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CEO Dave Smith is convinced more NRL games need to be played in front of sellout crowds — at smaller

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Shaka1eye, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. Shaka1eye

    Shaka1eye Active Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    A TRIP to New York over Christmas to watch ice hockey’s Rangers at Madison Square Garden has Dave Smith convinced more NRL games need to be played in front of sellout crowds — at smaller stadiums.

    On the day Smith announced a record $50 million profit for the game at the annual general meeting, the NRL boss also said a decision on future expansion would be decided by the end of this year.

    But Smith put himself on a potential collision course with Shane Richardson, who joins League Central next week as the head of game strategy and development, over the debate of how to grow crowds.

    While the former South Sydney boss has been bullish in the past in his support for bigger stadiums like ANZ at Homebush, Smith gave a clear view on how he would like to see the state government spend $600 million on Sydney stadia upgrades.

    “Ultimately what I want to do is have a great experience myself and make sure all the fans that pay their hard earned money have a great experience,” Smith said.

    “And I think you do have a greater experience if you are in a packed stadium, whatever that size is, and there is lots of atmosphere.

    “That is what we are planning for and that is what we hope the government plans for too.

    “This is a once-in-a-generation decision for all of the great people who live in Sydney.”

    There has been ongoing battle in Sydney footy over the future of suburban grounds like Brookvale and Leichhardt and the atmosphere they provide, versus the giant ANZ Stadium where so much rugby league is played these days.

    Smith has already spent $750,000 on a feasibility study for the Moore Park venue and it seems he thinks the future is somewhere between traditional and supersized stadiums.

    But Smith’s view is in direct opposition to how Richardson has previously stated the best way to grow crowds. When ANZ was under attack at the start of last year after record low crowds, Richardson was outspoken when he hit back at criticism ANZ lacked soul and had too many empty seats.

    “I don’t care about the crowd numbers. I care about the yield. Who cares about the look?” Richardson said. “What’s important is what you’re bringing through the gate. People want to highlight how many seats were empty. The whole mentality makes me puke.”

    But Smith said what he and his family took home from New York was a wonderful memory.

    Asked how he would advise the government to spend the $600 million, Smith was adamant atmosphere is everything.

    “There was 25,000 people, an amazing stadium,” Smith explained of Madison Square Garden.

    “The entertainment was fantastic. There were more kids than you could shake a stick at. It was great. And it was a great thing to watch. I’d never watched ice hockey in my life and my kids loved it and I loved it.

    “If we can recreate with a wonderful atmosphere that we have across our big events and indeed our 20,000 people events in that modern contemporary way, I think you will see crowds grow exponentially.

    “This isn’t about stadiums, this is about infrastructure and it is a very, very big decision and I am very happy that we have got $600 million committed.”

    Meanwhile, Smith said one of Richardson’s first jobs was to investigate the possibilities for expansion. Asked if he expected a decision to be ready by the end of the year, Smith said: “Absolutely, it is a key question and it feeds into broadcast rights.

    “But more importantly it feeds into keeping the momentum and progress that we have seen across the game.”

    Hopefully this means the NRL lends their full support to the Brookvale redevelopment. Is Dave Smith finally starting to 'get' rugby league? I dunno...it's a concern he got the idea watching ice hockey. Has he even been to Brookie yet?
     
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  2. globaleagle

    globaleagle Où est mon chapeau Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    It's good he finally understands about a packed stadium.

    It's ridiculous it took a junket to new york to work out this bleedin obvious fact.

    It's a shame he went to see the rangers at msg....ewwww, Go Canucks!!!!

    It's hopeful that he saw fights and realised they are good, and so bring back the biff!


    edit: It's called Hockey.....you guys play 'field' hockey!


    :p
     
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  3. sheridanstand78

    sheridanstand78 Well-Known Member

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    Everyone knows that a 20K crowd at Brooky or Leichhardt has a great atmosphere against a crowd that size at Homebush, I think its sad that there is no consideration for building up these stadiums. They did it in England 25 years ago after the Hillsborough disaster when the government made it mandatory for all stadia to be seated. The fans deserve better facilities and a better match day experience.
     
  4. manlyfan76

    manlyfan76 Parra Trolls are the best. Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    @sheridandstand78 Dave Smith doesn't know about brookie atmosphere because he don't go there and sit on the hill,
     
  5. robbiea

    robbiea Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Dave Smith has no idea , An ice hockey rink is around half the size of a footy field
    .Also ,he is comparing NRL venues to Madison Square garden ,which has had 1.1 billion dollars spent on it....
     
  6. lurker

    lurker Well-Known Member

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    This bodes well for the brookie redevelopment and future home finals!! It's also common sense lol
     
  7. ManlyArmy

    ManlyArmy Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    The NRL should invest in better transport options aswell for the smaller grounds. Like free buses... Oh but that's too difficult.
     
