Summer Bash suffers lowest attendance after Headingley move

Josh McAllister
Summer Bash Headingley SWpix

Photo: John Clifton/SWpix

The Championship’s Summer Bash suffered its lowest attendance yet with just a crowd of 10,763 over the weekend at Headingley Stadium.

The summer event moved to the home of Leeds Rhinos for the first time this year.

Saturday saw a crowd of 6,752 – much thanks to the final game between promotion-chasers Leigh Centurions and Featherstone Rovers.

Sunday registered an official crowd of 4,011 – which is the second lowest day in any year of the event.

The original venue of Bloomfield Road in Blackpool was unavailable due to it clashing with the start of the English Football League season.

11,805 is the next lowest attendance for the event – recorded in 2018.

Summer Bash held its debut year in 2015 at Bloomfield Road, recording an attendance of 15,671. Its highest attendance came two years later with 16,444 on the seaside, with a crowd of 15,912 in-between in 2016.

2017’s attendance could have been helped with the inclusion of Hull KR, who featured in the Championship that season due to relegation. In fact, the day of their fixture against Bradford – the Saturday – recorded the highest attendance for a single day with 11,557.

Opinion: What next for Summer Bash?

This season marked the return for the Summer Bash for the first time in three years due to the pandemic. However, the venue change saw a lot of criticism amongst Championship supporters.

The crowd figure is clearly evident of that opinion – and could mean that the event has no long-term future in Leeds.

Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road was arguably the best option for the event. The town hosts reasonably priced hotels and plenty of attractions around the ground for all ages and families.

Leeds’ Summer Bash this year felt a little flat – almost without the Summer, nor the Bash. Headingley Stadium’s capacity is more than 2,000 more than Blackpool’s – which left the ground looking almost empty on Premier Sports.

The coverage, as it always is on Premier Sports, was fantastic. However, the stadium – and the city – looks far from the ideal home for a long-term future for the concept.

One could even ask; does Summer Bash need to exist?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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