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European Semis neutral grounds.
Discussion started by Jon T , 23 April, 2019 12:33
European Semis neutral grounds.
Jon T 23 April, 2019 12:33
After reading an article in the Guardian today about the future of the EPCR. And in part reflecting on the dismal turn out at the recoh, and Leinster again getting to play the neutral game at their second home. There are a few things that I was pondering on.

It made me think about our last semi at Nottingham. I remember there being around 23k there that day with around 4k of that being Racing supporters. Puts the Sarries turnout into some perspective after all their attempts to grow the 'brand' in reality they still probably only have 5-6k of committed supporters, how can a team as successful, still fail to increase support with such a massive catchment area.

Also can anyone remember why we were unable to nominate/play the Foxes ground for that game? When Leinster can still play at the 'neutral' it can't have been that it wasn't neutral enough could it?

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Tiggs 23 April, 2019 12:39
Weren't City at home that day ?



http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/103/103_0_1529059667.jpg

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Tiggs 23 April, 2019 12:43
Yup at home v Swansea, Apr 24th 2016.



http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/103/103_0_1529059667.jpg

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Brownian Motion 23 April, 2019 12:47
If there was enough capacity in the fixture calendar, it would be far better to play home and away matches. As that can't happen any time soon though I'd instead just go back to the highest seed getting home advantage; nice and simple.

Is Sarries issue that they are competing with football too much in their catchment area? Hertfordshire and Essex aren't exactly hotbeds of rugby, with most sports fans in the area being Spurs or Gunners supporters in my anecdotal experience.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
JK 23 April, 2019 13:11
Saracens don't do bad when they play in the big stadia in London, albeit with heavy promotional discounting of tickets.

Is it that their stadium is a nightmare to get to when you start from anywhere... central London and you're on a branchline to Mill Hill East with a shuttle bus... outside London and I can't begin to imagine how you'd do it?

Also, the dreariest, most windswept and rain-soaked stadium I've ever had the misfortune to visit in the Prem.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Jon T 23 April, 2019 13:12
There are 8 million people living in London, not all are football fans, to not grow the fanbase still seems incredible. 0.1% of that catchment is still 8000.

Thanks for the reminder re City, Tiggs.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Jon T 23 April, 2019 13:16
I've been twice JK, although it took awhile from Euston it was fairly easy to navigate, and I also thought it was ok there. View, facilities and atmosphere.

An enormous improvement on Vicarage road, the worst ground ever, not so much a stadium as an open toilet.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Brownian Motion 23 April, 2019 13:40
Quote:
Jon T
There are 8 million people living in London, not all are football fans, to not grow the fanbase still seems incredible. 0.1% of that catchment is still 8000.
Thanks for the reminder re City, Tiggs.

They have grown it - it's still just nowhere near the level that some other clubs generate. You are right of course, there are plenty of rugby fans in London...and they can also follow London Irish, London Scottish, London Welsh, Harlequins, Richmond, Esher, Ealing, Wasps, Rosslyn, Blackheath...

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Walks11 23 April, 2019 14:16
it was Easter weekend, trains weren't running, exorbitant ticket prices and it was a whole 90 miles away were the excuses I was given when having a twitter debate. I suspect you lot would have taken 4K to an away semi and packed a home venue out somewhere. as would quite a few other sides

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
melton tiger 23 April, 2019 14:27
I maintain Easter is a stupid time for semis. It is prime time for families going to a local game - only 3/4 hours out of the weekend and prime TV slots over the weekend, but it isn't good for giving up a whole day or more to travel to a semi with disruption to transport and flights heavily booked etc. Get the timing right and the venue and then I think the home neutral approach is probably the least worst option.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Jon T 23 April, 2019 14:28
Duplicate



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 23/04/2019 14:31 by Jon T.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Jon T 23 April, 2019 14:29
Of course there are other teams, that goes without saying, but successful sides generally grow support, tigers doubled their core support during their successful period. Saracens attract tens of thousands to their event games but still dont convert that to core support. And 3000 tickets requested(not sure if they were all sold) for a Euro semi seems particularly poor.

In the end its not really an issue for me, more an anomaly to the usual way that success on the pitch usually grows support off it.

