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Falcons Forward Move

By BrianC
July 29 2005

This season I have been paying particularly close attention to Newcastle Falcons crowd figures for a variety of reasons. For 04/05, in an attempt to balance the books, they greatly increased ticket prices, in some cases by more than 50%. Falcons Fly Higher

Newcastle - 2004/5 season

30-Apr-05 ZP  Newcastle vs London Irish 23-16 Kingston
10-Apr-05  ZP  Newcastle vs Worcester 16-21 Kingston
27-Mar-05  ZP  Newcastle vs Bath 5-9 Kingston
27-Feb-05  ZP  Newcastle vs Gloucester 27-27 Kingston
06-Feb-05  ZP  Newcastle vs Wasps 29-28 Kingston
02-Jan-05 ZP  Newcastle vs Sale 30-29 Kingston
28-Nov-03  ZP  Newcastle vs Northampton 27-16 Kingston
14-Nov-04 ZP  Newcastle vs Leeds Tykes 29-16 Kingston
17-Oct-04 ZP Newcastle Falcons vs Saracens 20-20 Kingston
02-Oct-04 ZP Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers 15-44 Kingston
19-Sep-04 ZP Newcastle Falcons vs NEC Harlequins 22-21 Kingston
Season Average 7952

As their squad includes England fly-half Johnny Wilkinson their crowds are arguably more impacted by a World Cup factor than any other club. Late last and early this season I had also been particularly impressed by Newcastle's media management. As a site editor I received more press releases via the Zurich press office form Newcastle than I did from all the other ZP clubs combined although it does have to be said that now appears to have tailed off somewhat.

The headline figure shows Newcastle with an average gate of 7952 this season against 7571 last. This is healthy, if unspectacular, growth particularly against the backdrop of the huge price increases imposed for this season.

As is often the case the story of this season is not fully told by the year end headline figure. When I reported on the crowd stats a third of the way through the season Newcastle were leading the pack with a quite spectacular 30% growth. So why the relative slump? There are two inter-related factors which, above all, appear to be the cause. Johnny Wilkinson and the World cup. This I plan to address in greater detail in a subsequent article. 

Things continue to look set fair for Newcastle. Looking from the outside my main concern is that they may have increased prices by too much last summer. My, admittedly as yet vague, observation at other clubs, including our own, is that such savage price increases take a couple of seasons to fully work their way through to crowd numbers. We may well see a drop in crowd numbers next season particularly if JW's career continues to be dogged by injury.

Season Average Att. Position
(Out of)
Final ZP Position Percentage Growth
97-98 5023 8th(10) 1st(12)
98-99 3647 10th(10) 8th(14) -27.4%
99-00 3287 9th(10) 9th(12) -9.9%
00-01 4233 9th(11) 6th(12) 28.8%
01-02 5470 9th(11) 6th(12) 29.2%
02-03 5858 9th(11) 10th(12) 7.1%
03-04 7571 7th(12) 9th(12) 29.2%
04-05 7952 10th(10) 7th(12) 5.0%
Variation '97 - '05 58% 4th(12)
Crowd Growth Absolute 2929 6th(12)
Average Growth 8.9% 4th(12)

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