The Revenue Challenge – #RugbyInsight
- Atomic Sport’s #MatchdayInsight series extended to rugby #RugbyInsight
- Challenge for Premiership clubs to maximise commercial and match-day revenue in period of growth for English rugby
- Average attendance is up 6.8% on 2015-16 season
- Average occupancy up 2.62% on 2015-16 season
- Empty matchday seats present a significant revenue growth opportunity for clubs
We’ve extended our #MatchdayInsight series monitoring attendances versus capacity into Premiership Rugby. It’s an exciting time for English rugby with the sport in a period of growth and clubs benefitting from a record-breaking BT Sport TV deal.
The challenge for clubs remains to continue to grow and maximise their commercial and match-day revenue to take advantage of these favourable market conditions.
From our analysis of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership into this season’s performance to date, it’s clear that there is a growth story in the league. The average attendance is up 6.8% across the league from 11,696 to 12,496 with average occupancy up by 2.62% from 75.10% to 77.72% this season. This will have been helped by Bristol replacing relegated London Irish. Bristol have an average attendance of 12,958 and average occupancy of 47.99% at the 27,000 capacity Ashton Gate, more than 4,000 and 11% up on London Irish’s 2015-16 record.
Of the twelve teams in the Premiership, six boast an average occupancy of over 90%. So far this season Harlequins enjoy the highest stadium utilisation rate of 97.10%. Saracens lead a pack of teams including Northampton Saints, Leicester Tigers and Bath Rugby on 94% with Gloucester and Exeter Chiefs in the next band on 89% and 91% respectively.
Leicester Tigers actually boast the highest average attendance in the Premiership with 23,128. Wasps have the next highest average attendance with 17,628 but sit at just tenth place in stadium occupancy, playing at the biggest stadium in the division, the 32,609 Ricoh Arena.
Wasps have also shown the biggest uplift in average occupancy this season. Their average attendance is up 2,577 from 15,051 to 17,628 representing an uplift of 7.9% from last season. A critical factor must be Wasps’ improved performance this so far this season as current leaders in the Aviva Premiership and well set for an exciting end to the season.
Incremental season ticket revenue opportunities exist across the Premiership. Wasps, in particular, have enormous growth potential. At 32,609 Wasps’ Ricoh Stadium boasts the largest capacity in the division and even though Wasps have the second highest average attendance at 17,628, they also have a large number of empty seats at each match. This presents a huge opportunity, with on average 14,981 empty seats there is an incremental season ticket revenue opportunity of over £2.64 million.
A number of other clubs in the division can also grow their season ticket sales revenue and match-day revenue significantly. Bristol, based at 27,000 capacity Ashton Gate, have on average approximately 14,431 empty seats presenting an opportunity of £2 million.
With An average 3,500 empty seats, Newcastle Falcons have a revenue opportunity of approximately £1million.
Worcester Warriors are currently tracking at an average attendance of 7,776 and approximately 4,248 empty seats presenting a revenue opportunity of £1.2million.
How much are these clubs doing in terms of outbound marketing to achieve additional season ticket sales and cross-sales to drive matchday revenue?