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Are you worried about attendances?


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11 minutes ago, M j M said:

I suspect, if we go back far enough the most shocking aspect won't be top flight but the loss of second and third tier crowds which never recovered from the trauma of 1995.

The trauma of 1995?

To which trauma are you referring?

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13 minutes ago, M j M said:

I suspect, if we go back far enough the most shocking aspect won't be top flight but the loss of second and third tier crowds which never recovered from the trauma of 1995.

Thing is If think the Second Tier is the most exciting and strongest it's been for years. I'd say support wise too. Toulouse, Feb and Bradford have had regular attendances over 2000. Halifax, York and Widnes too have achieved them. Thats nigh on half the division. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Mumby Magic said:

Thing is If think the Second Tier is the most exciting and strongest it's been for years. I'd say support wise too. Toulouse, Feb and Bradford have had regular attendances over 2000. Halifax, York and Widnes too have achieved them. Thats nigh on half the division. 

 

I'd guess that every club in Super League, apart from maybe Wigan and Leeds average bigger crowds now than pre SL, some by quite a margin. And pretty much all the rest lower.

That's not a comment on what we do next with the lower leagues but I do think it's informative about what happens when you tell a section of your fan base to get lost which is how thousands of fans felt - and some still do - about "$uper Greed".

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4 minutes ago, M j M said:

I'd guess that every club in Super League, apart from maybe Wigan and Leeds average bigger crowds now than pre SL, some by quite a margin. And pretty much all the rest lower.

That's not a comment on what we do next with the lower leagues but I do think it's informative about what happens when you tell a section of your fan base to get lost which is how thousands of fans felt - and some still do - about "$uper Greed".

Personally I'd leave the lower leagues as they are.

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14 minutes ago, Mumby Magic said:

Clubs not being promoted as in Keighley and Batley I assume.

This is an interesting point, and one which hasn't received many column inches on this forum.

When ''political'' decisions are made (like the one we are facing very soon) which result in some clubs, being snubbed, or marginalised, or forced into a mergers or told they just aren't ''big enough'' or ''glamorous enough'', to be promoted, then deep wounds are inflicted on the fans of said clubs and those wounds fester, leading to lifelong resentment towards the game as a whole.

Even if they continue to support their own town team (say) they might decide not to go to Wembley for example, out of spite. Then they take every opportunity, (moreso in this age of social media) to decry the game at every opportunity.

Remember how bitter parksider was?

I think we might grossly underestimate the damage this kind of dog eat dog decision making causes.

It's about time we stood together as a family, to face the world, like the 300 Spartans. 

Edited by fighting irish
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Just now, Mumby Magic said:

Personally I'd leave the lower leagues as they are.

I totally agree. And certainly not casting them or some of them adrift as some suggestions have it. That was deadly wrong when it was done to Nottingham, Chorley and Blackpool and it would be wrong now.

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1 hour ago, meast said:

Fans/ customers/ potential sponsors etc shouldn't need or look for excuses.

It should be up to the clubs and the sport itself to give them REASONS to want to part with their money and leisure time.

This to me is the problem with RL, it, we, expect people to just keep attending and chucking money at it because we are RL fans without giving us much for our money in the last few years and the product on and off the field has declined immensely IMO, you wouldn't keep going and doing shopping from Tesco if the products was pants and you felt you weren't getting value for money, so why should RL fans do it?

They should do, but they do.

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4 hours ago, gingerjon said:

You're right.

Playing midweek has been the death of football's Champions League. You never hear about it any more.

Your right I've never watched a champions League midweek for years.

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14 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

 

I don't understand why Bower portrays the sport's aging audience demographics as something "a problem outside rugby league's control". 

I'd suggest that targeting and appealing to new audiences and demographics, broadening it's appeal to a more diverse cross-section of society and increasing its relevance with the wider public is very much within the sport's control. In fact, one could argue that it's a fundamental function of running any business. 

I also note that Carter is in there talking about how "we need to get crowds back in" but reading between the lines, it seems that his plan is to simply hope that they come back. There's certainly no suggestion of what he and his club are doing to make a Wakefield ticket the hottest one in town. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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10 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I don't understand why Bower portrays the sport's aging audience demographics as something "a problem outside rugby league's control". 

I'd suggest that targeting and appealing to new audiences and demographics, broadening it's appeal to a more diverse cross-section of society and increasing its relevance with the wider public is very much within the sport's control. In fact, one could argue that it's a fundamental function of running any business. 

I also note that Carter is in there talking about how "we need to get crowds back in" but reading between the lines, it seems that his plan is to simply hope that they come back. There's certainly no suggestion of what he and his club are doing to make a Wakefield ticket the hottest one in town. 

