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Is Rugby in Trouble in Oz?

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Gnostic

Mark Ella (57)
We haven't had a sell out in any of the tests this year and some were very poorly attended.

Have a look at the Free to Air results for the Bled Vs the League and AFL. The Bled got an Average (approximates) of over 300K the League 700K (though this was a double header and skews the results) and ALF 900K. I haven't seen any reports of the Pay results but would expect a large Rugby audience there which could make the Rugby result better nationally.

The ARU made a loss last year and the feeling is that this will be repeated on a bigger scale this year coupled with the pressures associated with the Reds bale out.

Given the diminishing crowds and viewer numbers will our sponsors be looking elsewhere? We have for a long time played upon and used the Old Boys network to maintain Rugby but how much longer will that sustain the Professional game? On top of all that there have been rumours going around for quite a while about a mjaor sponsor of the ARU saying they are going to walk.

IMO it is essential for the future of the game in Oz that the Wallabies play a very appealing brand of Rugby, as they have started to do in the last two games, AND they must start winning games. On top that that there must be consistant understandable refereeing of the matches. Finally the S15 teams must also play an appealing brand of Rugby (Obviously not what the Tahs have played for the last ten years).
 

Groucho

Greg Davis (50)
It's a recurring myth that crowds are down. They are, but only by a few thousand, and this year's are better than last year's. Here are the home averages since 2004:

Year Total Games Average
2004 292078 6 48680
2005 303023 6 50504
2006 319982 6 53330
2007 242226 5 48445
2008 271541 5 54308
2009 250193 6 41699
2010 307537 7 43934

Wallabies home crowds have been going through this 40k-50k cycle since the early 90s. There was a purple patch 1999-2003 where the average was over 50k, but apart from that period, the trend is steadily up, not down. I have the figures to hand because I'm researching a blog article on attendances.
 

Gnostic

Mark Ella (57)
Doesn't look like a myth to me grouch, the last two years show a definite dip in numbers over the prior years. However match attendances are not the whole story as I believe average S14 attendances were up.

The facts are that the majority of funding comes from TV rights and sponsorships which are also dependent on TV viewer figures.

One big possible saviour I can see in the near future is the inclusion of the 7s in the Olympics.
 

Groucho

Greg Davis (50)
Doesn't look like a myth to me grouch, the last two years show a definite dip in numbers over the prior years. However match attendances are not the whole story as I believe average S14 attendances were up.

The facts are that the majority of funding comes from TV rights and sponsorships which are also dependent on TV viewer figures.

One big possible saviour I can see in the near future is the inclusion of the 7s in the Olympics.

It's like climate change. You could draw a trend line from the high of 2006 to the low of 2009 and say crowds are falling. But if you take a statistical view, the trend in the professional era is steadily upwards. The current cycle is typical of that. We just happen to be at the low point in the curve, and at the usual time as well. It's just the normal cycle.
 

Jethro Tah

Bob Loudon (25)
An expanded Super 15 with less OS travel and more local derbys is a step in the right direction plus throw in a WC on the doorstep and in the same timezone. Is Rugby in trouble? IMO, no. We may be going through a rough patch at the moment but 2011 and beyond should see a rejuvenation. Who knows, we may even see another attempt at ARC in 2012 if all goes well.

G&GR is certainly doing more than it's fair share in an effort to stop the rot. Keep it up!
 

The_Brown_Hornet

Nick Farr-Jones (63)
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that Aussie rugby was in trouble I'd have...about 3 bucks. Anyway, jokes aside, the problems I believe are down to:

1, Drop off in performance by Australian sides in the last few years. The test team is the flagship of the brand and needs to maintain that win percentage to keep punters coming through the gate.

2, A drift away from the running rugby that characterised Aussie rugby at its most successful. This is as much about the S14 sides as it is the test team. Fortunately the Reds played a fantastic brand of footy this year, which brought the crowds back at Suncorp. More of that please. The Wallabies also seem to have rediscovered the flair that once used to be our hallmark

3, Ticket prices. Bloody hell they are extortionate. Something needs to be done about that if they want to attract family groups.

I think the S15 will be just the fillip the code needs next year, with more games, more of them local and more opportunity to market the game to a mass audience. It's not all doom and gloom, especially if the Wallabies continue to improve.
 

