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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Final PRO Rugby Attendance Report


The first season of PRO Rugby is in the books. Before we get to our analysis of all of the action on the field coming later in the week we are going to take a look at the league's attendance. As we've stated all season any look at attendance needs to come with the knowledge that most of these numbers are only guesses. We think they are good guesses but by no means should these numbers be taken as official.

The league tied their attendance record for Sunday's final between Denver and Ohio. According to the fire marshall 3400 fans attended the match which ties the Sacramento and San Francisco match all the way back in the league's first weekend in April for the highest mark of the year. The 3400 that turned out lost weekend have boosted the average attendance up from around 1650 to 1723. That's a pretty decent number given that professional rugby hasn't been tried before in the United States. The league said before the season that 3000 was the break-even number but even if they didn't get that they were relatively happy with the overall results.

Take the jump to read more.
Sacramento led the way with an average of 2150. They only had one match below 2000 fans showing great support among the locals for the Express. In many ways it makes a lot of sense that Sacramento would be the leaders. The area is a rugby hot bed and with Bonney Field as a partner they had a build in infrastructure. Also, the large number of youth players helped pad attendance with several youth clubs always represented at the matches.

Denver was next in attendance with strong crowds throughout the season. They also saw some trail off toward the end which isn't unexpected with a new competition. The move to CIBER Field from Infinity Park did seems to have a small impact on attendance but not much. San Diego was third also coming close to 2000 per match. Like Sacramento and Denver they also had a good local youth club presence around the team.

Ohio was the most interesting before the season started. No one really knew what to expect from the Columbus area as outside a very poorly attended inaugural CRC nothing has really been held there. They also were playing out of a temporary stadium. That turned out to be an asset rather than a detriment with a good group coming out every week. Like several other teams they did find themselves up against a couple of holidays and it took a chunk out of the attendance. They were helped out by the big final weekend to finish close to 1700 fans per week.

San Francisco struggled the most of the five teams. They had a decent pull on their opening weekend but then struggled to draw in fans the rest of the year finishing with around 900 fans per match. Boxer Stadium has nice views but it isn't the best experience as a fan. That might have had an impact along with the high ticket prices.

Overall, PRO Rugby has to be happy with their numbers. Would they have liked more? Sure, but what league wouldn't. For a first year competition this isn't bad. They showed that they can bring fans in on a consistent basis and with a year under their belts can learn and adapt to try and bring in new fans next year.


Game 1
2
3
4
5
6
Average
Denver
2300
2346
2000
1750
1500
1750
1941
Ohio
2000
1500
1250
1250
750
3400
1691
Sacramento
3400
2000
2000
1500
2000
2000
2150
San Diego
2500
2000
2000
2000
1500
1500
1916
San Francisco
1700
700
700
700
700
1000
916






League Avg:
1723

5 comments:

  1. About what I thought they were going to be. I was figuring a league average of about 2100.

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  2. So, at $30 a ticket (I think that was the going rate?), that means tickets alone contributed about $1.5 million to the inaugural coffers; I wonder how that stacks up against their expenses, and is augmented by merchandise sales?

    Either way, an average of 1,700+ in a year where their only marketing was via social media is impressive, and I remain cautiously optimistic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't forget that SF had very tough dates: Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and July 4 weekend.

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  4. $1.5 million revenue probably covered expenses of about one team. So a 4x improvement in revenue (attendance, TV ads and sponsorship)is needed going forward to break even with a 5 team league

    ReplyDelete
  5. With no sponsorship or real marketing these figures aren'too bad. Certainly something to build on. With some marketing beyond social media they could possibly reach the 3,000 needed to break even across the board.

    ReplyDelete