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Challenge Cup Final attendance dwarfed by Premiership Rugby Final

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The Challenge Cup Final took place at Wembley Stadium yesterday with the Wigan Warriors overcoming the Warrington Wolves in a tight encounter. Bevan French was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy for an inspirational display for Wigan. 

Challenge Cup attendances have come under scrutiny in recent years, with both semi-finals,  held at neutral venues, and the final struggling to attract big crowds.

The semi-final clashes attracted just over 20,000 fans in total this year, with 11,193 watching Wigan beat Hull KR and under 10,000 fans present for Warrington’s win over Huddersfield.

Low attendances at the final in recent years have also raised questions over whether Wembley is the right venue for showpiece fixtures.

Last year’s final attracted just 58,213 fans, compared with regular attendances over 80,000 around 2010.

Yesterday, the Challenge Cup was subject to a clash with one of the biggest fixtures of the Rugby Union calendar. The difference in the attendances at the two fixtures was stark.

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Leigh Leopards lift the Challenge Cup trophy after victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the final


Challenge Cup Final attendance draw fed by Union Showpiece

The final of the Gallagher Premiership took place yesterday at Twickenham. The game saw the Northampton Saints beat Bath 25-21, with former Super League coach, Lee Radford, making up part of the Saints’ backroom staff.

The Premiership final attracted a sell out crowd at Twichenham, with 81,699 fans in attendance to watch Northampton lift the trophy.

By contrast, the Challenge Cup final was watched by a much smaller crowd. The crowdcrowd at Wembley was 64,845. The positive news regarding the attendance is that it is the highest attendance for a cup final since 2017. However, with a triple header at Wembley yesterday and fans from six different clubs, it highlights once again how far numbers have fallen in recent years.

It is undoubtedly a positive sign though that attendances are OK the up. Perhaps Rugby League would benefit from it’s own national stadium, in the same way Union has Twickenham.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Les FINCH

    June 9, 2024 at 2:57 pm

    For me ,I understand why the triple header is a great reward for the players and staff to play on the big stage.But it doesn’t work and the,rushed celebrations for the winners takes away from the whole experience..No Way would this multiple Finals match format take place for football..
    Other gaffs and fails for Rugby league,today…match ball too soft at kick off,delaying the “special delayed kick off in memory of the wonderful Rob Burrow, the “missing /delayed presentation of the Warrington losers medals,to some of the players,does not show rugby league in a good light..The RfL needs to up its game….

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