Summer Bash suffers lowest attendance after Headingley move

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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About Josh McAllister 1724 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.

14 Comments

  1. To be perfectly honest idont think the summer bash needs to excist the championship dosent have the following as super leauge so it wont draw the crowds and as for having it at Leeds most yoorkshire teams would just get the bus home after the game were as at a seaside venue they would book a couple of nights apart from. A week end away what purposeless it actually serve

    • For second time this season after the attendance disaster of the challenge cup semi finals as soon as the RL admit Leeds is NOT the centre of the RL universe the better,,

  2. Move it back to Blackpool next year, and in my opinion if Blackpool football ground could hold more than 35,000 fans, magic weekend would have a home as well,

  3. Rugby League does it again changing something and then wonders why it’s not worked. Who’d book the weekend away in Leeds?

    Blackpool has attraction for fans to visit and especially with the event in the summer holidays for schools it prices should reflect for the event on family tickets too. Getting you kids involved into the game.

    Move it back to Blackpool and advertise the event nearly 12 months prior to the event.

    The magic weekend attracts fans as Newcastle is a vibrant city and Blackpool is the same as a town.

    If it’s not broken don’t fix it. And if you keep pushing an event how does others know how to plan things if they don’t know the venue for the following year.

    Even have a scheme certain percentage off tickets if you buy 12 months in advance etc. Come on Rugby League get something sorted.

    • The policy of restricting bags to a4 size put us off, Rugby League portrays itself as a family sport, in the current financial climate shouldn’t we be trying to help families.

  4. Rugby league looking after super league team once again take it back were it belong ie Blackpool were I love it there and great day out

  5. Definitely Blackpool make a weekend away, didn’t see the point in going to Leeds for a weekend and too far to travel just for the day

  6. Maybe if the RFL who are the laughing stock of British sport stopped changing the rules to suit themselves and also stopped banning players for making tackles then the game might survive. Blackpool was a great venue so why change it?.

  7. Move it back to Blackpool in May as it used to be. Why change something that works. Put the cup final back to August and it’s a win win for everyone.

  8. Blackpool is an absolute pig of a place. No thanks. The Summer Bash is acomplete and utter waste of time and money. Scrap it.

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