Super League is the premier competition in England and the fans are what help make the sport so great by providing atmosphere and tension when they attend games, but which fans fill out their stadium the best?
The 2022 saw a competition average attendance of 8,267, compared to 8,350 in 2019 which was last season before the pandemic.
A tiny decrease of just 83 fans per game is negligible and hopefully it can be reversed and improved upon in the 2023 season, with the addition of Leigh who will replace French side Toulouse.
Using attendance statistics from the 2022 season and comparing it with each team’s stadium capacity, here’s a list of the fans who are able to best fill their stadium for the most recent stadium.
For reference the twelve stadiums in use for the 2022 Super League season in order of capacity were as follows.
– Hull FC, MKM Stadium – 25,586
– Wigan Warriors, DW Stadium – 25,133
– Huddersfield Giants, John Smith’s Stadium – 24,554
– Leed Rhinos, Headingley Rugby Stadium – 20,500
– Toulouse Olympique, Stade Ernest-Wallon – 19,500
– St Helens, Totally Wicked Stadium – 18,000
– Warrington Wolves, Halliwell Jones Stadium – 15,200
– Catalans Dragons, Stade Gilbert Brutus – 13,000
– Hull KR, Craven Park – 12,225
– Salford Red Devils, AJ Bell Stadium – 12,000
– Castleford Tigers, Wheldon Road – 11,433
– Wakefield Trinity, Belle Vue – 7,258
12th- Huddersfield Giants, 5,144 – 21%
The Giants are a victim of their giant stadium ironically that they manage to fill a fifth of on average for every home game in 2022. Despite playing some brilliant rugby and finishing third in the league ladder they sit bottom of this table for fullest stadium.
11th- Toulouse Olympique, 4,974 – 25.5%
Toulouse are another team that are victim to a large stadium and obviously the lack of traveling fans but they still averaged just under a respectable 5,000 for their first season in Super League. It would be interesting to note what their Championship attendance is for 2023 and if the French fans still have a passion for second tier rugby league.
10th- Salford Red Devils, 4,529 – 37.7%
One of just three teams below the 40% mark and the Red Devils don’t have the same excuse of having a large stadium. The excuse that they do have though is the emergence of a football league side in their city that has warranted major media attention given its owners. They also have to compete with a host of lower league rugby teams and the huge Premier League sides of Manchester City and United being on their doorstep as well.
9th- Hull FC, 10,793 – 42%
Despite holding the fourth highest average attendance in the league the Black and Whites play in their city’s huge football stadium that boasts the largest capacity in the league and therefore despite clocking over 10,000 on the gate on average every week they don’t get close to filling the MKM. With Tony Smith leading them in 2023 they could see a slight boost but even so they likely won’t pass 50%.
8th- Wigan Warriors, 12,278 – 48.8%
The highest finishing team so far on the list but they make the bottom-half for capacity filled clocking in just under half full on average. Despite playing some brilliant rugby, Wigan play in another huge stadium that like 9th placed Hull FC also hosts football games. Although the football teams fall from the Premier League and financial issues they only manage to put in 11,926 during their most recent season highlighting that in Wigan rugby league is king.
7th- Warrington Wolves, 8,719 – 57.4%
Just like where they finished in the 2022 Super League table it’s another bottom-half finish for the Wire, although they’ll be thankful they’re not 11th again on this list. Boasting the fifth highest average attendance they fill more than half of the Halliwell Jones on the weekly but with better performances expected in 2023 after a whole host of signings they could easily improve this figure.
6th- Catalans Dragons: 8,068 – 62%
The Dragons are the first side to pass the 60% mark and they do so impressively when considering away fans don’t flood to Perpignan in huge numbers. A trip to the Grand Final in 2021 could have seen higher attendances in 2022 and they rewarded those fans with some brilliant rugby at times, ultimately finishing fourth and making the playoff semi-finals.
5th- Leeds Rhinos: 12,940 – 63.1%
Despite boasting the highest average attendance across the league Rhinos drop to fifth in this list, only just missing out on third position as the percentages get very close. Despite this Rhinos can probably make a strong case for having the best fans in the league by way of showing up week in week out, and with 2023 set to be Rohan Smith’s first full year in charge following a Grand Final run last year Rhinos could pass the 13k average attendance mark.
4th- Wakefield Trinity: 4,613 – 63.5%
Trinity have the second lowest attendance average but fly high in these rankings just pipping Leeds and nicking fourth spot. Trinity have finished 10th for three consecutive years but their support is seemingly unwavering, however there’s a disclaimer that comes with their stadium. Belle Vue now has an official capacity of 7,258 but it was formerly higher than this and the element of three stands that are standing only also means it can appear very empty.
3rd- Hull KR: 7,788 – 63.7%
Nicking in ahead of both Leeds and Wakefield to make the top three is the other Hull side, Hull KR who may not reach the attendance figures of their cross-city rivals, they are able to more successfully fill their stadium. The Robins head into 2023 with new management and a young squad full of flair so fans could well come back and show their support after what was a disappointing season, particularly during the period of games in the run up to Tony Smith being removed from head coach.
2nd- St Helens: 11,851 – 65.8%
Just missing out on first is the four time consecutive Grand Final champions St Helens who topped the table last year and achieved an astounding fourth Grand Final victory in a row when they beat Leeds. Saints play at the Totally Wicked Stadium which does have a decent capacity but they do manage to almost fill it to two thirds full. If another season of brilliant rugby is on the cards then it can be assumed that this total will remain similar in 2023.
1st- Castleford Tigers: 7,542 – 66%
Topping the list are the Tigers who have just been reported as having submitted planning to develop their stadium at Wheldon Road with funds of over £12 million being set to improve their home. Despite a below par season where they just missed out on the play-offs the Tigers faithful showed out in full force in order for them to top this list. With three consecutive seasons outside the playoffs it’s very impressive that Tigers boast such strong attendance figures.
Castleford top the list for percentage of stadium filled but they fare less well when it comes to sheer attendance figures ranking eighth whilst fifth place Leeds Rhinos actually boast the best attendance average. Below are the average attendance rankings.
Super League 2022 average attendances
1st: Leeds – 12,940
2nd: Wigan – 12,278
3rd: St Helens – 11,851
4th: Hull FC – 10,763
5th: Warrington: 8,719
6th: Catalans – 8,068
7th: Hull KR – 7,788
8th: Castleford – 7,542
9th: Huddersfield – 5,144
10th: Toulouse – 4,974
11th: Wakefield – 4,613
12th: Salford – 4,529