pierre_mackie

When days are dark, fans are few


Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :EP Kings, Original Content, Pro14 on 19 Sep 2017 at 14:46
Tagged with : , ,

The Southern Kings returned to their fortress, NMB Stadium, after a disappointing first two rounds against Scarlets, the Pro 12 defending champions, and Connacht which saw them suffer two heavy defeats, 57 – 10 and 32 – 10 respectively.

Upon their return home, all eyes were on how the Northern Hemisphere teams would do playing their prestigious Guinness Pro 14 on Southern Hemisphere fields.

Despite an impressive first half against last year’s semi-finalist, Leinster, which saw the Kings trail by four points at half-time, 3 – 7, it was however the crowd, or the lack there of, that drew all the attention.

The Northern Hemisphere media expressed their disappointment in the dismal crowd that showed up on Saturday to watch the Kings play their first match, questioning the Kings’ fan base. This, however, was the same for when the Kings faced some of the best the South has to offer in Super Rugby.

Season after season the Kings need to prove they worthy of support. It was only after an away win against the Sunwolves earlier his year that motivated 9 938 to support the Kings upon their return to NMB Stadium to face the Stormers.

A few good performances against Australian opposition across the Indian Ocean and a record 44 – 3 win against the Rebels at home sparked 15 258 supporters to come and watch the Kings beat the Sharks. The following week 16 455 came out to support the Kings against the Brumbies.

Saturday’s crowd of 3 011 was an embarrassment for the Kings and South Africa and while the team needs their own to support them it seems like, once again, they need to prove to their fans they worthy of their support.

The Kings play Italian club Zebre on Saturday evening and possibly the only opportunity for them to pick up an early win and save some face with their “supporters” as another grueling season awaits.



17 Comments

  • I wonder how big the crowd woud have been in Bloemfontein (and the hidings in this competition) if the Cheetahs were playing in the Pro 14 with the same side that is now their Currie Cup side – this is basically where the Kings find themselves, a brand new, heavily weakend side from the one that played SupeRugby.

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.09.17 15:30:28 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Man that crowd was just horrible, good for those that did go though.

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.09.17 15:32:35 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 2) : It is a time where they shouldnt pay for tickets but give them away to encourage support. Get some locals to be the ball boys and run on the field etc.

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.09.17 15:43:11 by Dunx Reply

    DunxSuper Rugby player
     
  • Ja sorry to say but can’t see the crowds streaming in to watch them play!!!!

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.09.17 16:00:37 by JD Reply
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  • Problem is most of the Pro 14 teams play in stadiums with fewer than 20 000 seats. Leinster mostly plays at the RDS Arena which has 16 500 seats. 10 000 fans in a stadium like that does not look so bad, but 10 000 in the NMB stadium with 46 000 seats look awful. That said 3000 fans must be plumbing the depths though.

    Thing is SA teams struggle to fill rugby stadiums nowadays – I wonder how many fans were at the Sharks away games vs the Griquas and Pumas.

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.09.17 16:01:21 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • When have they ever filled a stadium in the Eastern Cape?

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.09.17 16:08:01 by McLovin Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 5) : Those 3000 were mostly enjoying the good seats that come with catering, bums on seats in the stands were probably less than 300.

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.09.17 16:09:23 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 6) : World Cup scoccer. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.09.17 16:10:03 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Dunx (Comment 3) :Yep, time to think out the box, at this stage bums on seats instead of money from the turnstiles will mean more for the team and ultimately more for the franchise in time to come.

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.09.17 16:12:59 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 1) : Exactly they are having to rebuild for the third time in 37 months, thus I would rather give them time to get good again. which im sure they will provided the players they develop dont get poached.

    I dont blame the supporters for only attending in those numbers, times are tough financially and if you know the quality of rugby wont be that high you tend to take that into account. People are fickle. also the sear size of that stadium in pe makes it seem worse. theres a huge drop off of attendance at newlands for cc games but it doesnt seem as bad when seen on tv. I will say that even if its not a full house at newlands its a cool atmosphere and people are generally gracious to sharks supporters lol.

    Kings will slowly gain better attendance as their team and profile in pro14 improves.

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.09.17 18:43:51 by revolverocelot Reply

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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 9) : I had a conversation with someone regarding Kings Park at the beginning of the CC season. For the entire season they should have run a buy 1 ticket get 1 free (or even 2 free). I’m sure we’d have better attendance and I know I would have gone to more games if that was the case. The stadium never gets anywhere near full for CC, so make it worth the food and drinks vendors while during the “slow period” and try to full the stadium as best they can.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.09.17 09:38:58 by Hulk Reply

    HulkSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Hulk (Comment 11) : Fully agree, I think it was JD that mentioned that he had attended a game at the Free State Stadium and that they had a few good ideas on getting bums on seats (cant remember them all now) but they did not entail the spectator forking out a big entrance fee.

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.09.17 10:01:18 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I think the Pro14 games should be played at smaller stadiums as there interest and ability of fans financial wise is not there to fill these large stadiums. I wonder how much harder it would be for some Euro teams to play at say Shimla Park or NMMU.

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.09.17 12:11:58 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @Hulk (Comment 11) : :!: @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 12) :

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.09.17 12:37:24 by JD Reply
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  • @Hulk (Comment 11) : :!: @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 12) : yes it was me.
    On that day there was free entry (to the open pavilion top section) if you wore Varsity sports, Bloem Celtic or special Cheetahs supporters t-shirt (available at R50).
    Must say atleast they’re trying to get people to attend the games as for the last game against Zebre they offered free entry.
    Like you say get the people to go and start a culture of attending the games! In the mean time make money from selling food and drinks.

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.09.17 12:51:03 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 15) : There you go, free entry and it was a good turnout and Im sure the players from both sides appreciated that.

  • Comment 16, posted at 20.09.17 13:18:29 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 16) : plus I’m sure people did not mind spending a few Rand on food and drinks at the stadium so think Cheetahs made a bit of money!

  • Comment 17, posted at 20.09.17 17:01:02 by JD Reply
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