Repeated poor performances and atrocious crowds are leading NRL executives to consider removing the competition’s presence from Sydney.
After only 28,000 people turned out to Saturday’s preliminary final at Alliance stadium, there is pressure for the NRL to focus its efforts on its more traditional support areas like Townsville, Leeton and Melbourne.
One source in NRL HQ told the Sportress “we can’t keep sinking money into this experiment. It’s clear Sydney people just don’t like rugby league. And the fact the sides can’t compete with the traditional powerhouses like Melbourne and Townsville makes it worse.”
Another told us “it’s bizarre, apparently people don’t like traveling for hours to get to games in hard-to-reach stadiums to pay insane amounts of money for soggy chips and mid strength beer.”
Publicly the NRL remains committed to the harbour city. CEO Todd Greenberg continues to support the competition’s place there, suggesting “we never said breaking into into the market would be easy, but if we can get Sydney people to turn up to games who knows what else we could achieve?”
“Like curing cancer.”
There are concerns that housing pressures and low wage growth are having impacts on fans spending money, but Greenberg says he hasn’t been aware of any problems with ticket prices – “I’m just your average CEO and it’s easy to get that annual family pass, travel arrangements and entertainment budgeting in place.”