Sam McCulloch – How to Maximise Ground Revenues and Boosting Attendances

Another NRL season rolls by and once again we have some pretty ordinary crowd figures some weekends.

Suffice to say some of the worst crowds have been by low performing teams or played in atrocious weather conditions which to a degree is understandable, but another major pattern is the distance that prohibits interstate fans from attending and value for money.

Now I’m not slagging fans for not flying from Melbourne or New Zealand I’m merely pointing out a massive missed opportunity.

For example some of the lowest crowds have been Penrith v Brisbane 8,817, West’s v North Queensland 7,125, West’s v Melbourne 5,288, Parramatta v Titans 9,132 and Canberra v Penrith 9,176 (I swear this isn’t a Western Sydney beat up) but its time all NRL clubs pulled their heads out and started looking at different strategies to bring in revenue and stop whingeing at the NRL.

Now horrible weather spoiled the Tigers vs. Melbourne game but considering on the best days this game gets only 9-10,000 to attend and Melbourne fans don’t travel well so you have to find ways of dragging locals to the game.

Here are a few examples on how to improve Out of Town matches, Local Derbies and maximise revenue in taking the right games to Central Coast.

Out of Town Double Headers
Two Sydney teams enter into a partnership to trade a home game each and play a double header at each other’s Stadium, say West Tigers and Penrith Panthers they host one double header each at different stages of the year one at Campbelltown and the other at CUA Stadium and each team would take a split per game.

Let’s say West’s vs. Melbourne and Penrith vs. Canberra or West’s vs. Gold Coast and Penrith vs. North Queensland any time these teams have clashed in regular competition are lucky to average 9,000 fans per game, in taking these games to double header scenario and with both Stadiums holding 20,000+ it should be an easy sell out.

Most would argue its two small of a venue to host a double header and whilst this is only a modest increase of 11,000 fans per game at a minimum $30 per ticket (most people pay $30 to watch one game) that’s $330,000 extra revenue per club.

Now all the Sydney clubs should look at this when playing the Warriors, Cowboys, Titans, Raiders and Melbourne and other clubs whose fans have massive travel distances as a measure to boost attendances and give supporters/sponsors value for money.

Western Sydney Derbies
Double Headers can be used to smash attendances of local derbies say Tigers vs. Penrith and Bulldogs vs. Parramatta these matches have again an average of 16,000 fans, now imagine putting this on Saturday afternoon at ANZ Stadium this could easily attract 60,000 in attendance if not more fans through the gate,

Again you only charge $30 a ticket and split the gate the takings across all four clubs that’s $450,000 revenue per game per club.

Make this happen in the opening round of the season would be an extraordinary way for The NRL to promote Rugby League in the West and make great money in the process.

Sydney Triple Headers
The idea of a watching 3 games straight is a massive feet but let’s look at some games you could do it with Parramatta vs. St George, Bulldogs vs. Tigers and Panthers vs. Sharks these matches average 15,000 in regular season competition.

However doing this at ANZ you could tip the attendance to have a full stadium of 80,000+ in attendance, if you did this fixture twice a year with these 6 teams that’s an extra 12,000 spectators per team.

Now based on two sold out games at let’s say $40 a ticket that’s 6.5 million in ticket sale dollars split six ways.

Eastern Sydney Derbies
I told you this wasn’t just a Western Sydney beat up. Eastern Sydney clubs most matches excluding Anzac Day fixtures such as St George vs. Manly and Roosters vs. Sharks both attracted an average of 12,000 fans each.

Move these two matches to Allianz treat as a Roosters and St George home game and charge $30 per ticket you could easily sell out the Stadium and generate nearly $315,000 per club before a meat pie is eaten.

Central Coast
Central Coast has long been a source of revenue for clubs. They take poorly attended home matches from Sydney and move them to Gosford to leach of starved league fans on the Coast and get paid to do so, this admirable but mistaken as only this year we saw it sell out for the first time in a long time.

The only games I would take to Central Coast as a Sydney Club would be ones involving Newcastle. Knights fan do travel amazingly well to Sydney even better than Manly fans do, but how many would travel half that distance to the Central Coast to see their beloved Knights?

Roosters vs. Newcastle got 12,000, Souths vs. Knights 15,000 and Parramatta vs. Knights 12,000 and Manly vs. Knights 12,000 all in Sydney, Had these games had they been played at Central Coast they could easily attract another 8,000 fans and not only would you collect at the gate but also collect whatever match fees Bluetongue Stadium, offer at minimum you are looking at $200,000 in extra ticket sales.

Obviously all these figures are before costs not pure profit but you get the picture and these are simple measures to implement.

The double and triple headers have nothing but positives for NRL fans value for money and enhancing clubs bottom line, and it wouldn’t cause problems in broadcasting as you would just play them back to back on a Saturday starting at either 3:30 or 5:30 depending on how they do Saturday broadcast next year.

How can you say no to selling out stadiums, value for fans, extra gate revenue and increased brand exposure?

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