In an interview with the Lancashire Telegraph, Blackburn Rovers Chief Executive Steve Waggott has revealed that he is concerned about the attendances at Ewood Park, with the crowds not increasing as much as they originally thought.
The average attendance at Ewood Park this season has been 13,477 – only 645 up from last season’s total of 12,832 when Blackburn Rovers were playing in League One.
The average attendance is expected to increase after the next home game, with over 20,000 fans expected at Ewood Park for the clash against Leeds United – who have been allocated a massive 7,500 tickets for their away supporters.
Steve Waggott spoke to the Lancashire Telegraph about his concerns regarding the attendance:
“It’s one of the concerns. My projection was for the average crowds to be higher than what they are at the moment,” Waggott said.
“Despite the effort and determination of the team and the link between the players and the fans that has come, it is a how do we get more in?
“The pages turn over quickly but this is a chapter when (the team) need their support.
“The team has done ever so well, but we need them to be behind the team and need that support because home games are going to be essential if we are to do something interesting.
“We’re trying as much as we can. I don’t know historically whether the club has had huge support?
“Against Leeds United we’re already hitting over 20,000, but Leeds are taking over 7,500 tickets. So what type of pool are we fishing in?”
Aston Villa packed out the bottom tier for their visit on September 15, while Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest brought in excess of 2,000 away fans.
Waggott believes that the lack of rise in supporters attending games at Ewood Park isn’t down to high ticket prices.
“It’s not down to a simple pricing point and slash and burn prices because we have got season ticket holders and members and you have to make sure you are not breaching what they are paying because they are paying in advance.
“We’re looking at a whole range of things, from different focus groups within the club, at junior membership right the way through, at incentives, but we have to get some of these people (who used to come) back.
“In the forums I ask fans to talk to people and see if they can bring people because I really feel they are missing out on a positive era of the club.”
Rovers are not the only club struggling to increase their attendances. The EFL’s introduction of streaming matches via iFollow means that fans no longer have to go to the game to watch their team play, with the match now available from their own home.
Waggott added: “It’s right across the board. I don’t want to get in to politics, but iFollow, Sky red button, all these other things that are available at the press of a button will impact, especially on midweek games.
“You have the blocked out hours but it will have an impact. It’s in discussion as to what the red button consists of within the Sky package.
“We get central distribution money from the Premier League so we do benefit, but Sky is such a huge income for everyone in football. It’s under debate.”