Analysing rugby game attendance at selected smaller unions in South Africa
Rugby union is being viewed and played by millions of people across the world. It is one of the fastest growing sport codes internationally and with more countries emerging and playing international and national games, the supporter attendance is crucial to the game. The rugby industry is mostly formal, with an international body controlling the sport globally and a governing body in each country to regulate the sport in terms of rules and regulations. These bodies must adhere to the international body’s vision and mission to grow the sport and to steer it in the correct direction. This study focuses on rugby game attendance of selected smaller unions in South Africa. Valuable information was gathered describing the socioeconomic profile and various preferences and habits of supporters attending rugby games. This information forms the basis for future studies to honour the people that support their unions when playing rugby nationally or internationally. The research was conducted through interviews with influential administrators within the rugby environment and questionnaires that were distributed among supporters that attended a Leopard and Puma game. The main conclusions during the study were the failure to attract supporters to the Leopards and the Pumas local matches. The supporters list various reasons for poor supporter attendances namely: • a lack of marketing, • no entertainment, • the quality of the teams that are competing, and • the time-slots in which the matches take place. A general and mutual concern among stakeholders for the future is the sustainability of supporters attending games of the smaller unions. The apparent lack of funding from the South African Rugby Union and supporters disinterest in their local union were singled out as serious shortcomings in protecting the interests of the stakeholders. All stakeholders need to engage on a national level strategy for developing structures and communication to promote and grow the potential of rugby not only in the cities, but in the entire South Africa.
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