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Little concern as crowds fall at Sixways
WARRIORS managing director Charlie Little has admitted his concern that attendances have slipped at Sixways this season — but insists there are mitigating factors to be taken into consideration.
In their last two Aviva Premiership campaigns, Worcester’s average gate has been over 10,000, but that figure so far this term is less than 8,500, albeit based on the attendances from just three home matches.
Sixways’ stay-away fans are giving the Warriors powers-that-be a headache and will make it difficult to balance the books as the age of austerity continues to bite.
Little says Worcester have been done no favours by the fixture computer, which has handed them ties with local rivals Gloucester and Bath in their first two home games before the season has got into full swing.
However, despite these games coming so early in the campaign, the club will have been disappointed to see such poor turn-outs — 8,717 for Gloucester and 7,847 for Bath.
A 12,024 sell-out, something the club have achieved several times in recent seasons, looks a long way off based on the current numbers coming through the turnstiles.
Little admitted: “Crowds are down and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t analysing that and looking into it. I looked at Exeter, Gloucester, Northampton Saints, Bath and us — all the clubs that own their own grounds — and they’re all down on last year.
“If you then look at who we played last season, you could say that the fixture schedule hasn’t been particularly friendly to us.
“Having Gloucester and Bath at home early in the season before the rugby’s really got going hasn’t helped.
“In some areas, such as the corporate side, we have actually done better on round three 2012 compared to the same round the year before.”
The Sixways club are often accused of overlooking their regular fans in favour of the corporate dollar, but Little insists measures are being taken to improve the Warriors matchday experience for everyone.
He added: “We are trying to address the Sixways match-day experience — for example, for the Sale game on Friday, we will be opening with Greene King, our brewery partners, the Warriors Colisseum, which will be a real ale bar in the big marquee in the north-west corner of the ground.
“That will be somewhere for the general public to go and it will be where the bars and entertainment will be, connected to the Scrum Club where people will be able to get food. Hopefully, that will improve people’s experiences at the game.
“The big screen has come into place recently and, with each game, we are able to improve the offering and we’ve looked to improve the scoreboard in the north-west corner.”
- Why do you think Sixways gates have fallen? e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit worcesternews.co.uk/sport/wrfc