  8. TWO DOGS

    TWO DOGS Well-Known Member Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    How about fat boy Richardson's comment?
     
  9. Frogz

    Frogz Don't mess with the goat, he has photos. Premium Member

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    One step at a time MA.. we have only just got the knob on the small stadium idea. He cant do 2 things at once.
     
  10. Duff

    Duff Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I'd say this bodes well for leaving Brookie the f#^k alone.
    If the club need to make more money from corporates, they can put a row of boxes over the top of the hill.
    We have a ground we can be proud of now. Not a generic waste of space like Gosford, Parra or Robina. Anybody saying those grounds are good has obviously never been there. It's a bit late to realise it when they put something similar at Brookvale and your're forced to endure it every second week, not once a year.
     
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  11. Frogz

    Frogz Don't mess with the goat, he has photos. Premium Member

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    What's wrong with Parra, Duff. Apart from their supporters
     
  12. ManlyArmy

    ManlyArmy Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    A full 23,000 all seater with roof covering all the seats will provide an awesome atmosphere. Not to mention can hold other events there like concerts etc,
     
  13. Duff

    Duff Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    What's right with it?
    The seats are cramped and the walkways are too small, you can't see the big screen from one end, or the scoreboard from the other. It's all seats so there's no consideration for anybody who needs to stand to watch the game. you can't see the game from the beer queue. They charge you more to be on the halfway line. It's got no atmosphere.
     
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  14. lurker

    lurker Well-Known Member

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    Hey duff I don't think we have a ground to be proud of. When we have wet weather we can't even make 10k for a crowd. That's not good for a business to be so reliant on weather for income. Also the amenities and food/ is pretty frustrating. The atmosphere is the only reason I go to games. But you can't sell that to everyone. Need 15k to every game
     
  15. Duff

    Duff Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I'm proud of it and i refuse to go to Gosford because of the stadium, so work that one out.
    It still rains on plastic seats. The difference is that sitting in the rain is miserable. If you can stand you can have a bit of a laugh. People who allow the weather to dictate their movements won't take the stadium layout into account. They just hide from the weather.
     
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  16. mjb136

    mjb136 MWSE fanatic Premium Member

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    The nrl should invest in people who have a clue about this great game.
     
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  17. lurker

    lurker Well-Known Member

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    The weather thing was because any new stadium would have a lot more undercover seating. As I've said to you I still go to games but there are a lot of people that don't but probably would with undercover seating. Long term it is obviously better to have larger crowds at all games not just nice weather ones
     
  18. Duff

    Duff Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    It would just be different people. You'd lose people too.
    Like me.
     
  19. KOMORI

    KOMORI Born and bred an Eagle

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    I haven't been to a game at Brooky for many years sadly enough. Living in Brisbane more or less eliminates Brooky as venue :(

    I know there's quite a few Manly supporters up here and on the Gold Coast: you'll all know that Lang Park and Robina are pretty good stadiums to watch footy at (tho apprently you get pretty badly sunburnt at Robina?) because you're close to the field and they provide great atmosphere with half decent crowds..

    Any of you ever go to the now destroyed Seagulls' Stadium? Man.. That place was AWESOME to watch a game of footy at. And fantastic to play on as well. I've played GF's there and played a curtain raiser to a big game in front of roughly 15,000 ppl... I'll never, ever forget that feeling. I know it was a financial decision but to me it was a great tragedy that the Stadium was pulled down and sub-divided :(

    That little stadium... In the Northern stand (tallest) at the very back row you were maybe 35m from the edge of the field and up pretty high. Every single seat had a great view, and crowds really got well involved.

    After a day of watching 3-4 games of footy and finishing up at 9pm on Saturday night you were exhausted (and drunk!) but you'd had a fantastic frikken day. So much fun, cheering on the poor GC 'Gulls as they got pantsed again and again (cheering Manly when they visited of course!!) but the crowd was involved and electric. You only see that at the suburban grounds now.

    Dave Smith... Well I'd bet he's never been to Brooky, or Leichardt or other such places. So perhaps (given this article) maybe he should? He may learn what real, tribal Rugby Frikken League is all about. Sure, there's the corporate side of the game, but the game itself?? It belongs at such venues, steeped in the mood of the crowd that is emotionally attached to the fortunes of their team, and voicing that emotion.

    These huge stadiums... Well for the finals and the like yeah they're great. But for week to week club matches... Sadly enough the emotive content is lost, and the game becomes nothing more than that: a game.
     
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  20. globaleagle

    globaleagle Où est mon chapeau Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I used to go to that stadium a fair bit. Admittedly I used to advertise a fair bit with 'the daily news' so they threw me corporate box tix most of the time. Watched a Manly game there years ago....I think Danny moore was playing then and also I think a legends game. Anyway, loved it.
     

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