Jon Dutton ‘disappointed’ with Warrington attendance as Chief Executive addresses World Cup ticket prices

Much of the talk since the opening day of the Rugby League World Cup has been around attendances and ticket prices for the tournament.

After a successful first day, which saw strong attendances at St James’ Park and Headingley Stadium, the crowds over days two and three have caused concerns from the rugby league fraternity.

This has created a strong debate among fans on social media who have questioned ticket prices for the competition, with the cost of living crisis in the UK seeing many households be more cautious in their spending.

Chief Executive for the World Cup Jon Dutton has previously discussed complications that have emerged from the delayed start to the tournamant, which was originally planned 12 months ago.

This has resulted in a large number of ticket refunds, while prices were frozen to show loyalty to those people who purchased tickets from when they first went on sale.

However, this hasn’t stopped the backlash from fans who were disappointed to see a large number of empty seats at arenas such as the Halliwell Jones Stadium, a ground which was full for the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.

Throughout the build-up to the tournament, Dutton has never shied away from the difficult questions and that hasn’t changed since the start of the World Cup as he took to Twitter on Monday night to address many of the fan’s concerns.

In response to one fan, Dutton admitted he was disappointed at the attendance posted at Warrington for New Zealand’s clash against Lebanon.

This then started a series of Tweet replies from the World Cup chief as he vowed to continue an internal review of ticket costs with the aim of lower prices and improved crowds.

“We are disappointed with the Warrington attendance for the No 1 ranked side NZ. We are working hard with all our hosts through re-categorisation (where possible) and making tickets available to ensure as many as possible can access RLWC2021 tickets.”

“Hi Cameron, we are listening but worth noting that £15 for adults is comparable with 2013 despite inflation at 10% re cost of staging the tournament. We sold more tickets on Saturday night than at any point since the ballot in October 2020. Children £2.21 tonight and £5 on Wed.”

“The prices were set in 2020 and after plenty of feedback we have been encouraged not to discount. We do appreciate the challenges people are facing and are listening. The tournament does need to generate funds to pay the costs of staging.”

“£2.21 for all children tonight in Doncaster. £15 for adults and £5 for children in Leigh on Wednesday. Tournament runs to break even, no profit and we pay for everything, hence the need to raise funds from tickets and other sources.”

“2013 was a different social and economic environment. I was in Bristol and it was fantastic. We have plenty more highs to come, there will be a few lows and people can judge the overall outcome when the fireworks go off.”

“This week the prices are – Doncaster – £20.21/£2.21 St Helens – £25/£15 Leigh – £15/£5 Disappointing crowd last night and more for us to do.”

Serious About Rugby League have also approached the Rugby League World Cup for comment on ticket prices and plans going forward for the remainder of the tournament.

Numbers collated by rugby league statistician Andrew Ferguson on Twitter show that after the first six games of the World Cup, the total combined attendances for this current tournament so far seem to rank somewhere in the middle compared to all previous stagings of the event.

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