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The NRL's gotta spend money to make money on Mondee

Benji Marshall is off to the Broncos. (by Robb Cox ©nrlphotos.com)
Roar Guru
26th March, 2015
33

There are several ways the NRL can maximise their crowd potential, the prime being improving crowd numbers for Monday night games.

Monday night games are obviously designed to look after Fox Sports’ best interests. The viewing numbers are massive for them and as a fan I love a game to watch when I get home from work after a long Monday.

However this timeslot has become a horror show for the home teams, as it generally means lower gate takings, with crowds of 10 to 12 thousand common.

There are plenty of issues that stop punters attending NRL on a Monday night. Finishing work at 5:30pm doesn’t give you enough time to get to the game, and the 9pm finish means getting home too late.

Another irritating issue is the lack of game day staff. The clubs seem unprepared for a late walk-up crowd, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. Many fans are unable to get to the game until right on kick-off, then are forced to miss up to half the game; you can’t blame them for not bothering with a Monday game again.

The recent Tigers vs Dragons game at Campbelltown saw thousands of people still outside the ground when the game kicked off. This delay was so bad that the final 200 people were let in for free. That’s all well and good for those people, but what about the many others before them who were forced to pay for a game that was basically decided by the time they got in the ground?

While this incident received media coverage, the Dragons vs Storm match at Kogarah the week before saw a similar problem. I was in attendance and saw the problems first hand.

Those arriving just before kick-off were forced to wait in significant lines to purchase a ticket, and the problem was even worse for members. My friend, who is a Red V member, needed to pick up his membership in order to get into the game. This saw him wait in a line for over half an hour and not enter the ground until after a quarter of the game had elapsed. Not the way to treat your members.

Yes pre-purchased tickets are an option, but if you work in an industry when you are not completely sure what time you will get out of the office then you can’t be sure you are going to attend until only a couple of hours before kickoff.

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The clubs need to ensure they have adequate staff in the hour leading up to a Monday night game. I can see the clubs’ reluctance to do this, as why should they pay for more staff when the low Monday night crowds already see them lose money?

Maybe the NRL needs to provide funding to clubs to make sure the fans aren’t being locked out and Monday night football becomes a viable option to attend.

While this might only make a slight difference to attendance numbers, it would ensure that the NRL is doing everything in its power to get as many people to the game as possible.

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