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Attendances (Multiple Merged Threads)


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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

I remember around 5 to 10 years ago there was an objective in the SL strategy to deliver c10 sellouts a year. I think as a tactical objective that is a sound one. 

Put full effort and resources into selling out the 2 x Hull derbies,  Cas v Leeds,  Leeds v Cas/Wakey,  Wire v Wigan/Saints,  2 x Saints v Wigan,  Catalans v whoever -  or give everyone a 'big one'  and stage these games throughout the year and televise them so that we are always a week or two away from a visible sellout -  create that element of big events and not a seat left in the house. 

Of course I think the season they had the objective they got zero sellouts,  maybe 1.

That was a big part of Richard Lewis' thinking. His belief was that it was better to have people locked outside a smaller ground than it was to have more people and empty seats in a bigger one. 

It's not an easy problem to solve because whilst I think that the idea of including tickets in the season ticket would have an impact, the goal here should be profitability - not just getting whoever we can in for the sake of getting them in. The more I think about your "customer behaviour" point, the more I question whether that is something that is inherent, or whether it is something that has just become the accepted norm that, in the right circumstances and with the right proposition, the sport actually can challenge? 

To that end, I think it's a much bigger issue than to just look at the play-offs (and all-pay games in general) in isolation and look more broadly at how we sell the sport. It opens up well-trodden debate which this isn't the place for, but perhaps one issue to explore may be how we "de-couple" attendances from the season ticket and work harder on those audiences that may want to buy much more casually. I understand why clubs like season tickets and those buyers are the core fan base, but how hard are we supplimenting that with a more casual market that aren't going to resent paying £25 tonight because they've maybe doing that for the "big games" through the season?

These are big games and whilst you can fairly cite examples of football clubs discounting tickets in early CL rounds, sports do tend to have less trouble selling their big games than we seem to have selling the play-offs. The NRL has sold out one of its semi-finals and Catalans sold-out (or came close to selling out) last week. There's something missing in all of this and if the best idea we can come up with to sell our big fixtures is to rely on the inertia of the season ticket, I don't think we've got this right. 

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2 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

That was a big part of Richard Lewis' thinking. His belief was that it was better to have people locked outside a smaller ground than it was to have more people and empty seats in a bigger one. 

It's not an easy problem to solve because whilst I think that the idea of including tickets in the season ticket would have an impact, the goal here should be profitability - not just getting whoever we can in for the sake of getting them in. The more I think about your "customer behaviour" point, the more I question whether that is something that is inherent, or whether it is something that has just become the accepted norm that, in the right circumstances and with the right proposition, the sport actually can challenge? 

To that end, I think it's a much bigger issue than to just look at the play-offs (and all-pay games in general) in isolation and look more broadly at how we sell the sport. It opens up well-trodden debate which this isn't the place for, but perhaps one issue to explore may be how we "de-couple" attendances from the season ticket and work harder on those audiences that may want to buy much more casually. I understand why clubs like season tickets and those buyers are the core fan base, but how hard are we supplimenting that with a more casual market that aren't going to resent paying £25 tonight because they've maybe doing that for the "big games" through the season?

These are big games and whilst you can fairly cite examples of football clubs discounting tickets in early CL rounds, sports do tend to have less trouble selling their big games than we seem to have selling the play-offs. The NRL has sold out one of its semi-finals and Catalans sold-out (or came close to selling out) last week. There's something missing in all of this and if the best idea we can come up with to sell our big fixtures is to rely on the inertia of the season ticket, I don't think we've got this right. 

That same casual market is what we're relying on to boost the Grand Final crowd though. I do think people having one eye on forking out for next week - casual fans or otherwise - has a genuinely significant impact and I'm really not sure how we get away from that. And all of that is certainly exaggerated by season ticket holders who become accustomed to not having to pay out each week.

And then we throw in people who have got an eye on what it will cost to attend even just a couple of World Cup games...