Re your idea of playing 2 legs, definitely the fairest option, but as you say never gonna happen. I'd rather a random draw for quarters and semis personally. It negates any advantages gained from easier group stages.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Johns 23 April, 2019 14:32
Quote:
JP
Take it you have not been to Bath then.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
odd-shaped vagaries 23 April, 2019 14:56
Jon T: ' And 3000 tickets requested(not sure if they were all sold) for a Euro semi seems particularly poor.'

Could add weight to the 'favouritism given to the Oirish' bleat, given the revenues generated by their support, though I know of course that the bleat is utterly disingenuous



The referee is the final arbitrary

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
SK 88 23 April, 2019 16:33
Quote:
JK
Saracens don't do bad when they play in the big stadia in London, albeit with heavy promotional discounting of tickets.
Is it that their stadium is a nightmare to get to when you start from anywhere... central London and you're on a branchline to Mill Hill East with a shuttle bus... outside London and I can't begin to imagine how you'd do it?

Also, the dreariest, most windswept and rain-soaked stadium I've ever had the misfortune to visit in the Prem.

It's easy from outside London, take the A1 or M1 to the bottom and park north of the ground for about a 1-1.5 mile walk. Similar to parking other side of Victoria Park for Leicester.

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Garym 23 April, 2019 17:56
And the rule have change since Tgers are last in an European SF. If Racing had beaten Toulouse their SF would have home at the Defense Stadium(everybody seems to have forgotten this in most of the arguments across all of the sites)

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Willbur 23 April, 2019 18:59
Quote:
Walks11
I suspect you lot would have taken 4K to an away semi and packed a home venue out somewhere. as would quite a few other sides

I suspect that due to our recent inability to qualify from groups, IF we made an away Semi Final we'd take a few more than 4k..... I hope (Sm100)

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
IDLETIMES 23 April, 2019 19:09
Can't recall us ever having a prob. with using 'City' as a neutral ground, unless hey were playing, used it several times

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
SK 88 23 April, 2019 19:21
I think there are two separate discussion to be had.

* Why this is a poor week for a Euro Semi Final?

* Why Saracens haven't grown their fan base?

Looking at the first we can use Leinster & Munster as a reasonable short term proxy. Same weekend they got 48k for last year's semi final against Llanelli, this year 42k. Munster v Saracens at the Aviva in 2017 got 51k.

Easter clearly has a big affect on these fixtures, plus there is a short time to sell them, only 2 or 3 weeks.

Personally I think the QFs should be shifted to before the 6N in non-RWC years, that gives you the whole 6N window to organise and sell the semi finals, you can also flex the schedule to more easily accommodate Easter. With the tight schedule you can't move the semis at the moment.

The QFs are all played at your normal home venue and are much easier to organise, it would impact away attendances at the QFs but should boost them at the semis.

As on the other thread there is also the elephant in the room that attendances are declining almost everywhere at the moment. Being a miserablist I blame the TMO and the way the referees/world rugby have changed the rules of the game, both literally and with their "interpretations" on the ruck.

The second question on Saracens is a combination of factors both within and without their control. They lack a "tribe" to easily rally, no one is from "Saracens" in the same way they are from Munster or Leicester or Exeter so they don't easily relate to the club and get on the bandwagon. The ground trotting has also lead to a disperse fan base without a local centre. That should now be fixed to grow from but it won't for a while. That also harms bandwagonning. From experience its a lot easier to get a part from 8 to 15 than from 1 to 8, if you've got a decent number of mates who are mad on going you can often pressgang the same number again into coming for fun.

With the way they sell the finals we have this weird set up where semi final tickets are dead easy to get but finals are like rocking horse poo. Means anyone you can get into a semi probably can't come to a final so the momentum to turn them into a hardcore fan gets lost.

Any way, I hate essay posts so well done anyone who has bothered to read all of that. Please only quote the bit you don't like in replies!!!

Re: European Semis neutral grounds.
Jon T 23 April, 2019 23:07
Aww shame, I like this bit,

Any way, I hate essay posts so well done anyone who has bothered to read all of that. Please only quote the bit you don't like in replies!!!

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