Season of Growth in the Premiership – #RugbyInsight
- Strong metrics signal continuing growth in the Premiership as the league prepares to hit Terrestrial TV in 2017-18
- Average occupancy up 4.47% to 79.57%
- Average Attendance up 10.10% to 12,875
- Challenge for clubs to harness this goodwill and deliver marketing programmes that drive improved commercial returns
The growth story is born out across almost every metric and every club. The average attendance is up 10.1% across the league from 11,696 to 12,875, with average occupancy up by 4.47% from 75.10% to 79.57% this season.
Wasps’ strong performance on the pitch this season has been matched off the pitch. Their growth has propelled the average figures upwards.
Under coach Dai Young, Wasps have stormed to the top of the Premiership and into the Semi-Finals. Wasps have shown the biggest uplift in average occupancy this season which is doubly impressive as they have the biggest Premiership arena to fill, the 32,609 capacity Ricoh Stadium. Average occupancy is up 11.07% from 46.16% to 57.23%. Their average attendance is up 3,611 from 15,051 to 18,662 representing an uplift of 24% from last season. They also smashed last season’s best attendance by 6,062 with the visit of Saracens filling the Ricoh Arena to 30,115 or 92% of capacity.
Of the twelve teams in the Premiership, five boast an average occupancy of over 90%. Harlequins have enjoyed the highest stadium utilisation rate of 98%. Saracens lead a pack of teams including Northampton Saints and Bath Rugby on 95%, high-flying Exeter Chiefs on 91.17% % with Leicester Tigers and Gloucester in the next band on 89% and 88% respectively.
Leicester Tigers actually boast the highest average attendance in the Premiership with 22,899. Leicester have performed well on and off the pitch growing their average occupancy by 4.2% to 87.53% and their average attendance by 4.95% to 22,899.
Northampton Saints have not quite lived up to their high expectations this season and this is reflected in their off-field performance. They are the only club in the Premiership to register a drop in average occupancy. Admittedly, they are stating from a high base, last season they registered the highest average occupancy at 98.20% and the third highest average attendance at 14,975. This season they have dropped 2.49% in occupancy to 98.20% and 2.54% in average attendance to 14,594.
The performance of Premiership teams has set a high standard in 2016-17, one that will be a significant challenge to better next season. However, it’s clear there is still capacity for growth across the league. If clubs are smart and strategic with their marketing and engagement programmes there is a good chance to embrace the current goodwill that exists towards the game and propel the results to even higher levels next season.
There is a tremendous opportunity for clubs to take maximum advantage of the growing popularity of the sport to acquire new fans, enhance the loyalty of existing fans and drive improved revenues from commercial opportunities.