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4 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

That was a big part of Richard Lewis' thinking. His belief was that it was better to have people locked outside a smaller ground than it was to have more people and empty seats in a bigger one. 

It's not an easy problem to solve because whilst I think that the idea of including tickets in the season ticket would have an impact, the goal here should be profitability - not just getting whoever we can in for the sake of getting them in. The more I think about your "customer behaviour" point, the more I question whether that is something that is inherent, or whether it is something that has just become the accepted norm that, in the right circumstances and with the right proposition, the sport actually can challenge? 

To that end, I think it's a much bigger issue than to just look at the play-offs (and all-pay games in general) in isolation and look more broadly at how we sell the sport. It opens up well-trodden debate which this isn't the place for, but perhaps one issue to explore may be how we "de-couple" attendances from the season ticket and work harder on those audiences that may want to buy much more casually. I understand why clubs like season tickets and those buyers are the core fan base, but how hard are we supplimenting that with a more casual market that aren't going to resent paying £25 tonight because they've maybe doing that for the "big games" through the season?

These are big games and whilst you can fairly cite examples of football clubs discounting tickets in early CL rounds, sports do tend to have less trouble selling their big games than we seem to have selling the play-offs. The NRL has sold out one of its semi-finals and Catalans sold-out (or came close to selling out) last week. There's something missing in all of this and if the best idea we can come up with to sell our big fixtures is to rely on the inertia of the season ticket, I don't think we've got this right. 

I agree with plenty of individual things in this, but I also fundamentally disagree with the problem that you are trying to fix. The problem is that customers want to pay for their events up front, maybe even split by DD over a number of months, whereas we are trying to come up with a way to prevent them doing that. Why? What is the benefit? What is the problem in allowing customers to behave like this?

Where I do agree is that we cannot ignore the fact that we clearly under-perform at getting in the event crowd who want to come along because it is a compelling evening's entertainment. I think we need to focus on that irrespective of any changes in approach to pricing/payment models. And I agree that that brings us onto a conversation around the holistic approach within the sport. We do appear to aggressively and single-mindedly focus on members and repeat custom, we constantly fish in the same pool and we are seeing diminishing returns. A great example of this imho is that if you are a member from Wigan you pay half the price of a ticket for Magic Weekend than if you are an RL virgin from Northumberland.

Diversification is key imho - we need a strong core of regular members who want to pay up front and manage their budgets - let's allow them to do just that. But we do also need a strong population of customers who are maybe seen as more casual and are interested in the event - more likely to just pay cash on the week of the game.  I don't agree that any kind of solution is getting DD-payers to become cash customers. The better strategy is the other way, and is something we have been successful in doing for the last 3 decades.

The problem (imho) isn't that we have a load of customers who don't like all-pay games - it is that we don't have others to complement them.

In an ideal world, you would target and cater for both of these populations (and others) and not have to make a choice one way or another.

Edited by Dave T
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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

I agree with plenty of individual things in this, but I also fundamentally disagree with the problem that you are trying to fix. The problem is that customers want to pay for their events up front, maybe even split by DD over a number of months, whereas we are trying to come up with a way to prevent them doing that. Why? What is the benefit? What is the problem in allowing customers to behave like this?

Where I do agree is that we cannot ignore the fact that we clearly under-perform at getting in the event crowd who want to come along because it is a compelling evening's entertainment. I think we need to focus on that irrespective of any changes in approach to pricing/payment models. And I agree that that brings us onto a conversation around the holistic approach within the sport. We do appear to aggressively and single-mindedly focus on members and repeat custom, we constantly fish in the same pool and we are seeing diminishing returns. A great example of this imho is that if you are a member from Wigan you pay half the price of a ticket for Magic Weekend than if you are an RL virgin from Northumberland.

