- Durban has set an unenviable record as having the lowest crowd attendance ever for a Springbok Rugby Championship match
- Kings Park Stadium was only just over half-full for the Springboks vs Argentina match on Saturday with an official attendance number of 26,836
- The low attendance has been blamed on bad pricing strategy by SA Rugby combined with Argentina being less than prime opponent but actually follows a pattern of bad support of large sporting events by Durbanites
Durban has set an unenviable record for having the lowest ever crowd attendance ever for a Springbok Rugby Championship (previously known as the Tri-Nations) match. Kings Park Stadium was only just over half-full for the Springboks vs Argentina match on Saturday.
The official attendance record for the match stands at 26,836 which is only just more than half of its capacity of 52,000. This low number has been blamed on a variety of factors and is likely to have some serious repercussions for Durban and other venues in the country.
SA Rugby has been blamed for implementing a bad pricing strategy for international matches which has made locals loath to shell out for expensive tickets. This comes as South Africans start to feel the pinch of record-high fuel prices which has caused basic living costs to rise.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Argentina is also the least favoured of South Africa’s opponents in the tournament and lack the magnetism which the All-Blacks command and even Australia can muster.
Unfortunately, the low attendance actually follows a pattern of bad support of large sporting events by Durbanites. In recent years attendance figures to international rugby and cricket matches and even local games featuring the Sharks have dwindled.
Sport24.com reported that the trend had actually forced SA Cricket to move the traditional Boxing Day Test match from Kingsmead to other venues.
It seems likely that SA Rugby will follow a similar strategy and could even reconsider spreading its international matches beyond the traditional powerhouse stadiums in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.
Some have even called on SA Rugby to implement a similar strategy to that employed by England where the team plays almost all of its home matches at one venue.
Failing that approach experts believe SA Rugby will start adopting a policy of awarding one venue with more than one Test match per season if that venue attracts large crowd numbers.
Durban’s new record beats the previous record held by Nelspruit which managed to attract only 27,357 people to a match at Mbombela Stadium in 2016. The stadium boasts a capacity of just 41,000 so in real terms, it was much closer to capacity than Kings Park was on Saturday.
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