Yeah I think this is my biggest worry with the sport atm. I'm willing to concede all the reasons posited for this season's crowds being rubbish, but I'm not confident at all in the crowds rebounding because I think this is the attitude.

I am also concerned by this message that people are bothered about Covid and aren't going to stadiums because of it. I have been to 3 capacity crowds this past week alone - with thousands of people of all ages present at each. Unless the chairmen making these statements genuinely believe RL is uniquely affected? To me it sounds like a crutch.

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On 26/08/2021 at 12:10, Dave T said:

What uncertainty this season? Doesn't their season start in Aug when all restrictions are lifted? 

Edit to add, I don't see anyone using a voided season as a reason for lower RL crowds, and our Championship was canned. 

They sold full STs which were then wiped out. That undoubtedly will have impacted consumer confidence going into this season, especially considering the delays in unlocking.

Tbh I wasn't even referring to non-League football, and didn't make a point about them and our championship being voided either. By wiped out I was referring to the professional game's season tickets.

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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

Yeah I think this is my biggest worry with the sport atm. I'm willing to concede all the reasons posited for this season's crowds being rubbish, but I'm not confident at all in the crowds rebounding because I think this is the attitude.

I am also concerned by this message that people are bothered about Covid and aren't going to stadiums because of it. I have been to 3 capacity crowds this past week alone - with thousands of people of all ages present at each. Unless the chairmen making these statements genuinely believe RL is uniquely affected? To me it sounds like a crutch.

Indeed. I also agree that the circumstances around season tickets and postponements mean that it isn't really a fair test - I think Christmas will be the period where club executives begin to either be relieved or VERY concerned. 

But there does seem to be something of a "we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas" vibe about some of the comments in that piece. I do worry about how much research has actually been done into this issue. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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Do we have any stats on the demographic of RL fans? Particularly age distribution? 

Because we often hear about an aging supporter base, but how true is that, and what are the reasons? As a sport we have worked hard attracting youth - we do a lot of work in schools and have very cheap kids tickets, it's also not unusual for free kids too. I see far more kids at games than you do at Prem League games, where they are swamped out by middle aged men. 

It would be interesting to know which age groups we see the drop off in - for example in my head I would expect it to be in the younger professionals segment - as people get more money I'm not convinced RL is aspirational enough for them, and those with a bit of free money look to spend it on more prestigious events. 

This view is however just a hypothesis, based somewhat on my own personal life, it'd be good to know that the game knows its customer base and behaviours, but I fear not. 

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Just now, whatmichaelsays said:

Indeed. I also agree that the circumstances around season tickets and postponements mean that it isn't really a fair test - I think Christmas will be the period where club executives begin to either be relieved or VERY concerned. 

But there does seem to be something of a "we've tried nothing and we're all our of ideas" vibe about some of the comments in that piece. I do worry about how much research has actually been done into this issue. 

There was a quick survey from SL yesterday asking about Grand Final tickets. Have you bought them, if not why not? 

Unfortunately the options were really limited, but maybe suggests sales for that are well down. 

For me, trying to deliver a great playoff series and packed out Grand Final would be a great way to finish the season. Tbh I'd even consider a huge Thank You to the fans and make the playoffs completely free in order to pack them out and try and change the mood. I think it could create a bit of feel good factor. 

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14 minutes ago, Dave T said:

There was a quick survey from SL yesterday asking about Grand Final tickets. Have you bought them, if not why not? 

Unfortunately the options were really limited, but maybe suggests sales for that are well down. 

You can say that again. I clicked ‘Yes - I’ve already bought a ticket’ and that was that, end of survey. 

As an aside, I’d like to see more surveys. From afar, clubs seem somewhat detached from their supporters. Do they survey their members?

Does Super League survey fans and know what they want or are unhappy with? 

 

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30 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Do we have any stats on the demographic of RL fans? Particularly age distribution? 

Because we often hear about an aging supporter base, but how true is that, and what are the reasons? As a sport we have worked hard attracting youth - we do a lot of work in schools and have very cheap kids tickets, it's also not unusual for free kids too. I see far more kids at games than you do at Prem League games, where they are swamped out by middle aged men. 

It would be interesting to know which age groups we see the drop off in - for example in my head I would expect it to be in the younger professionals segment - as people get more money I'm not convinced RL is aspirational enough for them, and those with a bit of free money look to spend it on more prestigious events. 

This view is however just a hypothesis, based somewhat on my own personal life, it'd be good to know that the game knows its customer base and behaviours, but I fear not. 