Diversification is key imho - we need a strong core of regular members who want to pay up front and manage their budgets - let's allow them to do just that. But we do also need a strong population of customers who are maybe seen as more casual and are interested in the event - more likely to just pay cash on the week of the game.  I don't agree that any kind of solution is getting DD-payers to become cash customers. The better strategy is the other way, and is something we have been successful in doing for the last 3 decades.

The problem (imho) isn't that we have a load of customers who don't like all-pay games - it is that we don't have others to complement them.

In an ideal world, you would target and cater for both of these populations (and others) and not have to make a choice one way or another.

I agree, and just to chip in (call me bias), I think a very interesting case study would be Leeds. In the past 4 years, we've played a big variety of "Home" games: league and cup games at Headingley, but also double headers, season opening double headers, FTA coverage league games, games at Elland Road.

Of particular note for comparison for me would be the "Clash" games against Cas which was a marketing quip used first for our home game at ER against them, then again for our game at Headingley the following season. It noticeably delivered poorer results that second year.

I personally have always seen value in 1 off "big games" going to large regional venues that are larger than our current facilities - loop fixture(s) lend themselves to this imo.

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The excuse that people don’t like to pay on top of their season tickets or don’t want to pay in case they go to Old Trafford the week after doesn’t walk with me. It’s not like play off semi finals in football aren’t packed out for those reasons. Maybe the play off format just don’t work in RL, ie they don’t interest enough people. 

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16 minutes ago, Eddie said:

The excuse that people don’t like to pay on top of their season tickets or don’t want to pay in case they go to Old Trafford the week after doesn’t walk with me. It’s not like play off semi finals in football aren’t packed out for those reasons. Maybe the play off format just don’t work in RL, ie they don’t interest enough people. 

It doesn't matter whether it washes with you,  it is a fact -  the crowds are low.  It's not an opinion piece. Demand is lower for all pay games in UK sports, the likes of football can still often fill grounds though such is their demand. 

If this was a regular season pass game tonight,  you'd have 10 or 11k Wigan fans and the 4k Leeds fans.  We'd have a 15k crowd and it'd be all about the Rugby. 

Playoffs attract high numbers of away fans and high viewing figures. People are intereated in them. 

Edited by Dave T
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7 minutes ago, Dave T said:

It doesn't matter whether it washes with you,  it is a fact -  the crowds are low.  It's not an opinion piece. Demand is lower for all pay games in UK sports, the likes of football can still often fill grounds though such is their demand. 

If this was a regular season pass game tonight,  you'd have 10 or 11k Wigan fans and the 4k Leeds fans.  We'd have a 15k crowd and it'd be all about the Rugby. 

Playoffs attract high numbers of away fans and high viewing figures. People are intereated in them. 

I know crowds are low boss, what I’m saying is that it isn’t because people don’t want to pay for an extra game on top of their ST - the football play offs demonstrate that isn’t the case.  Therefore home fans don’t want to go for a different reason, which could be because they’re not that interested - what else could it be? 

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Just now, Eddie said:

I know crowds are low boss, what I’m saying is that it isn’t because people don’t want to pay for an extra game on top of their ST - the football play offs demonstrate that isn’t the case.  Therefore home fans don’t want to go for a different reason, which could be because they’re not that interested - what else could it be? 

Your evidence is actually not evidence. Football fans are not the same as RL fans. Sure we can see some similar behaviours,  but the demographic,  mindset and behaviours are very different. 

Do you know some RU clubs charge £80 for a ticket for a standard league game?  

You ask what else could it be,  I've told you. If you want evidence,  look at the Challenge Cup crowds when we gave them on the season ticket versus when we didn't.  This year,  Wire played Wakey over two consecutive weekends.  One week got over 8k, the next 2.5k. The reason is crystal clear.  If the drop was 8k to 6.5k you may have a point about not being as attractive,  but two identical games over two weeks shouldn't have the difference it is. 

We don't need to over think it.  Our customers behave in a certain way.  We insist they behave differently for a small number of games a year and then act surprised when they don't buy it. 

