Shock Grand Final attendance’s financial implications

Wigan Warriors claimed the Super League title at the expense of Catalans Dragons last night claiming a 10-2 win.

It was 2-all at halftime after Harry Smith and Adam Keighran exchanged penalties.

Then Wigan found an extra gear and Liam Marshall scored the only try of the game to claim. Smith settled matters with another penalty as the Warriors were cheered onto victory by the majority of the 58,137 fans in attendance.

After the 2021 Grand Final involving Catalans Dragons there were fears over attendance going into this year’s decider.

In 2021, the Grand Final recorded an attendance of only 45,177 fans. But this was impacted by the pandemic.

Within days of defeating St Helens in the semi-finals, Catalans had sold 1,000 tickets and had three chartered planes planned, a figure that rose to five by the end of the week.

In total, 3,000 fans made the trip over from France with the RFL expecting an attendance of at least 55,000 but pushing towards 60,000.

Later in the week, 57,000 was the figure that emerged as the expected attendance. Either way, a massive increase on the 2021 decider and a great effort from the French fans who showed their passion with a pitch invasion after Sam Tomkins’ historic match winning try against St Helens which secured their place in the decider becoming only the sixth side after Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Bradford Bulls, St Helens and their opponents to reach more than one Grand Final.

Being there before didn’t deter their fans from attending this year.

The official attendance of 58,137 will likely be enough to settle the financial fears some had for the rest of Super League.

The 2023 Super League Grand Final saw Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons butt heads. The top two after the regular season level on points with one another and Champions St Helens.

Thus, this made for the most apt Grand Final as Wigan chased a sixth Super League title and Catalans Dragons battled to become the first new team since 2004 to lift the Super League trophy.

Their appearance at Old Trafford made history itself as they became only the sixth different team to reach more than on Grand Final after Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Bradford Bulls and St Helens as well as their opponents Wigan Warriors.

Thus, it was posed to be a historic Grand Final in which former Wigan star Sam Tomkins was set to play a huge role in what was his final ever game before retirement.