In Super League attendances this season have rarely dropped below 4,000, but why do all the fans run away from the Challenge Cup? Do some of the season ticket holders not like having to pay for the Challenge Cup tickets? Do some fans just think “oh were playing a National League side, we'll get in the next round” and not bother?
They would all be there at Wembley and it annoys me that the fans can't be bothered to turn out for a fourth round tie, but will turn up again after the quarter finals.
The highest attendance in the fourth round was just 6,748. In the only all Super League tie Warrington Vs Hull KR only 4,523 turned up. Over the past few years people have been saying the Challenge Cup is rubbish, the 'Mickey Mouse' cup and unfortunately with these sorts of attendances at matches I’m beginning to think they may have a point.
In the fifth round draw there seems to be at least two games that should be able to attract big crowds: Leeds v Wigan and Bradford v Wakefield. If these games get low attendances like the ones in the last round I fear that the Challenge Cup could become a worthless competition that takes up time of the season.
In A Different League?
The fixtures in the Challenge Cup didn't provide many real close, hard-fought ties between Super League against National League teams. Many Super League clubs put over 60 on their lower league opponents.
I can see one main difference, Super League teams are full time, but National League teams are not. For the National Leagues to gain a lot more fans and people interested in the lower leagues I think the way forward is for the National League teams to go full time. For this they need a lot more backing from the RFL, which sadly they are not getting.
The RFL would like to think they are doing the correct thing with the franchise system that comes in to rugby league in a few years. But they should be focusing on helping the teams who really do need the help.