RedsHappy

Tony Shaw (54)
It's a recurring myth that crowds are down. They are, but only by a few thousand, and this year's are better than last year's. Here are the home averages since 2004:

Year Total Games Average
2004 292078 6 48680
2005 303023 6 50504
2006 319982 6 53330
2007 242226 5 48445
2008 271541 5 54308
2009 250193 6 41699
2010 307537 7 43934

Wallabies home crowds have been going through this 40k-50k cycle since the early 90s. There was a purple patch 1999-2003 where the average was over 50k, but apart from that period, the trend is steadily up, not down. I have the figures to hand because I'm researching a blog article on attendances.

Groucho - are you sure the no of home Wallaby games for, for example, 2008 and 2009 is not 6 and 7 respectively vs 5 and 6? See http://www.rugby.com.au fixture and results section, that's what it seems to be from my reading. Perhaps I have missed something?

It would also be interesting to track S14 attendances over this period. I would also suspect that 'home Bleds per year, 1 or 2' would produce a typical variation in the gross and average attendances when there were 2.

Also, I am struggling to see how you argue that the 2004-10 trend of gate game averages is 'steadily up'.
 

Jnor

Peter Fenwicke (45)
I believe the trend is steadily up since the early 90s, not in the period 04-present. I don't think there's huge cause for concern about rugby's state in this country and the Super 15 with the more local focus next year should really help broaden the appeal. Hopefully this will lead to an FTA deal for S15 in the next couple of years, which would be hihgly significant too.

That, along with attractive (and winning) rugby and a number of other suggestions in the other threads like cheaper tickets and getting our game into primary schools should see proper improvement in numbers if they happen.
 

farva

Cyril Towers (30)
The Wallabies are quite successful at the moment.
We beat the Springbok in the high veldt for the first time in 100 million odd years. We have taken it right up to the All Blacks.
We are also playing exciting running rugby.

The S14 teams are also being reasonably successful. We had 3 teams vying for a finals spot with a 4th that was competitive when they had their full team available. And with the Reds playing the rugby that they were, it looked pretty good.

I also think that the law interpretations that were made this year have been a step in the right direction after several years mistakes. The current laws encourage ball in hand play, as well as forwards play, as opposed to kicking duels which no-one wants to see for an entire game. This should assist the brand in this country.

But we did only have 71k at the last Bled match, when a few years ago that would have been capacity. But then it was only a few decades ago we were getting 20k to Concord Oval for the similar fixture.
 
T

TOCC

Guest
blah blah blah.. we had 71'000 turn out to a dead rubber.... a dead rubber FFS

Gnostic, you are comparing finals football to a dead rubber, admittedly its still a test match, however its hardly like test matches against the kiwis are rare occurences these days.

Additionally Gnostic, you will find that the broadcast results on foxsports usually equal if not beat the results on FTA tv, therefore we are looking at a overall figure of around 600k viewers.

If you really want to look at the statistics Gnostic, i think you will find that as a collective group, that 2010 crowds had one of the largest turnouts for rugby union since 2006.

2011 crowds will without a doubt be up on average 20% in 2011 due to the increase in local derbies, ratings for maches will also jump based on the fact that there are more local games in prime time, to top it off there is a 30% increase in the overall number of matches increaseing the revenue raising ability of S14 clubs.
 

Hugh Jarse

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
It is still too bloody expensive to take the family to the footy.

How can we grow the game in battlersville, when only the rich Gold Pass holders and corporates get along to the games?

Lower the prices, and fill the stadiums. Nothing worse on TV than to see a 1/2 empty stadium. Hardly inspires one to make a special effort to the next big show.

Be less precious with the brand merchandise. More important to get the brand out there than to limit the range to the top of the range stuff only.
 

Spewn

Alex Ross (28)
I was glad to see JON back at the very least to stop Growden crapping on about fort fumble (which he now reserves for waratah HQ). But now I am not so sure. Perhaps we need a new CEO to change rugby's fortunes. And can we also get rid of Nucifora. What has he added?
 

TheRiddler

Dave Cowper (27)
It is still too bloody expensive to take the family to the footy.

Good point. The seat I was in on Saturday night (which was given to me by a friend) had a price of $144 attached to it. Whilst it was a decent seat with a good view, there is no way I would pay that amount out of my own wallet.
 

Gagger

Nick Farr-Jones (63)
Staff member
In 2009 the ARU cut expenditure by $5.3m, and made a healthy operating surplus of $6.1m

However, once they'd doshed out all the money everyone wants for the member unions, there was a deficit of $279k

So how much should the tickets be? $100 per family? $70 for you?

Just how much of that profit, that funds the member unions, do you guys propose stripping out?



