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Will they wander from Wycombe?


By Whither Rugby?
May 25 2004

Wasps have moved to High Wycombe. They are playing some of the most attractive club rugby in Europe and have just won the Heineken Cup. The question then is, why aren't they filling their ground every week?

Wasps

Will they wander from Wycombe?

For a full explanation of the source of and rationale behind these figures please refer to The Figures Explained.

Season Average Att. Position(Out of) Weighted Position Final ZP Position Percentage Growth
97-98 5834 7th(10) 7th 9th(12)  
98-99 5481 6th(10) 7th 5th(14) -6.1%
99-00 4918 6th(10) 8th 7th(12) -10.3%
00-01 5517 7th(11) 7th 2nd(12) 12.2%
01-02 5861 8th(11) 8th 7th(12) 6.2%
02-03 7728 6th(11) 8th 2nd(12) 31.8%
03-04 7731 6th(12) 9th 2nd(12) 0.0%
         
Variation '97 - '04 (1997/8=100%) 133% 6th(12)      
Crowd Growth Absolute 1896 8th(12)      
Average Growth 5.7% 7th(12)      

2003/4 Season

16-May-04 SF  Wasps vs Northampton 57 - 20 Causeway Stadium 6219
8-May-04 ZP  Wasps vs Leicester 17 - 48 Causeway Stadium 10000
4-Apr-04 ZP  Wasps vs Northampton 31 - 5 Causeway Stadium 10000
28-Mar-04 ZP  Wasps vs Rotherham 39 - 11 Causeway Stadium 6757
22-Feb-04 ZP  Wasps vs Harlequins 22 - 21 Causeway Stadium 8549
4-Jan-04  ZP   Wasps vs Sale  26 - 10  Causeway Stadium  9506
21-Dec-03  ZP   Wasps vs Saracens  41 - 0  Causeway Stadium  9350
21-Nov-03  ZP   Wasps vs Gloucester  20 - 12  Causeway Stadium  7288
2-Nov-03  ZP   Wasps vs Newcastle  30 - 26  Causeway Stadium  5151
19-Oct-03  ZP   Wasps vs London Irish  22 - 15  Causeway Stadium  6463
5-Oct-03  ZP   Wasps vs Bath  19 - 20  Causeway Stadium  7767
21-Sep-03  ZP   Wasps vs Leeds Tykes  33 - 10  Causeway Stadium  5721

Until two years ago Wasps played at the home ground of Queens Park Rangers FC, Loftus Road. As the home ground of Fulham FC, Craven Cottage, was being redeveloped Fulham took over the Wasps ground-share and they, somewhat reluctantly, made the move to the Causeway Stadium at High Wycombe. As can be witnessed from the figures, this move was initially a great success, with crowds up 31.8% in the first season after their move from West London.

How much of this success can be attributed to their move out of London and how much to their success on the field is open to question. There has also been an element of ‘World Cup Factor’ noticeable here, not unsurprising given that current England captain Lawrence Dallaglio is also their skipper.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of these figures is that given the club’s regular success on the field and their sprinkling of international stars, the support numbers are still so low with no growth to speak of this season. Wasps have contracted to stay at the Causeway Stadium for another season, after which they may well move back to London. Could such a move end up being a mistake?

If we project their average growth thus far forward another five seasons, this is what we see.

Season  -  Attendance

04/05 8169
05/06 8631
06/07 9120
07/08 9636
08/09 10182

One wonders just what Wasps have to do to steadily grow their crowds. 

The next article in this series will take us to the Midlands, as we look at Northampton.

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