but boy the first half had us really pleased attending and looking forward to next game if Leeds can replicate...

Point being the style of play in that first half was and is the sort of play that will bring back many fans, if they can consistently do that next season.

This season is and always was going to be difficult attendance wise, especially over the summer holiday period. 

 

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Season ticket sales are significantly down across SL and the Championship in 2021, understandably people haven't bought due to Covid and not knowing what games they were getting or when. Season tickets drive people to attend regularly in RL so be interesting to see what behaviour the prospect of a settled 2022 brings, the sport needs to start pushing this as start of a "re-set" strategy. 

Age is also having an effect this year, Wigan for example has quite an old fan base (other clubs too), these people are much less likely to attend during a health pandemic. Covid is highlighting the need to attract younger people to RL, they are the ones driving attendance at other events in big numbers.

I also think we may see the return of Private Equity as an option, clubs will currently be piling on more debt than they anticipated even a few months ago and that is unsustainable. 

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There's being a doom monger - and there's also denying what is in front of you. 

We've always had excuses (it was a Thursday, it was on TV, traffic on M62...etc etc) but after this, crowds should be healthy (at least percentage wise of what is allowed)

They aren't though and if it isn't addressed these punters aren't going to miraculously start attending again.

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46 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

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.

Of course there will be lots of people happy to do stuff, but there would have been right through this.

But there are definitely some people who aren't happy to be in those crowds just yet. 

I went to the England game recently and happy to go to pubs and restaurants, but more wary of a potentially packed South Stand at Wire for example.

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3 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Of course there will be lots of people happy to do stuff, but there would have been right through this.

But there are definitely some people who aren't happy to be in those crowds just yet. 

I went to the England game recently and happy to go to pubs and restaurants, but more wary of a potentially packed South Stand at Wire for example.

Fair enough, I would agree with that. 

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I don’t know if it’s a worry yet but it’s a going concern, that’s how I see it, anyway. Given people’s opinions and feelings on Covid, the vaccines and the general feeling around the sport and Super League, the amount of STH compared with a year or two ago, 600k+ being pinged last week and told to isolate and how early we are into the return of spectators at elite level, I can understand why crowds aren’t what they once were but it’s early days and it needs monitoring for the time being. 

 

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I will add though I would be worried if I were anything to do with the Wigan club, I do think that 5.5k attendance is very poor even given the reasons stated.

Fro what Ive read its more to do with the style of rugby they are playing under Lam, is this the case or is it just an easy excuse?

 

Maybe I was right and that ill advised rebrand and non Wigan looking shirt was a bad idea after all 😉

 

 

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11 minutes ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

This is not just about attendances but a viable league for sponsors.

 

Paul

Sponsors are a secondary income stream, you need an audience 1st and foremost and then you can sell your audiences attention to sponsors. 

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7 minutes ago, Smudger06 said:

Sponsors are a secondary income stream, you need an audience 1st and foremost and then you can sell your audiences attention to sponsors. 

This goes back to the point made on the cricket thread though. Today, it's not just about punters in the ground (although they are obviously important for a good atmosphere/spectacle) but the online/SM presence could mean financial income for the game without a turnstile being clicked. Both are important and the latter more and more. 

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5 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

This goes back to the point made on the cricket thread though. Today, it's not just about punters in the ground (although they are obviously important for a good atmosphere/spectacle) but the online/SM presence could mean financial income for the game without a turnstile being clicked. Both are important and the latter more and more. 

Yes, by audience I mean overall, physically at the ground is just one element of that audience. 

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How are attendances below SL going, because as far as I can tell most clubs below SL level are doing pretty well since the restart. Certainly my club are selling every ticket they have available, and could definitely sell more if the local council allowed it. Barrow are getting some outstanding attendances also. 

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4 minutes ago, Rugbyleaguesupporter said:

And how would you change this? 

I always thought the Rugby League World Cup this year could provide a shot in the arm to be honest if England could have won it.

Domestically, we need our Super League Grand Final to be simulcast live to the biggest possible broadcast audience.  It would help too if we built up to the event with other live FTA offerings.  I believe this would increase the game’s profile and standing.

To be honest there’s loads of things that could be done/perhaps should be done, but the truth is new initiatives don’t fund themselves and the game is short of money.

I think Sky’s exclusivity helped and hindered the sport.

