Todd Greenberg doesn’t seem to be worried about NRL crowd figures for 2017, saying in an interview after the weekend’s finals, “Sydney average crowds have not changed for the best part of two decades – they are usually one or two per cent up or down annually, year on year.”
After doing some digging, I generally have to agree with him (at the bottom of the page is a list of the average attendances for the past decade, including all finals games, except for 2017).
But, as a game, are we happy to throw up the white flag and accept defeat in crowd figures?
Some of the most common responses to why people don’t go to games is the scheduling, costs, and excellent TV coverage. However, the scheduling and television coverage has changed a lot over the past decade, and the crowd figures have remained the same.
Which only leaves… the cost.
I will use my example of going to see my beloved Roosters play this season. The total cost for a night or day at the game for my wife and me (no kids) is roughly $120.00:
Entry – $30 (with memberships at $150.00 each for the year)
Parking – $25
Drinks – $33 (four beers and one soft drink)
Food – $32 (two hotdogs and two hot chips)
These prices are beyond crazy – particularly when added to the rising costs of everything in Sydney, from house prices, rent, petrol – and it’s a wonder how people get to the game at all.
If we want to grow crowd figures, we need a serious look into the budget.
If the NRL slashed all other prices by half and doubled attendance, not only would you get the same outcome financially, but the atmosphere would be better, encouraging even more fans to attend games.
It’s time to crunch the numbers, Greenberg. Strive to improve, not just settle.
Crowd figures 2008-17
2017 – 14,919 (not including final crowd figures)
2016 – 16,057
2015 – 16,155
2014 – 16,798
2013 – 16,643
2012 – 17,346
2011 – 17,243
2010 – 17,367
2009 – 17,098
2008 – 16,321