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Whither Rugby 2004/5 - Club comparison

By BrianC
June 6 2005

The next article in this series looks at how the individual clubs have performed in the 2004/5 season, particularly in comparison with the previous one. The next article in this series looks at how the individual clubs have performed in the 2004

First we take a look at the average gates. Here we can see that, as has been the case throughout the professional era, Leicester are substantially ahead of the rest of the field. Leeds are making progress but still have quite a bit of catching up to do.

Average Home Zurich Crowds 2004/5 Season







London Irish


















If we now compare the above graph with that from the previous season we begin to get an idea of some of the year on year changes.

From these we see that Gloucester have leapfrogged Northampton and London Irish to being the second best supported team in the country. This can largely be attributed to the ground expansion at Kingsholm from 11,000 to 13,000 and the latent demand taken up. The other major move up the table is that of Quins, from 10th place to 7th. Again this is largely down to ground expansion and latent demand.

On the downside Saracens remarkable fall from grace this decade is highlighted. As recently as the 00/01 season they were the second best supported club in the country. In 04/05 they have slipped a further three places to be the second least supported club. This is not because their crowds have slipped again this season, indeed for the first time this decade they have grown. It is simply that other clubs are developing their crowds more quickly.

One further mention at this stage is of Worcester. Particularly so in comparison to Rotherham, the team they replaced in the premiership. They have jumped straight in to 9th position with average gates in excess of 8k. Quite an achievement by any standards.

Finally we look at how the crowds have developed for each club in comparison to the previous season. There are two different ways of measuring this, by percentage and by absolute number. We thus give both sets of figures.

Crowd Number Variance by Club 2004/5 Season vs 2003/4

Harlequins 2027
Gloucester 1677
Leeds 1376
Wasps 1376
Sale 1355
Bath 821
Leicester 669
Northampton 607
Newcastle 381
Saracens 358
London Irish -141

Percentage Variance by Club 2004/5

Leeds 32.8%
Harlequins 29.9%
Sale 19.4%
Wasps 17.2%
Gloucester 16.4%
Bath 8.5%
Northampton 5.4%
Newcastle 5.0%
Saracens 5.0%
Leicester 4.2%
London Irish -1.3%

From these graphs we can see what a truly awful season 04/05 has been off field for London Irish. They are the only team to have registered a drop in gates. In their case this is the first since records began in 97/98.

Again it is worth noting that the top two growing teams in terms of numbers, Quins and Gloucester, play at grounds which were expanded for this season. Leeds, whilst still bottom of the twelve in terms of numbers have shown remarkable growth by both measures. Could it be that they are at last finding that hitherto elusive audience in West Yorkshire?

These two graphs do not hold any mention of Worcester as they were not in the premiership last season. Were they to do so, they would show the Warriors at the top of both graphs. We will continue this series looking at each club in some greater detail, starting with the Warriors.

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