The Halliwell Jones Stadium was where the attendance debate in the Rugby League World Cup began.
In the first round of fixtures, Warrington Wolves’ ground played host to world number one side New Zealand’s opening game which came up against a Lebanon team equipped with NRL star players such as Mitchell Moses.
Despite all of this, and despite being on the wave sparked by the 43,000 fans who attended the first game between England and Samoa, only 5,000 fans attended this game.
This was a significant difference from the attendance recorded by New Zealand in their World Cup opener at the same venue against Samoa which attracted 15,000 fans.
World Cup Chief Executive Jon Dutton even described this at “disappointing.”
Since then, the World Cup average has been about 6,000.
The best attendances outside of England games have come at Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium. 14,000 attended New Zealand vs Ireland and 13,000 went to Australia vs Fiji.
Meanwhile, in the quarter-finals, 8,000 fans went to Australia vs Lebanon at Huddersfield Giants’ John Smith’s Stadium whilst 7,000 were at Hull FC’s MKM Stadium.
Of course, Wigan Warriors’ DW Stadium attracted a record of 23,000 for England vs Papua New Guinea.
That is the best attendance of the quarter-finals followed by the number recorded at Warrington today for a brilliant clash between Samoa and Tonga which was split by just two points as a Brian To’o proved the difference.
12,674 fans attended the game this afternoon in what is the third highest attendance for a game in the tournament which wasn’t an England clash beating out the game between Tonga and Papua New Guinea which had 10,000 attend at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium.
Including England games, it sits seventh.