I think that perspective is probably in the right ball park, and I'd say my own experiences will back up that. 

I don't think engaging "kids" is the issue - it's keeping them that is the problem.The "dangerous" age for losing fans probably starts around late teens and goes into those 20-something years. If you look at a typical RL crowd today, how many "millennials" or Gen-Z demographics do you see? Not enough, I'd suggest. 

Those are the ages where people do move around for work and education, these people tend to move to cities (because that's where other young people are) and aside from Leeds, RL doesn't have a good presence in major cities.

People don't live and die in the same towns any more and I'd suggest that RL reflects the towns it serves - towns where young people move away for study and work, before maybe coming back many years later when they're ready to move out of the city and take advantage of the cheaper housing.

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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21 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Do we have any stats on the demographic of RL fans? Particularly age distribution? 

Because we often hear about an aging supporter base, but how true is that, and what are the reasons? As a sport we have worked hard attracting youth - we do a lot of work in schools and have very cheap kids tickets, it's also not unusual for free kids too. I see far more kids at games than you do at Prem League games, where they are swamped out by middle aged men. 

It would be interesting to know which age groups we see the drop off in - for example in my head I would expect it to be in the younger professionals segment - as people get more money I'm not convinced RL is aspirational enough for them, and those with a bit of free money look to spend it on more prestigious events. 

This view is however just a hypothesis, based somewhat on my own personal life, it'd be good to know that the game knows its customer base and behaviours, but I fear not. 

Edit- double post

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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7 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Do we have any stats on the demographic of RL fans? Particularly age distribution? 

Because we often hear about an aging supporter base, but how true is that, and what are the reasons? As a sport we have worked hard attracting youth - we do a lot of work in schools and have very cheap kids tickets, it's also not unusual for free kids too. I see far more kids at games than you do at Prem League games, where they are swamped out by middle aged men. 

It would be interesting to know which age groups we see the drop off in - for example in my head I would expect it to be in the younger professionals segment - as people get more money I'm not convinced RL is aspirational enough for them, and those with a bit of free money look to spend it on more prestigious events. 

This view is however just a hypothesis, based somewhat on my own personal life, it'd be good to know that the game knows its customer base and behaviours, but I fear not. 

There doesn't seem to be too much actual research sadly.

Anecdotally, and based mostly on my experience at Headingley, live RL attendees get lots of families with younger children (14 and younger) and a broad mix of middle aged and older men and women. I see a noticeably smaller amount of people around my age 16-30. I wouldn't even specify those as all Young Professionals either, though they are part of that group.

In terms of other demographics, the crowds are overwhelmingly white British in my experience. Some might say that isn't a problem, but regardless I think its symptomatic of a wider sense of a game that struggles to speak to people outside its own bubble - race being just a more visually obvious aspect of that than say occupation or  I once heard RL compared to the Masons and thought it was a funny comparison, in you need to be introduced by an existing member. If the numbers of people doing that are decreasing then that becomes a problematic and narrowing cycle.

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37 minutes ago, Dave T said:

 

For me, trying to deliver a great playoff series and packed out Grand Final would be a great way to finish the season. Tbh I'd even consider a huge Thank You to the fans and make the playoffs completely free in order to pack them out and try and change the mood. I think it could create a bit of feel good factor. 

That is the sort of thing that might cost money initially, in terms of lost gate receipts but could (and probably would) pay dividends in terms of feel good factor, image of the game etc etc. 

But it would have to be done right and not just announced at the last moment. 

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

There was a quick survey from SL yesterday asking about Grand Final tickets. Have you bought them, if not why not? 

Unfortunately the options were really limited, but maybe suggests sales for that are well down. 

For me, trying to deliver a great playoff series and packed out Grand Final would be a great way to finish the season. Tbh I'd even consider a huge Thank You to the fans and make the playoffs completely free in order to pack them out and try and change the mood. I think it could create a bit of feel good factor. 

Would make under 18's free with paying adults and yep, clubs need to put their one playoff game aside to show the sport in its best possible light. 

No World cup this year so we cannot have playoffs with half empty stadiums. Need to show Sky and those watching a great product. 

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Just read on a football forum that 1 month into the Championship season only 4 clubs are tracking attendances above pre-pandemic levels, with two of those being newly promoted clubs and a third being Coventry who have returned to their home city after a few seasons away. That's after 18 months without crowds. Early days, obviously, but it will be interesting to see how that progresses given all the above discussion about RL.

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"Just as we had been Cathars, we were treizistes, men apart."

Jean Roque, Calendrier-revue du Racing-Club Albigeois, 1958-1959

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