$10 NRL tickets will get the crowds back to games

Rooster Anthony Minichiello during Monday night’s win, with a near-empty bay of grandstand seats in the background.  Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Rooster Anthony Minichiello during Monday night’s win, with a near-empty bay of grandstand seats in the background. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

RUGBY LEAGUE

Here's the deal. Let's call it market research. For a month of the NRL season, make tickets $10 and see what happens.

Could we see the crowds flock in - even in the Saturday twilight and Monday night time slots where the punters have stayed away regularly?

Will the NRL lose money as a result?

Let's look at this way. The NRL has a lucrative television deal to play games in these time slots on Fox Sports, so there's no shortage of cash coming in there.

Bigger crowds will lead to better atmosphere and the prospect of even bigger crowds, because the average fan will want to be part of it.

The flow-on effect will be higher merchandise sales and better corporate sponsorship, because the product the NRL is offering is better.

So if Monday night is going to remain - or Thursday night, for that matter - the NRL should put out these offers to prevent the farcical situation where 6000 turn up to a Roosters game on a Monday night.

Sure, the weather was miserable, but the home team won the premiership last year and is just a month away from another finals campaign.

A $10 ticket would get them out of lounge rooms and pubs to attend, and allow NRL clubs to build their membership base in these awkward TV time slots.

What have the NRL got to lose?

It has to be an idea those at League Central can look at, before they concede defeat on Monday or Thursday nights and have to renegotiate with TV rights holders about other time slots.

A near-empty stadium on TV isn't the best look anyway.

Country feeder idea

So, with the NRL discussion around bringing in a rookie draft, it should be taken a step further. Clubs in every group in the Country, Queensland and Victorian competitions should be linked to an NRL club.

It wouldn't be workable for each club to look after a region, simply because some clubs would benefit by involving themselves with a higher standard of competitions than others.

The NRL and clubs are better off putting funds into the country competition by being involved directly with clubs.

It would be mutually beneficial for a CRL club to be involved with an NRL club, because the link would mean young players feed into, for instance, the Wests Tigers system, and standardised funding and grants help improve footy in the bush.

Certainly, a system is needed to help country areas, a lot of which have been struggling for a while.

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