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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Spectator Numbers for Rugby League and Rugby Union Globally 

This isn't supposed to be accurate to the minute and completely comprehensive but it's good enough to give you a decent impression of what is going on out there.

It may also surprise you a little as well. I should point out that this is supposed to be a look at the popularity and growth of the games as spectator sports at grassroots level in the smaller countries, but it includes the top competitions as well. In terms of international crowds Rugby Union blows Rugby League away as we already know. But that's not what I wanted to look at.

I got the stats from a very good website worldfootballrankings. Check it out. It has all the crowd averages for many 'football' playing teams in the world. Well that is except the Super 12 teams, the European teams in the Heineken Cup and the NPC teams or any of the Australian rugby sides. I remember emailing the guy who runs the site a couple of years ago and asked him why he doesn't include the figures for the NPC teams? He replied that he had tried everything to get the NPC statistics but had only received nasty replies from the relevant rugby authorities in NZ. Gee that doesn't sound like them does it?! He said that they were the only organisation that he had had any trouble with and you will see below or by visiting the site how many organisations he has obviously contacted.

Anyway here are the statistics from 2003, with the increase or decrease as a percentage in brackets.

Note that all the rugby league attendance figures ARE IMPROVEMENTS on 2002 figures
RUGBY LEAGUE
(32 Competitions included across 23 countries)
(the '*' indicates a higher average than Rugby Union, a '+' indicates a lower average. If there are no statistics available for Rugby Union then I have assumed that the Rugby League crowds are higher).

* NRL (Aust) 15,287 (4%) (up to round 17, 2004) It is the highest it's ever been.
+ Super League (Eng) 8,041 (18%)
* National Championship (PNG) 3,919 (2%)
* First Championship (Russia) 2,331 (47%)
+ Bartercard Cup (NZ) 2,290 (24%)
+ Elite 1 (France) 2,118 (25%)
* National League One (UK/East) 1,435 (34%)
* Queensland Cup 1,375 (19%)
* Jim Beam Cup (Aust) 1,224 (48%)
* National Rugby League (Fiji) 1,061 (11%)
* New Caledonia R XIII 1,019 (24%)
* Japan Rugby League 1,009 (10%)
* First Championship (Moldova) 978 (52%)
* CDRL (Aust) 904 (7%)
* AMNRL (U States) 820 (77%)
* Kazakh Rugby XIII 791 (10%)
* Ukraine XIII 762 (10%)
+ National League 2 (Eng/East) 638 (60%)
* National Rugby League (Lebanon) 576 (5%)
+ Irish Rugby League 563 (26%)
* National League 3 (UK/East) 563 (61%)
+ Scotland Rugby League 541 (4%)
* Maroc Rugby XIII (Morocco) 525 (12%)
+ National Division One (France) 401 (76%)
+ Rhino Cup (S. Africa) 386 (58%)
+ Welsh Conference (UK/West) 383 (92%)
* WA Rug Leag (Aust) 311 (8%)
+ Canada Rugby League 302 (29%)
* Serbian Championship (Serb & Mont) 257 (5%)
* NRL (Finland) 237 (3%)
* Ulster Bowl (UK/NIR) 132 (6%)
* NRL (Latvia) 120 (11%)

RUGBY UNION
(24 Competitions included across 15 countries)
OK, now here I have either painstakingly averaged all the results I could get, or else taken other peoples averages for the Super 12, Heneiken Cup and NPC.

Super 12 (2003)
South Africa 27,219
Australia 26,607
New Zealand 24,653 (Blues 35,500; Hurricanes 25,833; Crusaders 33,200; Highlanders 22,667; Chiefs 15,000) *I think the Blues figure included the semi and final

*NPC 16,000 (that was a straight up rumour. Wellington averaged 25,000 in 2002 while Taranaki were getting crowds of 8,000ish I heard. In 1999 Counties Manukau were getting about 4,000 I read). And those are all the figures I have come across in a couple of hours of searching the internet. If anybody knows any other specific stats then let us all know. I'd really appreciate it.

*Currie Cup (S Africa) 11,433 (I think this is going up a fair bit since they revamped their comp and cut the weaker teams out)

Heineken Cup (Europe) 8,194 pfffft
*Zurich Premiership (England) 9,000+ (approximately after averaging 57 games) (10%)
*UK Celtic League (North) 5,869 (down 27%)
*France Division 1 4,082 (down 48%)
*UK Celtic League (West) 4,065 (6%)
*Eircom League (Ireland) 2,378 (down 45%)
*UK Celtic League (South) 2,300 (down 40%)
*Division 2 (France) 1,451 (down 49%)
+National League UK (East) 1,408 (26%)
*Super League (Canada) 1,296 (down 18%)
*Welsh Premiership 1,277 (down 27%)
*Super 10 (Italy) 987 (down 23%)
*Spanish Rugby Union 939 (21%)
+Fiji Cup 858 (down 10%)
*Currie Cup 1st Division 852 (down 80%)
*Division One UK (South) 518 (down 7%)
+National League 2 (UK/East) 428 (down 6%)
*Division Two (UK/South) 374 (20%)
*First Division (Romania) 332 (down 17%)
*Division Three (UK/South) 304 (down 33%)
+USA Rugby Super League 236 (down 46%) (less than Finnish Rugby League??? What the f**k?!)

Now it's worth mentioning countries that don't appear to either count their Rugby Union crowds nor make them public (aside from the ones I mentioned earlier). I assume they have club comps, I know for a fact a few of them do.

Japan
Argentina
Australia (club Rugby)
Zimbabwe
Namibia
Georgia
Samoa
Tonga
and all the other Pacific Nations for that matter excluding Fiji.

who else?

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