A crowded issue

Lately, I’ve noticed that everyone loves to have a crack.

Have some good stats and facts to back yourself up? Awesome, I’d love to hear it.

But my biggest issue with people on the internet is they love to make comments and opinions without having some hard facts to back them up.

Today in my life on the internet, I took some interest in the ‘disgust’ from outsiders on the attendance at North Melbourne v Gold Coast.

15,400. At first glance, it’s not great, especially on a mild April night under the roof.

No one held back in their attack against the club and supporters and failure to rock up to the game. But no one bothered to check and see how the numbers compared to a few other Victorian sides, and the Suns at Etihad Stadium… so I did.

In Round 6, 2017: North Melbourne, with aprox 37,000 members played the Suns at Etihad Stadium and drew a crowd of 15,400.

In Round 21, 2016: Essendon, with aprox 57,000 members played the Suns at Etihad Stadium and drew a crowd of 16,600

If you’re going to blame the horrid year of the Bombers, don’t bother. They managed to draw big crowds through the entire season, including close to 35,000 against the Lions.

In Round 22, 2016: Collingwood, with aprox 74,000 members played the Suns at Etihad Stadium and drew a crowd of 17,600.

If you want to get technical, the Collingwood game in Round 22 last year was also a Saturday night under the roof. That was their lowest home crowd for the season. If you’re trying to blame it on the fact that the Pies were out of final’s contention, how did they manage close of 35,000 against the Eagles a few weeks earlier?

This isn’t having a dig at either side, but it’s a worry when two powerhouse sides of the AFL struggling to bring in crowds against the Suns. Crowds against the Giants aren’t much better.

But now back to North.

Some people are still throwing up suggestions of merger, relocations and bankruptcy… it’s getting old and boring and tired.

The growth of the club, both on and off field is evident and to me these suggestions come from those too lazy to do any research to back up their ridiculous claims.

Let’s discuss crowds.

In 2009, North played the Dockers in front of 15,000 at Etihad.

In 2015 and 2016, both games were played at Sunday Twilight and the crowds exceeded 23,000. Whereas St Kilda only managed 17,000 (Sat twilight, 2016), 16,000 (Sun twilight, 2015) and Collingwood ticked just over 20,000 (Friday night, 2016).

In 2010, North played Port Adelaide at Etihad. Another crowd of 15,000

In 2016, there were 27,000 and 22,000 showed up in 2015. The Tigers (who know how to pull a good crowd) only managed 27k against Port on a Saturday night last year, while the Dogs only managed 20k in 2015 and the Hawks grabbed 28k under Friday night lights in their 3-peat season.

I’m a painfully passionate supporter and while I know this all sounds so defensive, there’s a point to it.

Every club in the league will be singled out for one reason or another, however with a bit of research and self-education you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn and how much stronger fact-supported arguments become.

Over the weekend, I was amazed at how many people made comments and then went quiet when I presented a well researched argument.

So, I took it upon myself to dig a little deeper and educate so many individuals today. I just wanted to show that a little research can go a very long way.

And that concludes today’s lesson in winning the internet.



  1. Cheryl Critchley says

    Some interesting stats here but did you realise North used the AFL’s new dynamic ticket pricing to lift the cost of reserved seats to up to $81 for this game? You could still get $25 general admission, but the increases hardly would have encouraged anyone to rock up at the last minute, especially if they wanted a decent seat.

  2. Paul Young says

    Nice work Marnie. I don’t care what other club’s supporters think of North Melbourne crowds. I’m not tired of it, I just don’t care. It rears up after one or two games per year, so it’s bound to happen. I sometimes join in the chorus and crack a joke myself. I love the idea of going to a North game knowing I can get a decent seat and don’t have to book a year in advance, or pay some ridiculous amount for a crap seat like I have at Adelaide Oval.

  3. Peter_B says

    Well researched Marnie. Having had a crack at North for the 22,000 in the Game 1 we attended at Etihad against my Eagles, my observation is about the “supply and demand” implications of 10 teams in Melbourne. Its not about the 15,000 crowd – its about the only 37,000 members.
    Sport lives off TV revenue and advertising. 18 teams = 9 games = More TV space filled with lucrative (mostly gambling) ads = Well paid players, coaches and administrators.
    Someone has to be last/smallest in any distribution. North has always punched above its weight on the field, and that keeps the competition lucrative and credible.

  4. Hey Marnie,
    I’m in a similar boat: 15,000 is a healthy number. Especially when there were so many other competing sporting events on this weekend: Collingwood v Geelong and Essendon v Melbourne the next day, Victory vs Roar, the next day, and Vixens v Lightning on at roughly the same time. North were playing a team that hardly begets passion from the neutral fan. Sports fans had any number of other sporting events to watch let alone attend.
    What I find unappealing about going to a North-Gold Coast game is that it is being played at Docklands. I’d love to go and watch such a game at a venue which holds 20,000. But in the soulless, sterile, Docklands, such a small crowd seems very small and lacking in any real intense atmosphere.
    The idea that ‘sport lives off TV revenue and advertising’ is a reflection of our contemporary sporting culture. Maybe this can be changed slowly by going to games (rather than watching them on television) and playing sport instead of gambling on it.

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