 

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13 minutes ago, dkw said:

How are attendances below SL going, because as far as I can tell most clubs below SL level are doing pretty well since the restart. Certainly my club are selling every ticket they have available, and could definitely sell more if the local council allowed it. Barrow are getting some outstanding attendances also. 

Well that's certainly good news. Are they doing anything different to what they might have done pre covid? 

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3 hours ago, Smudger06 said:

Thought people would be itching to get back to stadiums.

They seriously are at all levels of football and, as far as I’m aware, cricket crowds have been good albeit with more games going to open sale than previously.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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40 minutes ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

I always thought the Rugby League World Cup this year could provide a shot in the arm to be honest if England could have won it.

Domestically, we need our Super League Grand Final to be simulcast live to the biggest possible broadcast audience.  It would help too if we built up to the event with other live FTA offerings.  I believe this would increase the game’s profile and standing.

To be honest there’s loads of things that could be done/perhaps should be done, but the truth is new initiatives don’t fund themselves and the game is short of money.

I think Sky’s exclusivity helped and hindered the sport.

 

Sky´s money did help but so much of it has been wasted. Bradford still in a undeveloped hole, as do Wakefield. Salford play in a oversized box. As do Huddersfield. Wigan stadium too big bar one game when they need a snug 12-13k stadium to generate rev.

No surprise that clubs like Saints, Leeds and Warrington are best clubs. Proper grounds which are the right size for hospitality and to look good on TV. 

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3 hours ago, Smudger06 said:

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

I don't think that's his point. Broncos at the moment are a rudderless shambles, but a relevant, well funded and challenging Broncos or Toulouse would get ore than 1k.

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4 hours 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.

A lot to be said for this synopsis. To be honest, I've spent the summer watching live cricket. The only time I've bothered with live rugby league - three times, then just amateurs - is when rain was forecast. I recorded the Challenge Cup final but, in the end, was happy enough with the six-minute package of highlights.

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Season ticket culture. It's why play off crowds are so poor. With season ticket sales hugely impacted this year, it is reflected in poor crowd figures. Big test is in 2022 to see if sales rebound.

Fev are going to have 1 stand with social distancing and mandatory masks next week and the rest restriction free. Given most clubs have spare capacity, this is sensible.

Whilst I am not anxious at all about returning to rugby, many are and this is a good way of balancing differing views.

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1 hour ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

I always thought the Rugby League World Cup this year could provide a shot in the arm to be honest if England could have won it.

Domestically, we need our Super League Grand Final to be simulcast live to the biggest possible broadcast audience.  It would help too if we built up to the event with other live FTA offerings.  I believe this would increase the game’s profile and standing.

To be honest there’s loads of things that could be done/perhaps should be done, but the truth is new initiatives don’t fund themselves and the game is short of money.

I think Sky’s exclusivity helped and hindered the sport.

 

Next year we will have three cup rounds and then exclusively two semi finals and final of main cup competition exclusive FTA. 

10 matches including 2 play off games FTA 

Very likely international series (no laughing at back) FTA

Sadly Sky money outweighs FTA money so the above is as far as we can go. 

I think RLWC can be shot in arm- but ultimately best way to get money into game in short term is gates. A successful world cup helps but big challenge is what's caused drop off in attendances. 

-ageing fan base (challenge is to attract younger fans) 

-lack of money (difficult to deal with but prices at lots of clubs quite high, but little evidence lowering prices works that well) 

-overall experience (I don't think this is major in stadium, but uncertainty re pubs an issue atm and food/ drink offer could improve at clubs) 

-boring product (I love the product but I do have concerns at stop start nature which feels like its increased) 

-games that don't matter (always been in place- bigger problem I feel is that making grand final not so new anymore) 

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I view it as a bit of a perfect storm.

  • we're halfway through a disjointed season where many people haven't bought season tickets and have made other plans
  • holiday season exacerbating this, even more so than usual years
  • lots of people self isolating, including myself, so could not attend a game
  • general malaise around the game, particularly around the direction
  • lots of postponements which has taken away momentum and routine. The season is so disjointed, it feels clubs are just fulfilling games for the sake of it (or not!). Hopefully the play-offs will re-ignite interest

The World Cup could be the great spark to generate interest and re-set the sport on the right path. It needs it, now more than ever. Without it, it's pretty rudderless and is now drifting further out of peoples consciousness. The younger generation are key to engage and the Hundred, for as much as I dislike as a cricket fan, has now taken another chunk of potential audience/media limelight. RL needs relevance

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