Super League to focus on Grand Final uplift

Super League officials are determined to restore the reputation of the Grand Final for attracting close to sellout crowds at Old Trafford when the game is played at the Theatre of Dreams on 24th September next year.

The 2021 Grand Final between St Helens and Catalans Dragons last month drew a crowd of 45,177, which was the lowest figure since the inaugural Grand Final in 1998 between Wigan and Leeds, which drew 43,533.

Since then, the attendance has regularly topped 70,000 and they are hoping to see a return to those sort of figures with an improved marketing strategy and more attractions on the day.

“This year’s Grand Final was fantastic and the result was in doubt until the final hooter,” said Super League Head of Marketing Rob Porteous.

“The last two years have been difficult for obvious reasons, but for the sport to thrive we need to ensure that the Grand Final is the biggest event in the Rugby League calendar and we have a long term strategy to achieve that aim.

“I don’t think we have invested enough resource into Manchester itself. What are we doing to ensure the people of Manchester know about the event?

“It’s the same with Magic and the city of Newcastle.

“For the legacy and the long term health of Super League, this is about the youth of Manchester recognising what they have in their midst.. We need a legacy of people attending on a regular basis.

“So the question is, how do we get more people committing to the Grand Final as early as possible. This is about the Grand Final being an occasion, not just a game.

“It’s noticeable that when we put our best players on the biggest stages, they rise to the occasion.

“We will have other initiatives on pricing. I’ve listened to the fans about family pricing. Next season there will be two new areas to host 12,000 people that will be aimed at junior rugby groups with tickets priced very reasonably.

“For Covid reasons we couldn’t have a band in 2020 or 2021, but we will be able to do so next year.

“But in 2021 Old Trafford had new floodlights, which could be turned on and off at the flick of a switch and allowed us to do a great light show, which will be available again if we want to use that technology with a Grand Final band.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.