Opinion: Should rugby league scrap triple headers?

Should rugby league scrap triple headers?

Elland Road recorded an attendance of just 22,141 on Saturday for the Challenge Cup triple header. The women’s final kick started the day, followed by the two men’s semi-finals of the cup.

On television, the 37,000 capacity stadium looked disappointing for both games, with fans clearly only there to see their own teams play.

University of Bolton Stadium held the last triple header – with a full capacity allowed – in the sport in 2019 again with the women’s final and the two men’s semi-finals. Bolton also hosted the 2018 event that saw Catalans and Warrington claim wins.

However, are there any benefits to the sport hosting all the games inside one stadium?

Spreading the games across smaller venues, Warrington or Leigh for example, may look better on television, and hold a better atmosphere. They are also more likely to sell out venues with a capacity of around the likes of 14,000.

Speaking on the latest podcast, Love Rugby League editor James Gordon and host George Riley discussed the future of triple headers.

Time to scrap triple headers?

“I was really looking forward to it and I was left a little bit deflated just because of how it looked,” said Riley.

“As a rugby league fan, what an opportunity. I’m a Leeds boy, so Elland Road; iconic, brilliant. But it just didn’t look good to me.”

Editor Gordon added: “I think this is one of the increasing problems with this multi-games approach. I have the same opinion on Magic Weekend as well.

“On Saturday I commentated the first two games and didn’t stay for all of the third. Ultimately, you’re telling people to sit on a plastic seat for up to six hours to watch all these games. 

“The big problem is how it looks on a TV screen. The majority of fans are just coming for their team’s game. You could see as soon as St Helens and Wigan finished, the St Helens and Wigan ends evaporated.

“I think the problem you’ve got, you will never have a full ground for those matches. Then to put it on TV, look at Magic Weekend, any pictures or footage of it, the stadium is half empty.”

Do you think rugby league should scrap triple or double headers? Let us know in the comments below…

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About Josh McAllister 1323 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

6 Comments

  1. The article says it all. For a sport trying to impress and expand beyond its traditional support, with the rare platform of national BBC TV, it sends out all the wrong signals. Its not realistic to expect anyone to watch back-to-back games either at the stadium or at home; that’s not a slight on RL. The same applies to all sports. People don’t have the time or attention span. A full, smaller stadium, with one game per day, would be a much better way to present the game. Shame really, Wigan v Saints was a cracker.

  2. I’m a Giants fan and was there with my 11year old daughter for all 3 games on Saturday. It was pretty uncomfortable as the leg room was a joke. It would have been nice to have been allowed out of the stadium for a while as 7 hours is too long to be sat there.
    I’m not sure I agree with the comment about fans only there for their game. Saints and Wigan fans yes but most of the Giants fans were there for the first semi final, all cheering on Wigan

  3. The semi final should be stand alone fixtures played on a Saturday and Sunday and both still televised and played in smaller stadiums, which are relative close to the two teams in the two games , get them packed out , looks better on tv for neutrals and newcomers to the game , looks more appealing. . For example the Huddersfield v hull kr game could of being played at Doncaster/castleford/Wakefield and the St. Helens v Wigan game played at Warrington

  4. Yes they have got it wrong again in the old days the semi finals were on a Saturday and Sunday so more people turned up for their game

  5. Most fans want to watch their team and while it’s on TV aren’t prepared to pay the extra cost involved in a triple header. Everyone is feeling the pinch these days so having a small stadium that will fill and having reasonable prices for family tickets is the key to filling stadiums

  6. There is one reason the RFL do this. To save the broadcaster money, it’s much cheaper to send one set of cameras and crew to one ground for one day than 3 sets on 3 days. It’s the only answer that makes sense. Add to this that if you played it in RL grounds you would keep the money in the game.

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