Crowd numbers down 8% since 2012

Discussion in 'General Rugby League' started by rhugh89, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. rhugh89

    rhugh89 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Rugby league’s crowd crisis has gotten worse and worse since the independent commission took over


    Phil Rothfield, Sports Editor-at-Large, The Daily Telegraph
    July 31, 2017 7:02pm



    Rugby league is in big trouble.

    Since the independent commission came into power five years ago, 218,064 fans have gone missing.

    This despite chairman John Grant declaring in his first mission statement that he would lift average crowds from 16,415 to 20,000 by 2017.

    Instead they have fallen by almost eight per cent since he took charge.

    Combined with shrinking television ratings and a sharp decline in junior participation numbers, the game is going backwards.

    In your columnist’s humble opinion it is a combination of factors.


    ■ PLAYING too many games at big stadiums that fans don’t like.

    ■ THE high cost of tickets, food, petrol and parking.

    ■ POOR and inconsistent refereeing.

    ■ FOUL play that is rarely acted on.

    ■ THE concussion debate.

    ■ NEGATIVE media and lack of promotion by the clubs.

    ■ THE standard and predictability of football.

    ■ A POORLY thought out playing schedule.

    So go through the issues one by one with NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.

    Nothing can take away from the fact that 200,000 fewer fans have gone through the turnstiles and that TV ratings have fallen.

    CROWDS

    Greenberg says:

    We are currently averaging 15,117 — which is 2 per cent down on last year. We had a pretty rough start to the year with one of the wettest months on record to start the season but we have started to bridge the gap and hope to end up pretty close to last year.

    In fact, we have beaten last year’s crowds in six of the last seven weeks … so the trend is improving leading into the Finals. Crowds have been pretty stable for the last 10 to 15 years … but I agree we all need to do more to bump them up.

    We are in a very competitive environment — not just with sport — because there are so many options for people to choose from when determining how they spend their leisure time.

    And, clearly, the television coverage of our game is so good that many people like watching the game at home. But, having said that, we need to work with the clubs to encourage more people to attend games. I was at Cameron Smith’s 350th game at the weekend and I can assure you there is nothing quite like being there.

    STADIUMS

    Fans don’t want to watch football with no atmosphere and 80 per cent of the venue empty. By far the best games in Sydney this year have been played at the suburban grounds.

    Yet the NRL blatantly ignores this and gets into bed with the State Government to spend $1.6 billion at ANZ, Allianz and Parramatta. The upgrade at Parramatta is a wonderful investment in Sydney’s west but fans at other Sydney clubs have been ignored.

    Greenberg says:

    I think we have seen that, given the right game, we can attract a big crowd to any stadium. Our Origin matches are sell outs, Brisbane attract big crowds to Suncorp every week and we had great crowds at the big stadiums over Easter and Anzac Day.

    And one of the highlights for me was the community day the Sharks put on which attracted a sellout crowd. So the fans will attend if there is good reason.

    COSTS

    Although good value membership packages are available for rusted on supporters, the casual fan and families can easily spend $250 by the time they have purchased seats, food and beverages, petrol and parking. It’s far easier on the weekly budget to watch on television from home.

    Greenberg says:

    I think the cost of tickets — particularly the family tickets offered by most clubs — are pretty attractive and good value. And, while tickets and food and controlled largely by the stadiums and clubs, we’d love to see any reduction which will attract more fans to the game. Certainly, we will be looking to make ticket prices affordable during the Finals series.

    REFEREEING

    Social media is in meltdown almost every game, every week. The biggest problem is inconsistency.

    Penalties at the 2pm Sunday game are ignored in the 4pm game. Both St George-Illawarra coach Paul McGregor and the Canberra Raiders’ Ricky Stuart have gone ballistic in the last two weeks. McGregor even described it as “Incompetent and embarrassing.”

    Greenberg says:

    “I think people have been passionate about referees since the game began more than 100 years ago and I don’t expect that to change.

    “Most people watch games through their team colours and that’s what creates so much passion and debate, which is one of rugby league’s greatest strengths. As long as you have humans involved there will be errors from time to time.

    We are doing all we can to minimise mistakes but there are so many 50/50 calls in a game that there will always be people who have a different view to the referees.”

    FOUL PLAY

    This is a game that sends players to the sin bin for slapping. Yet if you bash superstar fullback Billy Slater unconscious with a vicious swinging arm and closed fist you’re allowed to stay on the field. Again last weekend.

    Parramatta’s Kenny Edwards attacks the head of an opponent on the ground, UFC style. Manly forward Addin Fanua-Blake bashes Cooper Cronk in the jaw. No send offs no sin bins. This is a massive turn off for women and families.

    Greenberg says:

    I know we have had a few unfortunate incidents recently but, overall, I think the game has never been cleaner.

    There have been very few deliberate and serious acts of foul play this year. Coaches and players know they cannot afford to miss games.

