Warriors target increase to average attendance figure
Wigan hope their packed entertainment bill, and the high-stakes game, will help lure a bumper crowd tonight '“ so they can beat last year's average gate.
They need a crowd of at least 14,235 in their final regular season match against Catalans Dragons to register an improvement on last year’s figure.
The record crowd for a Catalans Super League game in the UK was set back in 2007 against Leeds, with 15,581, which is under threat.
While the French outfit can hardly be called on to provide a strong away following for obvious reasons, Wigan are confident fans will turn out in force due to the activity on and off the field.
They have marketed this game as the Big One 6, and X-factor singers will be performing before the game – when Shaun Wane’s men gun for a victory which secures a home semi-final the following week.
Last season’s average attendance of 13,362 was the first under the Super 8s model, which saw Wigan host every Super League team once – and then stage four more games in the second-phase of the season.
One of those ‘home’ games was taken ‘on the road’ to Millwall, in London, which drew an official gate of 8,101.
In recent years the Warriors have registered two average crowds of 16,000-plus – in 2011 and 2012 – which covered the hand-over period from Michael Maguire to Shaun Wane as head coach.
The crowd dropped the following year, when Wigan won the double.
The ‘Big One’ concept, introduced in 2009, has been revived after a year absence to try and ensure they finish the regular campaign with a party-feel.
Marketing director Simon Collinson said: “The Big One concept gives us a licence to have some fun, to engage and excite people and do things that we wouldn’t normally do.
“The win last week has helped, there is a real buzz about the place and among the fans, and it feels as if we’re building to a climax.”
Their marketing campaign included hiring a plane to fly around the area, dragging a ‘Big One 6’ banner. X-factor finalists Reggie n Bollie will be performing, as well as this year’s Wigan hopeful Olivia Garcia.
Sir Bradley Wiggins is among Olympians invited. Wigan have won four of their five previous ‘Big One’ games.
The first, in 2009, drew a crowd of 20,295 against Leeds and tries by George Carmont, Harrison Hansen and the Tomkins brothers, Joel and Sam, helped claim a 28-10 win.
In coach Maguire’s first year, Wigan went down 23-16 to Warrington in front of 22,701 fans – in a game which was the first screened in 3-D by Sky Sports.
Sam Tomkins bagged a hat-trick in front of 19,169 in 2011 as they hammered Huddersfield 46-12, and the following year, Josh Charnley’s treble helped them to a 48-10 win against Hull FC in front of 17,736 fans.
Since then, there has only been one other ‘Big One’ event, as 20,265 supporters saw Wigan beat Leeds 21-4.
The Joining Jack legends game in the curtain-raiser held arguably as much appeal, as Andy Farrell, Henry Paul and Gary Connolly dusted off the boots.
Wigan’s average home crowds in the last 10 years: