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Thread: SRP Crowds

  1. #1
    Immortal Contributor
    Burgs's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Country WA

    SRP Crowds

    Apparently the Grand Final sold out within hours, yet none of the six matches in the rest of the Finals fixtures would have reached 2/3rds capacity.
    Does this say more about the product or the audience?
    Both Semi's were also played in the relatively confined catchment of the North Island of New Zealand (roughly 300km from the Waikato in each instance), one against an International foe, one an absolute turf war, arguably both with Test intensity potential.
    Yet people are only prepared to invest time and money in a Final.
    While I believe there can be a small portion blamed on content, I think far more can be aimed at the audience themselves, current financial pressures and the short attention span of the current average punter.
    Yesterday I had a quick look at some of the oldest footage Bledisloe's on Stan.
    That wasn't for this reason, but it starkly stood out the composition of the massive crowds were "Anglo Saxon" and predominantly male.
    This was a time of a greater percentage of "white" All Blacks and the rise of Jonah Lomu.
    Current crowds you see at SRP is very mixed gender and particularly strong Islander (generalisation description I know) numbers.
    This is a fantastic addition/growth to the Code in both countries, plus in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
    Layman analysis would suggest that the Code has made professional participation and supporter engagement inroads into a new demographic, but perhaps the bigger issue being it's seemingly been at the expense of the old demographic?
    Where have "they" (actual and descendants) all gone. In both countries?
    Has there been that strong of a pull to online gaming, MMA and other alternative options for the "white kids"?
    Is it a financial disparity issue that isn't seeing as many "Islander kids" pulled away by technology and in fact their numbers have been consistent throughout?
    My recollection of 1990's Perth Club Rugby is that for several/many Clubs it was quiet a novelty to have any "Islander" players and the compulsory "All Black Trialists" that came over were invariably white.
    For the sake of absolute clarity, this in no way is an anti Islander post, hell, without that influence Rugby in Australia would truly be a basket case.
    What I am investigating is where has the original "base" gone and why?
    If it's because at Juniors the "locals" were getting knocked around by the "Islander" kids and lost interest? Then that's a thing, but why didn't we see growth in Touch or Sevens locally?
    If at Seniors was it white players will only keep playing if getting picked in Premier?
    If so, why haven't we seen new Clubs of the disenfranchised pop up?
    It seems a little like the onion analogy, or a so called "wicked problem", but I think there is as much, if not more, at play off field than on when it comes to crowd numbers and SRP engagement.
    This Final shows there is enough interest in New Zealand at least to sell out 50k within hours at least once a year, but battle to get over 10k for the rest of the season.
    In Australia, GIO Stadium Canberra currently holds 25k and would have been lucky to have filled half for a Quarter Final this year.
    The record apparently is for the Brumbies SR Finals win in 2004 at 28,773. That was against the Crusaders and, going on crowd footage, very few were supporting the men in red.
    People can bang on about Eddie, the Wallabies and RA all they like, but if the punters won't turn up when there is a quality product being offered then we have serious issues. And they aren't the ones being discussed.

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  2. #2
    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    I watched a 2 cents Rugby podcast yesterday where he compared Top 14, Premiership, URC & SR crowd figures. URC was the lowest average crowds SR next. Then Top 14 with Gallagher Premiership on top. But actually not a great deal of difference overall. His take is that the impression of poor crowds in SR is magnified by the empty seats & huge stadia capacities.
    Unfortunately whichever way you look at it, our numbers still look poor by comparison - in a small stadium.

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  3. #3
    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Having watched rugby for many years and having seen a substantial technology shift over the years, here is my personal opinion of why "live" crowds appear to have dwindled.

    Back in the day very few matches were broadcast "live" bar a few internationals, so if you wanted to see rugby you needed to make an effort to go and watch an actual match. Added to this the quality of transmission was not easy on the eye.

    A number of things happened:

    1) Content become more readily available.
    2) Content could be viewed at a time that suited
    3) Quality improved so much that sometimes the tv picture was far better than being at an actual match.
    4) Time management became poor, easier to watch on tv, than making time and effort to get out.
    5) "Fans" far more selective than they used to be, due to far more choices now than ever before for easily accessable entertainment.

    Thats my two cents worth.

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    Last edited by Tazzmania; 20-06-24 at 16:11.
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