The Brumbies have won 10 straight games at Canberra Stadium – including their first two matches this season – but thousands of seats remain empty each week as disillusioned fans stay away from the struggling code.
Despite the impressive winning streak and some entertaining rugby, Canberra crowds are down 17 per cent this season after the opening two rounds averaged just 7267 fans.
Brumbies home crowds are down almost 15 per cent on their previous worst which was set just two years ago at 8391 per game.
It follows a trend across the country and the southern hemisphere competition with crowds also decreasing in South Africa and New Zealand.
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Thomson has introduced game-day initiatives for children, set up a new bar area, and even given away free beers this season, but it hasn’t worked.
It was thought a state of emergency in the ACT impacted the season-opener against the Queensland Reds but the crowd figure dropped further the following week against Melbourne Rebels.
The Brumbies host a third straight home game on Saturday against the Highlanders and Thomson hopes the double-header with Super W brings some back.
“It is quite frustrating because the team is doing everything they can, you can’t ask for more than winning all your home games,” Thomson told AAP.
“We certainly would like more people and I think the team deserve to be playing in front of more people.”
The game was dragged through the mud in Australia last year when the Wallabies bombed at the World Cup as star Israel Folau went through a messy divorce with Rugby Australia.
It’s a tough scenario for Rugby Australia as it attempts to negotiate a new broadcast deal vital to covering the game’s costs.
Thomson conceded the national problems were affecting the spiralling crowd numbers in Canberra.
“That’s certainly got something to do with it,” he said.
Mark Robinson, the chief executive of New Zealand Rugby, has had his say on reports that South Africa are planning to join the Six Nations.https://t.co/jt8njNZI2o
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 10, 2020
“At the moment we seem to be focusing more on what’s happening off the field, which nine times out of 10 brings negative publicity to the game.
“People see another headline about rugby and it’s not positive so they think rugby’s not in a good space – ‘Why should I go and watch that’.
“For varying reasons people just aren’t connecting with the game. We feel we’re doing everything we can but there is that disconnect somewhere along the line.
“The product of rugby is not resonating as well as it has in the past.
“But I think it can certainly come back, all sports go through highs and lows.”
The Brumbies have won two games to open their season and the side is feeling confident:
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