An article on Fox Sports talks about setting KPI's to decide how to move teams out of Sydney. Tallis and Geyer set some KPI's based around Sponsorship dollars, average crowds, Membership numbers. commitment to juniors and On field success.

I have picked two metrics to consider firstly average Sydney crowds since 2015 according to Fox. The top four teams in order are Dogs (15,011), Eels (14,602), Rabbitohs (14,358) and Tigers (14,226).

The Top 4 membership numbers are according to Fox;  Rabbitohs (29,597), Eels (25,250), Dragons (20,642) and Tigers (20,155)

Whilst these numbers are interesting, they are important given that they directly link to revenue. However these crowd numbers appear to be based on average Sydney games (all games) since 2015, If you look at what the Eels have achieved this year for all home games it is 177,643 for ten home games at an average of 17,764. This includes home games at Bankwest, ANZ and TIO stadium in Darwin (5,391, smallest crowd for 2019).

If you extrapolate our 7 games at Bankwest we drew 147,700 spectators for an average attendance of 21,100 people. The smallest crowd for an Eels home game has been 16,228 against Penrith on a Thursday night. The largest of course was the opening against the Tigers on Easter Monday 29,047 Round 6,

There is no indication from the NRL that they are going to reduce teams or if they have any KPI's in mind. But if you were to look at the Eels numbers there is certainly a compelling case to keep them in Sydney based on any resonable metric.

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  • It would appear with the exception of Brisbane, the further away the game is taken from Sydney the less successful. Perth and Adelaide failed. This would strengthen the case for another team on the Central Coast, which already has in place everything needed for a team to function. If Sydney needs to reduce its numbers, then maybe a team could be relocated there? 

    • Perth & Adelaide didn't fail, they were victims of circumstance.

      The Western Reds in particular were actually going along very nicely. They won half their games in their inaugural season and averaged over 13k to their home games at the WACA, which was considerably higher than most Sydney clubs at the time. Had SL not intervened the Reds would've had every chance to be very successful, especially with the mining boom that would follow the dot com burst in the late 90's, they would've had corporate support coming out of the wazoo, almost certainly would've had a first class rectangular stadium. They would've been a powerhouse club by now. 

      The Adelaide Rams never stood a chance as they were a News created vehicle to make up the numbers for SL, but even still managed quite respectable, averaging over 15k fans per game in their first season at the Adelaide Oval.

      If planned properly, with quality rectangular stadiums in place, or at least being planned in the case of Adelaide, with assured corporate support, both Perth & Adelaide would be successful over the long haul. 

      • Then why haven't the NRL gone back there? I do agree, that those two teams were introduced during rugby leagues darkest time, which played a role in their demise. Melbourne Storm have been more successful.

        Would you agree the Gold Coast Titans have been a complete failure? 

        • All sporting teams have failed on the Gold Coast


          The Suns in the AFL

          The A League team

          The many many nswrl/arl/nrl attempts


          The GC teams failing means nothing in terms of potential success of or need for expansion teams in other parts of the country

        • To your first question, a lack of vision from the NRL.

          To your second question, I think the Titans were on the right path under Michael Searle, but he bit off more than he could chew before the club had truly established itself. The decision to go heavily into debt to build their High Performance Centre next door to Cbus Stadium was an unwise decision IMO. Not the HPC itself, but the decision to go so deeply in debt before the Titans had gone through a down cycle in its on field fortunes. A club hasn't really established itself until its been through the wringer and come out stronger on the other side. Michael Searle built their initial roster to win immediately with the likes of Scott Prince, Mat Rogers & Preston Campbell, which was fine, but that meant that their first down cycle was only going to be 5 years away.

          The same thing happened with Melbourne, they were built to win immediately but by 2002 they were basically rebuilding already. They then hired Bellamy, found 4 young guys by the names of Smith, Slater, Cronk & Inglis and within a few years were bacl on top and have been there ever since. However they had the secure financil backing of News Ltd through that period, now the Storm are entrenched and are well built to establish a downturn, the Titans weren't yet.

          The seeds for the situation the Titans find themselves in were planted by Michael Searle's impatience. He had the right vision, but was too impatient to make it all happen at once, and the Titans are still paying for it. That said, I still think the Titans can, with the right people & time get through this to become a great club.

          • Maybe one day the Titans will come good, but I don't think it will be soon though. A very worrying concern the area hasn't produced any success or even been competitive since 1988. 2009 was the their best year ending in defeat at the hands of the Eels. 

  • If the NRL are serious aout culling Sydney teams, then Manly and Cronulla should go. I'd add Easts to that because they offer the game nothing in terms of crowds, TV ratings, junior pathways, with the only thing they have is that they are an original club from 1908 and Politis' money. 

    • If they offered nothing in the way of TV ratings, they would never be on TV.

  • One interesting factor in that KPI list was it gave the numbers of local jnrs at each club,


    DOGS    ;   GUMMIES     7;   GULLS    3;   EELS   5;    RIFF 16;   BUNNIES 10;     DRAGS  10;  CHICKENS  2;   TIGERS  4;    

    That's a total of 62 players for Sydney based teams and Sydney bred players. The much vaunted call by our exiting CEO that the eels become a development club shows that up well with us coming in 3rd last for local juniors, the Riff being the best club for junior development, a sad indictment for our home grown products,  even the so called poor area of development with the Rabbits do better than the other clubs Riff aside.    Yet, if we go over the amount of money that clubs poor into their actual teams, for deciding if any are to be lost then likely the chickens would be up at the top.

    Way I see the game now, is that RL has failed in the Sydney basin to adequately promote the game to the younger generations, the aspect of using the excuse of not enough first grade quality players to go around is a furvy, we have lost so many clubs over the years, and that includes 2nd division that has removed the game from so many districts in Sydney, we are however not alone there either.  When the mules came in and the 2nd Brisbane team as well, the Brisbane area competition also seemed to drop off in clubs as well, I am sure those from the area can remember the old comp and teams no longer there.

    Social media has become an inward arena that helps not promote the game overall, I say that based purelly on the medium of how big were the sales of the old Rugby League Week newspaper, where it had a huge two page spread of National RL games/teams and results for years, we here nothing and see nothing of such teams and promotion these days. I drove through two country towns less than two years back and saw the crumbling ovals and overgrown playing fields where RL is no longer played, not even combined teams are surviving.

    The cost of going to the game, along with times of them are not that condusive to families either. How much for membership, game day tickets, and food?  Then of course is the souveneirs and supporters gear costs, items that are seen as essentials but a cost burden especially when design changes come so frequently.

    If more clubs are culled, from playing in Sydney, I do not see it making any impact.  Dragons to the Gong, will likely mean many in the St George traditional supporter area may either give the game away, go to the Gong but how frequently while others may follow the Gummies.  One down who is next?

    Manly would be a candidate with a move to Gosford, but what of the chooks?  they and the bunnies are basically too close together to maintain a high crowd support appeal overall, but I could well be wrong, I do know several old Chook supporters who have no interest in RL at all, anymore. With them sitting so high on the table are they atttracting the needed fans to stay in the comp, or will city ford and the crow get involved in a gladiator fight for survival and dominance.


    • Local juniors is the most overrated aspect of building a club. I remain 100% of the belief that NRL clubs should have no involvement in youth development, the various junior clubs should be left to do what they do best, developing young players, with the NRL clubs having no involvement until they reach the age of 19. 

      The most important factors in the health of clubs are corporate support & market size. 

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