As we approach four days away from our respective places of work, thoughts obviously turn to just what to do over this break. If you are in Brisbane and you are a fan of any of the national sporting codes you are likely to be disappointed because none of said codes have any games scheduled for Brisbane (or the Gold Coast) this weekend.
That’s right, and I will repeat it, none of the NRL, AFL, A-league or Super Rugby have games scheduled this weekend in Brisbane or South East Queensland. I concede that I am ignoring the Brisbane Lions game scheduled for tonight but I am defining the weekend for this purpose as starting on Friday morning and ending on Monday night.
When I first realized this I thought to myself that I must have misread my sports diary. However, a further examination of the schedules of the teams in each code bore out that I had not made a mistake and there is to be no national code sport in South East Queensland this weekend. In the NRL the Titans are in Penrith and the Broncos in Newcastle. In the A-league the Roar have the week off. In the AFL the Lions game will be over before the weekend starts and the Suns are playing in Melbourne. In Super Rugby the Reds have a bye.
This is just nuts! Set aside for the moment my love sport and think about the economics of a decision by the codes not to play in South East Queensland this weekend. The Broncos and the Reds consistently procure crowds that double their southern counterparts. Both have massive membership bases and both are seeking to get more kids to their games. This weekend presented a massive opportunity for both or either to get more people through the turnstiles given the holidays on Friday and Monday and it being the end of school holidays. It is hard to quantify but I am sure that both the NRL and Super Rugby will have weeks this week where they really would have benefited from the crowd numbers a Brisbane game brings.
It makes absolutely no sense to me to play a Good Friday game in Newcastle where the crowd will be around 15,000 when the Broncos probably would have sold out Lang Park, or at least doubled that crowd number. The Reds have been consistently getting over 25,000 to games but this weekend they get nothing. I guess smarter people than me can see the method in this madness.
One final point: obviously this lack of play in the national codes in Brisbane presents an opportunity for their state based counterparts to really push their respective games. Have you seen, heard or been sent one advertisement for a QRL or Premier Rugby game this weekend? I know I haven’t and I am on mailing lists that I am sure that I would have received something from if any such campaign of seeking heightened exposure was run. This is similarly nuts and represents another lost opportunity for the codes in Queensland.
Of course, there is a ton of sport on TV this weekend and that is where I will do the bulk of my viewing. Still, I can only be left to lament a massive lost opportunity for the national codes this Easter long weekend.