From this post back in April http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/forum/threads/4979-Re-Eales-ARU-Finances?highlight=finances
 
L

Linus

Guest
It a pricing policy that naturally should be reviewed.

If there really are empty seats then you can lower the prices and still make the same profit. Simple mathematics, empty seats add $0 to the bottom line, 5000 x $40 naturally adds $200000 to the bottom line. And remember it's a product, what are tickets going for at the Swans final the week before, or the NRL semis next week? Not that I'm saying the are the same product but a NRL Grand Final ticket is $180, and it's regularly a sellout, (this week finals are $60) . Finals at the MCG max out at $125.

Sellouts naturally result in increased prices, next time round. I don't think for a minute that the ARU is that naive that the don't review the prices and set them to maximise profit. But I think the general feeling is that to lose a few dollars by selling out at lower price is preferable to look at empty seats.
 

farva

Cyril Towers (30)
It a pricing policy that naturally should be reviewed.

If there really are empty seats then you can lower the prices and still make the same profit. Simple mathematics, empty seats add $0 to the bottom line, 5000 x $40 naturally adds $200000 to the bottom line. And remember it's a product, what are tickets going for at the Swans final the week before, or the NRL semis next week? Not that I'm saying the are the same product but a NRL Grand Final ticket is $180, and it's regularly a sellout, (this week finals are $60) . Finals at the MCG max out at $125.

Sellouts naturally result in increased prices, next time round. I don't think for a minute that the ARU is that naive that the don't review the prices and set them to maximise profit. But I think the general feeling is that to lose a few dollars by selling out at lower price is preferable to look at empty seats.

Exactly. Even if they charge $40 or $50 less to get more people, these additional people will all buy a beer or two. Maybe a few will buy a jersey for their son. Some more will buy a pie or a hotdog. A lot will buy programmes. There are more ways to make money at a game than just ticket sales, and these other revenue streams increase with the more people no matter what the ticket price.
 

The_Brown_Hornet

Nick Farr-Jones (63)
Two years ago in Sydney I paid $130 for a gold seat at the Olympic Stadium. The view was pretty good, but not spectacular. This year I paid about $120 for a seat at Subi that was better. I only ever go by myself to these games, because there's no way I'm paying those prices for a family of four. A couple of comparisons: I've never paid more than $75 to watch a day of test cricket and this year when Carlton came over here to play, all four of us went to the game at Subi for $80.

I think we pay too much for rugby union in this country.
 

farva

Cyril Towers (30)
I aim for one test a year, as living in Adelaide I need to fly to one of the other major cities to do it. Generally I go for one of the top range tickets (as I only get to one game a year). The mate I go with and I normally end up in the middle of the pitch close to the front - great seats. But I would usually be looking at paying $180 for the ticket, if it were a Bledisloe game, and areound $130 for the Boks.
Thats a lot of money, given flights are normally about $300 and accommodation around $150 each.
I can only really afford to go to one test a year (usually try and sneak in the Brumbies vs Force match each year too).
 

Richo

John Thornett (49)
There's room for lots of change in both after-gate income and ticket structures. Part of the problem is stadium infrastructure (FYI: I haven't been to the new stadiums in Melbourne, so some of this may be redundant down there).

Stadiums in this country are far, far behind those in North America when it comes to maximising what you can make off punters after the gate. Soggy chips, crap pies, and VB are the order of the day here. Pick most major league stadiums in the US (ones built / renovated in the last decade) and you get a range of food options, from Maccas to BBQ ribs to hot dogs to gourmet burgers. You can buy Bud Lite, but also local microbrews. Merch ranges are big, there are lots of accessible merch stores, you can get something to remember the game for anything from $5 (love my Buffalo Sabres playing cards) to $200.

Ticket prices could be more aggressively structured. Instead of having three huge swathes of seating prices, make five or six. Make the best seats $250 a pop for all I care. There are people who will pay that to sit 30 rows back on the halfway line. But balance it out with $50 seats in the nosebleeds. Make those $250 seats WORTH IT -- VIP entry, snazzier drink options, etc.

All sports would benefit from the improvements in stadium infrastructure and making our stadiums world class (i.e. best-practice North American) should be a priority in all new development.
 

The_Brown_Hornet

Nick Farr-Jones (63)
Absolutely Richo. I lived in the US for a while and the food and drink facilities in their newer stadiums are vastly superior. We went to several baseball games at Minute Maid Park in Houston and that place was the very definition of a modern stadium. The ticket prices were quite reasonable and if you were smart about not spending too much money buying their booze, you could have a pretty cost-effective day out.
 
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