Thursday 17 April 2014

#NRL 2014: How do you schedule the Easter Round 7 to attract crowds? | #NRLSouCby #NRLParWst

How do you schedule Easter?

2014 National Rugby League Premiership

By W D Nicolson - April 17, 2014

The below is my best attempt to try and give fans who have up to 4 days off over Easter every chance to attend a game or games in Round 7.

While I do understand TV decides when games are played, I fear that not enough thought went into the allocation of this weekend's matches and a lot of fans are being forced to choose which game they go to as opposed to having options of games to go to.
Here is the current Round 7 schedule over Easter.

Friday 4pm - Rabbitohs v Bulldogs at ANZ
Friday 8pm - Knights v Broncos at Newcastle
Friday 8pm - Sea Eagles v Cowboys at Central Coast
Saturday 5:30pm - Dragons v Warriors at Kogarah
Saturday 7:30pm - Sharks v Roosters at Cronulla
Sunday 3pm - Raiders v Storm at Canberra
Monday 4pm - Eels v Tigers at ANZ
Monday 7pm - Panthers v Titans at Penrith

What I want to see is an attempt to shift how people view attending the football - and the Easter weekend is the perfect opportunity to say to fans of ALL teams (well those who have a game nearby) - get out and watch some footy this weekend - even if your team isn't playing.

Granted pricing is a massive element in winning this battle - and credit to the NRL for showing some initiative and offering reduced price packages this weekend - but getting the scheduling as close to 'right as possible' is a huge part of the battle plan.

Here's my basic rule - make multiple games attendable and don't force local fan bases to choose between two games on the same day. Because if given the choice of watching one at the ground and missing the other stuck in traffic coming home/going to from the game - they will stay at home and watch both on TV.

Which in a normal round is par for the course, but Easter = people have time off so let's seriously encourage them to get to the footy and not stay at home and watch on TV.

Go here for ROUND 7 TIPS and LATE MAIL
Amended Round 7 Easter schedule...

Friday 4pm - Rabbitohs v Bulldogs at ANZ
Friday 8pm - Knights v Broncos at Newcastle

Saturday 4pm - Panthers v Titans at Penrith
Saturday 7pm - Sea Eagles v Cowboys at Central Coast

Sunday 3pm - Raiders v Storm at Canberra
Sunday 6pm - Sharks v Roosters at Cronulla

Monday 2pm - Eels v Tigers at ANZ
Monday 4pm - Dragons v Warriors at ANZ

Look the above is NOT perfect but given the actual games allocated for Round 7 - it is the best I could come up with to encourage big crowds on each day.

Friday could be a double header instead of Monday with the Dragons-Warriors game the one flip-flopping - I don't mind which day gets the double header but it needs to involve at least 3 BIG Sydney clubs and the crowd should honestly get past 50,000 and push into the 60,000 range. Now Brisbane play on FNF - let's accept that and give Newcastle and Central Coast residents alike one huge game to attend.... together.

Saturday isn't perfect but Penrith get a family friendly time (3pm is my preference but it'd be 4-5pm per TV instructions) and the Central Coast get a big game on a Saturday night - and who knows people holidaying on the Central Coast might be interested in some Saturday night footy instead of having to battle the Good Friday traffic up the F3/M1 the night before.

Sunday gives Canberra a chance to turn out and support their team, while Cronulla on an Easter Sunday night should really be an attractive option for the locals... I mean what are they doing the next day? Get out to the footy!

Monday is the double header... again could be Friday but the Monday wins out simply because people are in holiday mode by now and the 2pm-4pm starts make more sense than a 4pm-7pm start the Friday games would have to be. Plus every family should be home by 8pm on Easter Monday... good for the parents going back to work and the kids are on holidays anyway.

The amended schedule just seems to fit better right?

Now I'm not suggesting this answers every puzzling question - but compare the pair of schedules and ask yourself:

Do the fans and TV win win here?

And one last thing, I personally do not like footy being played on Good Friday. So my actual preference for the Round would go against all of the above, but if playing the game remains a locked in part of the NRL code then the above is how I would schedule it. Quite frankly I think the AFL have got it right leaving Good Friday footy free and I hope it stays that way.
What do you think?
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