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?
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|
|Variation '97 - '04 (1997/8=100%)||133%||6th(12)|
|Crowd Growth Absolute||1896||8th(12)|
|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
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.