Queensland Reds Named Most Supported Club in Brisbane
September 13, 2012
Queensland Reds have overtaken Brisbane Broncos in fan attendances in the Australian city of Brisbane.
The fan-pulling power of rugby league’s Brisbane Broncos has been eclipsed for the first time in the club’s 25-year history with rugby’s Queensland Reds now ruling the roost as crowd favourites in Brisbane.
In a measure of just how high the Reds have soared since they limped along unloved in 2009, the state’s surging Super Rugby team has won the code battle on the crowd front by finishing 2012 averaging 34,217 fans per game at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos were still the envy of NRL clubs around the country for drawing average crowds of 33,377 for the regular season at the same home ground.
Many rated it an idle fancy when Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Jim Carmichael said in February that outdrawing the Broncos was “not only a dream but something I think about all the time”.
“There is enough room for lots of parochial fans to get behind both rugby codes in Brisbane but I’m absolutely delighted that the Reds can say they have built such a regular following and built such an emotional connection with fans,” Mr Carmichael enthused.
A Reds team driven by heroes Will Genia, Digby Ioane and Quade Cooper has muscled to No.1 spot in terms of state footy crowds.
AFL’s Brisbane Lions (20,352) and Gold Coast Suns (13,645) are down the list while rugby league’s Gold Coast Titans (14,419) and North Queensland Cowboys (14,415) draw smaller average crowds.
Fan numbers following the Reds at Suncorp Stadium jumped 16 per cent on 2011 but the remarkable spike is measuring just where the code was at in 2009 when only three games were won.
Home crowds averaged just 18,646 per match that year so the exponential growth in support is at 83 per cent since those days of failure.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie summed it up succinctly.
“It’s massive growth. We’ve come a long way to outdraw the Broncos,” said McKenzie, who backed the QRU’s membership drive which turned the meagre 6225 base of 2009 into a rousing membership of 32,640 this year.
Rugby’s first foray into hosting a Test on the Gold Coast is also shaping as a success with crowd expectations tracking beyond 20,000 for the Wallabies clash against Argentina at Robina’s Skilled Park on Saturday night.