The Challenge Cup quarter-finals attracted a combined crowd of just 21,187 on the weekend, so why are Cup crowds declining?
A debate surrounding the Challenge Cup and its attendances seems to be an annual occurrence in recent times.
The Challenge Cup final at Wembley still attracts pretty strong crowds though. The showpiece event last year attracted a figure of 50,672, which is good considering one of the teams were Catalans Dragons, who are based in the south of France.
But crowds in the rounds leading up to the final have been poor for several years now. It seems like some fans are just willing to watch the games on television, save money and then go to the final if their teams get there.
The highest crowd in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals on the weekend came at Odsal, where Bradford lost to fellow Championship rivals Halifax in front of 6,591 people.
The local clash between the Championship clubs was higher than a tie between Super League big-timers St Helens and Wakefield at the Totally Wicked Stadium, which attracted an attendance of 6,453.
Just 4,832 people attended the Hull FC-Catalans match at the KCOM Stadium, while the lowest crowd came at the KCOM Craven Park, with just 3,311 watching Hull KR take on Warrington.
The Bradford-Halifax crowd should be considered as strong, but for three matches involving Super League teams – the crowds were well below par.
Does Magic Weekend and the Summer Bash have something to do with the decline in Challenge Cup attendances as well? A lot of fans might go to the Super League or Championship events so they can see their team, instead of attending the final where their team isn’t in action.
Is there enough interest in the Cup? Is the amount of games in a Super League season affecting how people view the Cup?
We want to know your thoughts…
Why are Challenge Cup attendances declining? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.