There seems to be concern in the ranks about the future of Super Rugby with dire predictions about next year’s set-up.
Publicly, lNew Zealand’s teams are resigned to toeing the party line and accepting that the addition of a team from Argentina, Japan and another in South Africa is good for the game.
The realism is that the current system has seen a seen a declining trend around attendance.
In 2006, South Africa posted an average Super Rugby crowd of 34,000, Australia 24,000 and New Zealand 22,000.
By 2012, those numbers had dropped across the board – South Africa were down to 28,000, Australia 20,000 and New Zealand 16,000. I would imagine that the numbers for 2014 would be lower again.
Week one of Super Rugby kicked off with a sea of empty seats. With the Black Caps playing in Christchurch the following day, the Crusaders were resigned to a poor turnout. They got one.
It was the same in Auckland, where the Blues weren’t able to host the Chiefs at Eden Park. They knew it wouldn’t be a great crowd at North Harbour, and they were right.
The problem is the core product !
TV has been allowed to dictate the playing schedules; jumping from 12 to 15 teams has diluted the quality of the overall playing pool; the format has suffered from not being a true round-robin; the rules remain unfathomable and inconsistently applied; stadiums, with the exception of the Forsyth Barr, don’t have cover; the food in stadiums is mostly crap and expensive and maybe most damaging has been that the biggest name players have been allowed to drift in, drift out and skip the bits they don’t fancy.
Add all that together and that explains the 30 per cent drop in average crowds since 2006.
The actual rugby is great. Unfortunately with TV controlling the money and the terms of scheduling we are only going to see a lot more empty seats.
On a better note , at Eden Park Bed and Breakfast we see good response from game patrons wanting luxury accommodation close to the stadium.
The BLUES win again.
In-front of a bumper 31,014 home crowd, this 34-15 victory was a step up from last week’s upset of the Hurricanes in Wellington. While Auckland’s population are a bit slack in passion towards sports teams it is obvious that they want to believe in this rugby team. I remember the poor attendance last year to their games. Last night there was an atmosphere in the crowds walking past Eden Park Bed and Breakfast that I haven’t seen since the RWC 2011.
And 5 try’s to zip says it all….
While it’s too early to say these rejuvenated Blues are the real deal – there is no doubt Sir John Kirwan, Graham Henry and co have modelled a unified, passionate group.Long may it continue. I am a great believer that a strong Auckland Rugby presence offers great value to New Zealand Rugby.
International Visitor Arrivals to 17th Feb 2013
Total visitor arrivals are up 6.3% compared to the same four week period last year.
Ups: Japan 11%, China 63%, Singapore 35%, Australia 1%, USA 8%, Canada 1%
Downs: UK -6%, Malaysia -24%, Korea -32%