FWIW,  the crowd does look decent,  it looks like the Wigan fans have responded well in the latter half of the week. 

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2 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Your evidence is actually not evidence. Football fans are not the same as RL fans. Sure we can see some similar behaviours,  but the demographic,  mindset and behaviours are very different. 

Do you know some RU clubs charge £80 for a ticket for a standard league game?  

You ask what else could it be,  I've told you. If you want evidence,  look at the Challenge Cup crowds when we gave them on the season ticket versus when we didn't.  This year,  Wire played Wakey over two consecutive weekends.  One week got over 8k, the next 2.5k. The reason is crystal clear.  If the drop was 8k to 6.5k you may have a point about not being as attractive,  but two identical games over two weeks shouldn't have the difference it is. 

We don't need to over think it.  Our customers behave in a certain way.  We insist they behave differently for a small number of games a year and then act surprised when they don't buy it. 

FWIW,  the crowd does look decent,  it looks like the Wigan fans have responded well in the latter half of the week. 

Yeah agreed, the crowd is a lot bigger than was predicted, it sounds good. 
 

However the demographic at many football clubs is similar to rugby league - and as I said, their attendances go up not down when they reach the play offs.  I don’t think it’s surprising, the reason being that football play offs are clearly more attractive to paying spectators than the SL play offs. Not sure what can be done about that mind you. 

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9 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Yeah agreed, the crowd is a lot bigger than was predicted, it sounds good. 
 

However the demographic at many football clubs is similar to rugby league - and as I said, their attendances go up not down when they reach the play offs.  I don’t think it’s surprising, the reason being that football play offs are clearly more attractive to paying spectators than the SL play offs. Not sure what can be done about that mind you. 

I'm not convinced clubs  like Sheffield Utd,  Nottingham Forest  etc. Fan bases  are comparable to even the strongest RL clubs fan bases. 

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51 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I'm not convinced clubs  like Sheffield Utd,  Nottingham Forest  etc. Fan bases  are comparable to even the strongest RL clubs fan bases. 

They’re not who I was thinking of. More Blackpool, Preston, Accrington Stanley, Halifax Town and clubs in those sort of places, Hartlepool too. But anyway it’s all speculation isn’t it! 

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11 minutes ago, Eddie said:

They’re not who I was thinking of. More Blackpool, Preston, Accrington Stanley, Halifax Town and clubs in those sort of places, Hartlepool too. But anyway it’s all speculation isn’t it! 

There’s a potential here to be going in to the pro’s and con’s of having a play off system to decide the champions, here…

(Also worth pointing out that football can deliver however many tens of thousands for play off finals without relying on neutrals)

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1 hour ago, Eddie said:

Yeah agreed, the crowd is a lot bigger than was predicted, it sounds good. 
 

However the demographic at many football clubs is similar to rugby league - and as I said, their attendances go up not down when they reach the play offs.  I don’t think it’s surprising, the reason being that football play offs are clearly more attractive to paying spectators than the SL play offs. Not sure what can be done about that mind you. 

How many years are the same teams making the playoffs? Thats part of it.

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As well as the numbers, I think the demeanour of the home and away crowds is always fascinating in these games and must have some bearing on the teams' performance. Home crowds tend to be expectant and can become a bit moany; away crowds partisan and noisy.

I can confirm 30+ less sales for Scotland vs Italy at Workington, after this afternoons test purchase for the Tonga match, £7.50 is extremely reasonable, however a £2.50 'delivery' fee for a walk in purchase is beyond taking the mickey, good luck with that, it's cheaper on the telly.

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28 minutes ago, Just Browny said:

As well as the numbers, I think the demeanour of the home and away crowds is always fascinating in these games and must have some bearing on the teams' performance. Home crowds tend to be expectant and can become a bit moany; away crowds partisan and noisy.

The Salford fans certainly are! 

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