Sunday, 5 August 2018

UK Championship Attendances : 2016-18

The regular season has concluded and an exciting competition was enjoyed. The attendances were up on 2016 but down on 2017. The changing of teams involved each year has an impact on the averages so in reality it's hard to read too much into the total figures.

What we can see is the Summer Bash festival wasn't that successful this year, in terms of attendees. Also, because Toronto played its first two games away from its Lamport home ground and forfeited a third home match to compete in the SL Magic Weekend meant its average wasn't as high as it would otherwise had been. Let's look at individual clubs over the past two seasons (2016 vs 2018) to see how their attendance numbers have fared.

Pluses: London (+15.4%) Sheffield (+13.1) Toulouse (+13.1, one season comparison) Featherstone (+11.8) Average (+11.5) Swinton (+1.3).

Minuses: Leigh (-0.2%, middle season in SL) Batley (-1.6) Halifax (-11.8) Dewsbury (-15.2) Summer Bash (-25.8) Rochdale (-37.5, one season comparison).

Toronto and Barrow weren't eligible to be gauged.

CHAMPIONSHIP – Regular season only

2018 2017 2016
1 Toronto 5,781 Hull KR 7,351 Bradford 4,621
2 Leigh 3,539 Bradford 4,119 Leigh 3,545
3 Toulouse 2,437 Featherstone 2,457 Featherstone 2,071
4 Featherstone 2,316 Toulouse 2,154 Halifax 1,986
5 Halifax 1,752 Halifax 1,695 Dewsbury 1,181
6 Barrow 1,239 Batley 1,150 Batley 1,100
7 Batley 1,082 Dewsbury 1,089 Oldham 877
8 Dewsbury 1,001 Rochdale 878 Swinton 829
9 London 861 Oldham 815 London 746
10 Swinton 840 London 804 Workington 704
11 Sheffield 704 Swinton 791 Whitehaven 702
12 Rochdale 549 Sheffield 626 Sheffield 623

Summer B 11,805 Summer B 16,444 Summer B 15,912
Total 249,125 Total 279,664 Total 225,100
Avg 1,805 Avg 2,012 Avg 1,619

Summary: Hull KR's presence was huge in 2017, not only home games but travelling supporters too. Bradford too was missed in 2018 and those teams not being there took the average down. Toronto doesn't provide travelling fans despite it's strong home support, which is another factor to consider. Teams from offshore will never bring fans along but that is a small price to pay for expanding the game.

With those points taken into consideration, it was a reasonably supported competition. Many of the clubs are in smaller population centres, so will never have huge numbers turning up. Some in larger cities are clearly flying beneath the radar. Could they do more to enrich the game day experience and attract better crowds? Of course and that is something that they should be taking on board.

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