HUDDERSFIELD Giants will this season be backed by more Super League fans at the Galpharm Stadium than ever before!
The club open their home Super League XIV campaign against St Helens on Sunday (3.00) with high hopes of attracting a five-figure crowd.
With well over 5,000 supporters having taken advantage of the Giants’ cut-price season-ticket offer and on the back of a magnificent 30-8 opening-day triumph at Catalans Dragons, an attendance of over 10,000 is a distinct possibility.
The bold cut-price sesaon-ticket move has been made as part of the Giants’ bid to attract average season attendances of over 10,000, which will be crucial to the club being granted a Super League licence when the new franchises are awarded in three years’ time.
Last season, Huddersfield’s average crowd was 7,843, including the club’s highest Super League crowd of 15,629 against Leeds Rhinos a year ago.
And there’s every indication that the average will increase significantly in 2009, with Australian head coach Nathan Brown believing the more the fans can get behind his team, the higher the likelihood will be of the Giants climbing rapidly up the Super League ladder.
“I think it’s amazing how much the fans can lift a side,” said Brown.
“There’s no question they’ll have a massive role to play in helping us achieve our on-field aims in 2009. They can help give us a huge psychological boost.
“What the club has done with this season-ticket offer to get more fans behind us is absolutely fantastic.
“The office staff has done their job, so now it’s up to us on the field to make sure we give them something to shout about!
“Together, I’m sure we can make this year one to remember.”
If the Giants do attract a five-figure home crowd against Saints for the first time in Super League – that would be Huddersfield’s sixth in the Super League era – and would be on the back of a record-breaking start to Super League on the attendance front.
Last weekend’s opening round of seven Super League XIV fixtures produced an all-time high aggregate attendance of 77,944, with an average of 11,132 fans per game.
That figure comfortably beat the previous best aggregate for an opening round which was 69,499 set by the six matches in the opening week of the 2004 season.
Super League was a 14-club competition in 1999, but on the opening weekend of that campaign the round one aggregate only reached 47,758!
The record-breaking total set last weekend is also just 973 fans behind the record attendance for any round of matches in the 13-year history of the competition (78,917 for round 25 of the 2007 season).
“This is a tremendous start for the engage Super League and clearly demonstrates the competition continues to grow and develop at a healthy rate,” said RFL chief executive Nigel Wood.
“We believe the League offers a unique family sporting entertainment experience and supporters are responding to this in ever increasing numbers.
“The players and the coaches have worked extremely hard in the off-season and have already produced some exciting and gripping contests.
“We would also like to thank and recognise the tremendous efforts of the marketing and PR staff at all the clubs who have worked so energetically and productively to promote and organise what was a highly-successful opening weekend”.