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URC Attendances are slowly growing again - for most clubs

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URC Attendances are slowly growing again - for most clubs Empty URC Attendances are slowly growing again - for most clubs

Post by Pot Hale Wed Jan 11, 2023 9:28 pm

We're two-thirds of the way through the season, and recent figures show that fan attendances for the league are growing overall with the usual boost from derbies creating a new round record in the history of the league.

Average fan attendances for each of the clubs have increased this season from last, and total attendances after Round 12 were over 830,000.  There may be a slowdown over the next 3 rounds to be held during Six Nations, but Rounds 16-18 and knockouts in April/May should boost numbers again particularly with so many unions teams likely to be involved in the knockout stages.  After the 2018/19 season, Covid impacted all attendances, but they seem to be slowly growing again.

URC have published some stats on attendances for some of the rounds, others have collated them into summaries for the season.   These are a couple I found on-line.

Edit: I'll update as season continues in this post.


URC Attendances are slowly growing again - for most clubs Urc_at10

URC Attendances are slowly growing again - for most clubs Urc_cl11


Last edited by Pot Hale on Fri Jan 13, 2023 12:51 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : Update notice)
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Post by Pot Hale Wed Jan 11, 2023 9:30 pm

Average attendances look like this:

URC Attendances are slowly growing again - for most clubs Urc_cl12
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Post by Hazel Sapling Wed Jan 11, 2023 10:13 pm

Interesting to see the stats for this year but really need a graph comparing 2021 to 2022 at the same point to see if it is growing year-on-year.

The Saffa teams have added something to the league and the level of play at the top has really improved.

From the Scots perspective, Glasgow need a bigger stadium (12k) for the next stage of our growth.

One thing that is concerning though is Benetton's failure to turn its relative success on the field into higher attendances. May need a season or two more to translate

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Post by Pot Hale Wed Jan 11, 2023 10:55 pm

Hazel Sapling wrote:Interesting to see the stats for this year but really need a graph comparing 2021 to 2022 at the same point to see if it is growing year-on-year.

The Saffa teams have added something to the league and the level of play at the top has really improved.

From the Scots perspective, Glasgow need a bigger stadium (12k) for the next stage of our growth.

One thing that is concerning though is Benetton's failure to turn its relative success on the field into higher attendances. May need a season or two more to translate

Direct comparison with last year would include Covid-restricted crowds, admittedly. Here's three teams for comparison:

Connacht - after 6 home matches had 28,607, and 44,364 total for season - 4,929 average. This year after 6 matches, they're on 32,852 - 5,475 average.
Cardiff - after 7 home matches had 51,725, and 68,214 total for season - 7,579 average. This year after 7 matches, they're on 55,739 - 7,963 average
Glasgow - after 5 home matches had 26,740 (restricted for 1 match to 500) , and 53,687 total - 5,965 average at 81% capacity.
This year after 5 home matches, they're on 31,305 - 6,261 average at 85% capacity.

You're right about Glasgow's stadium though. Same with Connacht - who have plans in place to develop Sportsground into a 12k capacity in next couple of seasons. They need the additional corporate and fan revenue to boost their squad profile and quality.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:22 am

Hazel Sapling wrote:Interesting to see the stats for this year but really need a graph comparing 2021 to 2022 at the same point to see if it is growing year-on-year.

The Saffa teams have added something to the league and the level of play at the top has really improved.

From the Scots perspective, Glasgow need a bigger stadium (12k) for the next stage of our growth.

One thing that is concerning though is Benetton's failure to turn its relative success on the field into higher attendances. May need a season or two more to translate
I wonder what has happened to the Bulls. They used to have the highest average attendance in club rugby around the time they won Super rugby. I think the Lions had an average attendance around 15k too in super rugby. Plenty of room for growth there.

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Post by RiscaGame Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:25 am

I guess Dragons' figure is due to playing two derbies already. I would say we are about a 4000 attendees team. There have been a couple of times, where the attendance has seemed to be less than what is recorded too.

I think we had a real chance of pulling in a few more supporters, but lost a lot of good momentum gained from block 1 and the derby defeat to Cardiff hurt us too. A bit of a pity we have to give up another derby game to Judgement Day, but then again it ought to boost our average attendance.

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Post by Collapse2005 Thu Jan 12, 2023 9:37 am

Looks like SA sides are using stadia that are just too big for the league. I guess their fans arent that interested in the URC.

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Post by Oakdene Thu Jan 12, 2023 10:06 am

Collapse2005 wrote:Looks like SA sides are using stadia that are just too big for the league. I guess their fans arent that interested in the URC.

I agree somewhat but the other side of the coin is do they want to watch their side playing the second string of teams when the likes of the Scarlets are going out there without their internationals?

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Thu Jan 12, 2023 10:07 am

Collapse2005 wrote:Looks like SA sides are using stadia that are just too big for the league. I guess their fans arent that interested in the URC.
Their attendances collapsed towards the later years of super rugby and haven't recovered since. The Bulls had an attendance of 5k for a sunwolves game for instance. They've been mostly getting good attendances for the derby matches and outside of that seem to be on par with later year super rugby games, though I haven't looked at the data.

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Post by Hazel Sapling Thu Jan 12, 2023 10:16 am

Super Rugby was dropping off for years so really the comparison is the latter years. I do agree that the SA stadiums are probably 3x the size they should be

The key will be developing the rivalries. Over time, I suspect the Irish provinces and Scots teams will have some hot blooded, close games with the Saffas. At its peak, Super Rugby was a close contest and we are seeing that in the URC at the minute with only Leinster really establishing a gap.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jan 12, 2023 10:21 am

Ulster attendances are going in the other direction and I suspect this trend will continue next year

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Post by Pot Hale Thu Jan 12, 2023 11:43 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Ulster attendances are going in the other direction and I suspect this trend will continue next year

Last season, Ulster had:
54,006 after 5 games, and achieved 106,709 for the total season - average of 11,856.  This season so far, they are:
70,265 for 5 games, and average of 14,053.

In 2018/19 season, they had
62,951 after 5 games, and 136,960 for the season - average of 13,696 over 10 games.  

So with number of season home games reducing from 10 to 9, the season total will possibly drop from 4 seasons ago, but we'll see at season's end where they are.  They're 66,695 off the 2019 total - with 4 home games remaining - Stormers, Bulls, Dragons and Edinburgh.
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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jan 12, 2023 12:42 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:Ulster attendances are going in the other direction and I suspect this trend will continue next year

Last season, Ulster had 54,006 after 5 games, and achieved 106,709 for the total season - average of 11,856.  This season so far, they are 70,265 for 5 games, and average of 14,053.

In 2018/19 season, they had 62,951 after 5 games, and 136,960 for the season - average of 13,696 over 10 games.  

So with number of season home games reducing from 10 to 9, the season total will possibly drop from 4 seasons ago, but we'll see at season's end where they are.  They're 66,695 off the 2019 total - with 4 home games remaining - Stormers, Bulls, Dragons and Edinburgh.

We have played the three inter provincial - did not sell out for any of them.
Zebre was a sell out only because of tickets being sold at half price.

We wont get 66,695 for the last 4 games.

As you mention 2021/22 was lower than 18/19
Looking at the decade that looks like a downward trajectory to me
2013–14 13,348
2014–15 16,037
2015–16 15,310
2016–17 15,961
2017–18 14,026
2018–19 13,835
2019–20 13,818
2020–21
2021–22 11,469

Season Tickets are steadily falling and I believe they are braced for a big fall this summer

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Post by Pot Hale Thu Jan 12, 2023 1:06 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:Ulster attendances are going in the other direction and I suspect this trend will continue next year

Last season, Ulster had 54,006 after 5 games, and achieved 106,709 for the total season - average of 11,856.  This season so far, they are 70,265 for 5 games, and average of 14,053.