    CONCUSSION

    Stories out of America about the plight of former NFL players has had a carry-over effect in the NRL. At least Todd Greenberg has cracked down on the treatment of head knocks with the immediate removal of players from the field of play. Sadly he does nothing about the foul play involved in many of the head injuries.

    Greenberg says:

    I think we have led the way in dealing with concussion. That work is continuing and we will not let up. But the clubs have really come on board and recognise the importance of identifying and dealing with head injuries.

    MEDIA

    The clubs wouldn’t have a clue how to promote big time sport. Instead of using communication and marketing experts to sell the game, coaches often determine the amount of newspaper, TV, digital and radio coverage that players and the club gets. All players are well trained now to give boring, stereotype answers.

    Greenberg says:

    Overall, I think the media coverage of our game is very positive. Naturally people are going to talk about issues which arise but that is part of the game. I have said consistently that people will judge us on how you deal with issues rather than the issue itself.

    SCHEDULING

    Who would allow a draw that robs free-to-air viewers from watching Cameron Smith’s 350th game in Melbourne yesterday. Instead they show the care-factor-zero Titans game against the Wests Tigers. This happens every week.

    Parramatta play the Bulldogs this week. A huge game for Eels fans that would attract 35,000 on a Sunday afternoon. It’s on Thursday night. Hopefully it’s a problem that should be solved when the NRL takes control of the schedule next year.

    Greenberg says:

    So much work goes into the schedule and there are many conflicting demands. We have to take into account the availability of grounds, we try to limit 5 day turnarounds, there are requests from clubs for particular match-ups and the host broadcasters want to televise matches which attract the most viewers. So it is tough to please everyone.

    But, from next year, we will have more control over the schedule and we will take on board the feedback we receive from clubs and fans to deliver the best possible outcome.

    STANDARD OF FOOTY

    There have been too many low quality matches this year. Thursday night should be a marquee television production yet we get shockers like Penrith against Canterbury last week. There is still too much of the four hit ups, a shift and a kick. Teams are too programmed. No-one wants to take a risk.

    Greenberg says:

    I don’t think anyone can criticise the standard of football. Our players and clubs are so strong. Look at the quality of football during the Origin period. It sometimes drops away with the stars missing but the squads are so strong now that we had some of our best games during the Origin rounds.


    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sp...r/news-story/fe38f8bc6dc147bd5b02c3968e4bef68
     
  2. rhugh89

    rhugh89 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Here are the numbers according to the DT

    Crowds.png
     
  3. Frank McWilliams

    Frank McWilliams Robbie McCormack

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    Every game on television/Foxtel, at home is cheaper, more comfortable, no traffic/parking, time saving due to no travel, don't have to put up with idiots, don't miss a thing pause when on drink and toilet break.
     
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  4. member 2299

    member 2299 Andrew 'Joey' Johns

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    What you say and no leadership at the top Frank.

    I have played and followed League for seventy years and have never seen the state of play so poor. Everything has to be softened with pillows, no shoulders, too many interchanges, outright rorting by Clubs of the salary cap and TPA's. This weekend we saw Cameron Smith make the 350 games mark. No doubt a credit to him, but hookers would never play that many games even in the Real NRL competitions. Ask Alan Buman or Ducky Williams!

    And as for the state of refereeing it is a shambles. More former players are needed in the refs ranks, but not for former club games á lá General Paton and Ole 'Enry. We see deliberate foul play and no one is ever sent off, but the easy way on report is taken. Don't think I am a Storm fan, but Billy Slater was deliberately hit and taken out of the game whilst his attacker plays merrily along.

    And as for programming Thursday and Friday nights seem to be the domain of the Donkeys because it suits Channel 9's pockets to have a live game into Brisbane and the home and away concept has been abandoned to suit again Channel 9's marketing department.

    State of Origin has become the be all and end all for one simple reason. Dollars. The day after Origin 111, up pops an email from NRL HQ advising Game 1 2018 is to be held at the MCG and book tickets now at only $265.00 per head.

    The NRL is spending more money promoting the game to the Pacific Islands than is allocated to Country Rugby League and Junior Rugby League. Charity begins at home.

    And why the commitment to the State Government on spending money on ANZ Stadium? League uses it to capacity for one SOO game and the GF per year. Now the AFL have entered the fray to have the ground made oval to suit them and remove how many thousands of seats for a crowd of about 10,000 GWS draws?

    I had better stop before being called on old wowser and whinger, but this is the tip of the iceberg!
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  5. cowboyman

    cowboyman Adam Woolnough

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    Last Saturday was the perfect chance for a double header in Sydney. 2 out of town teams playing in the 2 biggest stadiums in Sydney.

    Why not a double header at Allianz stadium and get 30-40k fans instead of 2 games that attracted what 10k each?

    The NRL say they care about prices being affordable for families etc but they don't show anything to back up these claims.
     
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