Well, Ma, that sure don’t look like a bandwagon
Image credit: Brisbane Roar
Over the past few weeks, much has been made of the Brisbane Roar’s so called “fall from grace” along with a lot of description of how everyone here in Queensland is jumping off the “bandwagon”.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
So-called respected newspapers have been publishing all sorts of articles full of the same idea: Queenslanders only support their team when they are winning, be it the Roar, Reds, Broncos, Lions, Wallabies, Maroons or some regional darts comp.
Well, it’s for maths class, kids.
First, let’s take a look at the case in question, the Brisbane Roar. Last year’s average excluding finals was 10,379 people – that’s over ten regular season games, with moved games not included.
All of a sudden, 10,008 people turn up to a standard game and people start losing their rag about Queensland fans.
Last year’s lowest turn-out, while The Roar was on their massive winning streak, was 5051. This year, it hasn’t dropped below 10,000. Saturday night’s attendance was pretty much bang on average. There was never a bandwagon following in the first place given those statistics.
So with that myth busted, let’s take a look at the next one: the Reds.
At the lowest point in 2009, where the team essentially hadn’t had anything to spruik for eight years, the average was 18,300. Surely if their attendance relied on a bandwagon, that would be much lower? In 2010 it went to 24,000, and in 2011 33,000. This seems to be the part where everyone coughs and says bandwagoning. Again, I would disagree.
After a decade on the wrong side of results the Queensland Rugby Union and the Reds were completely out of touch with the fan-base, and only absolute die-hards (that 18,000 or so of them) would turn up each week. When the team finally got back in touch with the fan-base, they did it in such a big way that everyone came back.
It takes years for a fan-base to grow or die, and even when it is dying after years of poor performance many fans will come back. The Brisbane Lions still average 20,000 despite some very poor performances.
The Wallabies, even when the team hadn’t achieved anything, never had a crowd of below 40,000 in Queensland at the redeveloped Suncorp Stadium. The Maroons never below 52,000.
So in terms of crowd support, there is no question that Queensland is not a state of bandwagoners – we support our teams through thick and thin. There is a peak and trough with every team, but it is nowhere near the level of the hyperbole in the press and comments in online media.