In 2018/19 season, they had 62,951 after 5 games, and 136,960 for the season - average of 13,696 over 10 games.  

So with number of season home games reducing from 10 to 9, the season total will possibly drop from 4 seasons ago, but we'll see at season's end where they are.  They're 66,695 off the 2019 total - with 4 home games remaining - Stormers, Bulls, Dragons and Edinburgh.

We have played the three inter provincial - did not sell out for any of them.
Zebre was a sell out only because of tickets being sold at half price.

We wont get 66,695 for the last 4 games.

As you mention 2021/22 was lower than 18/19
Looking at the decade that looks like a downward trajectory to me
2013–14  13,348
2014–15  16,037
2015–16  15,310
2016–17  15,961
2017–18  14,026
2018–19  13,835
2019–20  13,818
2020–21
2021–22  11,469

Season Tickets are steadily falling and I believe they are braced for a big fall this summer

Yes - you're right.  I've amended the OP and topic title to reflect this.
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Post by neilthom7 Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:27 pm

I have issues believing some of Ulsters sellouts are actually sellouts.

I was at that Zebre game for example which was a supposed sell out according to the twitter page and there was empty seats all over the place. Not just in the stand I was in but in the other 2 stands that I could easily see form where I was.

It could have been a lot of people bought tickets then never showed up of course but it could also be that Ulster aren't being entirely truthful.

Generally the season ticket holders are a bit annoyed at Ulster right now as there is a feeling we are being taken for granted so I can see where Geoff is coming from on thinking we will trend downward tickets wise

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Post by Pot Hale Fri Jan 13, 2023 11:00 am

neilthom7 wrote:I have issues believing some of Ulsters sellouts are actually sellouts.

I was at that Zebre game for example which was a supposed sell out according to the twitter page and there was empty seats all over the place.  Not just in the stand I was in but in the other 2 stands that I could easily see form where I was.

It could have been a lot of people bought tickets then never showed up of course but it could also be that Ulster aren't being entirely truthful.

Generally the season ticket holders are a bit annoyed at Ulster right now as there is a feeling we are being taken for granted so I can see where Geoff is coming from on thinking we will trend downward tickets wise

Yes, I can see what you mean. Terrible situation for the club. It needs the revenue in order to keep its current roster of players. Perhaps there'll be a clearout of the more expensive ones.
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Post by neilthom7 Fri Jan 13, 2023 7:36 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
neilthom7 wrote:I have issues believing some of Ulsters sellouts are actually sellouts.

I was at that Zebre game for example which was a supposed sell out according to the twitter page and there was empty seats all over the place.  Not just in the stand I was in but in the other 2 stands that I could easily see form where I was.

It could have been a lot of people bought tickets then never showed up of course but it could also be that Ulster aren't being entirely truthful.

Generally the season ticket holders are a bit annoyed at Ulster right now as there is a feeling we are being taken for granted so I can see where Geoff is coming from on thinking we will trend downward tickets wise

Yes, I can see what you mean.  Terrible situation for the club.  It needs the revenue in order to keep its current roster of players.  Perhaps there'll be a clearout of the more expensive ones.

Perhaps, I do wonder how many are really expensive though to be fair.

Only Henderson for example is a regular Ireland starter.

Non Irish wise Vermuelen and Carter are both off this summer, Toomaga Allen is anyones guess but I doubt they keep him, Sutherland is only until end of season. Kitschoff will be in which will be a big salary, there were rumours about another big name South Africa forward but who knows if that will materialise.

The rest I struggle to believe would command really top salaries although they probably have quite a few what I would class as 'higher middle' salaries.

If Cooney declares for Scotland he would likely be off this summer too, he would be another of the bigger earners I'd imagine

Theres a few bits of deadwood in there that need to go as well.

One thing I will give Ulster about the season tickets is they allow you to pay across 3-4 payments interest free, which is a useful thing for people who don't have the money to splurge all at once these days.

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