How the 2022 Super League Grand Final attendance compares to all previous years

Saturday’s showpiece event at Old Trafford marked the 25th Super League Grand Final since the concept was introduced in 1998.

It was the 24th Grand Final played in front of a crowd, with the 2020 staging between St Helens and Wigan the only exception due to the coronavirus pandemic, as they played behind closed doors in Hull.

As the dust settles on St Helens 24-12 victory over Leeds, there has been plenty of talk about the attendance, with a crowd of 60,783 watching rugby league’s biggest event of the year at the Theatre of Dreams.

Despite a significant increase on last year’s attendance, which was hampered by French outfit Catalans Dragons making the final, many fans have been left underwhelmed by the number posted at Old Trafford in 2022.

And it seems supporters are very much in their rights to be concerned as this year’s crowd ranks a lowly 19th in comparison to all of the other 23 Grand Finals played since 1998.

Even more worrying is the fact that it took rugby league fans a number of years to buy into the concept of a Grand Final due to Super League’s champions being decided by whoever finished top of the league in 1996 and 1997.

This meant that the first four years of Super League Grand Finals averaged below the 60,000 mark, and with Catalans making the final in 2021, there is an argument to be had that since rugby league fans have taken to the concept of a ‘winner takes all’ Grand Final, this year’s attendance is the lowest to date.

The numbers also show that the four previous Leeds-St Helens Grand Finals brought in bigger gates, with the number as high as 71,352 for the 2007 event which Leeds won 33-6 in Tony Smith’s last game as coach.

Even going back to just 2019 sees the last all-English final played in front of a crowd between St Helens and Salford bringing in 64,102, while going back to 2015 saw the record Old Trafford Grand Final gate, with 73,512 in attendance for Leeds against Wigan.

That means in the space of seven years the Super League Grand Final attendance is down almost 13,000, though the current cost of living crisis in the UK must be taking into consideration when looking at this year’s reduced gate.

The numbers below highlight this year’s crowd in comparison to every other Grand Final we’ve seen over the last 25 years.

Super League Grand Final attendances:
1. 2015 – Leeds 22–20 Wigan: 73,512
2. 2017 – Leeds 24–6 Castleford: 72,827
3. 2006 – St Helens 26–4 Hull: 72,575
4. 2010 – Wigan 22–10 St Helens: 71,526
5. 2007 – Leeds 33–6 St Helens: 71,352
6. 2012 – Leeds 26–18 Warrington: 70,676
7. 2016 – Wigan 12–6 Warrington: 70,202
8. 2014 – St Helens 14–6 Wigan: 70,102
9. 2011 – Leeds 32–16 St Helens: 69,107
10. 2008 – Leeds 24–16 St Helens: 68,810
11. 2013 – Wigan 30–16 Warrington: 66,281
12. 2005 – Bradford 15–6 Leeds: 65,728
13. 2003 – Bradford 25–12 Wigan: 65,537
14. 2004 – Leeds 16–8 Bradford: 65,547
15. 2018 – Wigan 12–4 Warrington: 64,892
16. 2019 – St Helens 23–6 Salford: 64,102
17. 2009 – Leeds 18–10 St Helens: 63,259
18. 2002 – St Helens 19–18 Bradford: 61,138
19. 2022 – St Helens 24–12 Leeds: 60,783
20. 2001 – Bradford 37–6 Wigan: 60,164
21. 2000 – St Helens 29–16 Wigan: 58,132
22. 1999 – St Helens 8–6 Bradford:50,717
23. 2021 – St Helens 12–10 Catalans: 45,177
24. 1998 – Wigan 10–4 Leeds: 43,533

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