Saints buck the trend as Premiership crowds fall

NORTHAMPTON insist they can continue to buck the trend of poor early-season ticket sales in the Aviva Premiership – and take record attendances to a whole new level at Franklin’s Gardens.

The unbeaten league leaders sold out their opening two home fixtures against Leicester and Bath despite the latter being played on a Friday night.

Sadly, though, this hasn’t been the case for many of their rivals as top-flight clubs up and down the country have been left scratching their heads at a reduction in crowds on this time last year of around 12 per cent.

Earlier this month, Leicester were 6,000 short of a capacity 24,000 at Welford Road for their visit of Exeter, while Gloucester recorded their lowest league crowd for five years – just under 10,000 – when they hosted Leeds.

It was much the same last weekend too with total attendances down almost 18,000 on the corresponding round of matches of last season.

Saracens attracted barely 6,000 for their game against Sale, while only 8,000 saw London Irish beat Gloucester at the Madejski Stadium.

Saints, however, host Exeter on Saturday looking for a fourth straight win – and in front of a crowd of over 13,500 for the third successive game.

Chief executive Allan Robson said: “At the moment we are in a virtuous circle that reflects the work being put in by all departments at the Saints.

“We knew before the start of the season that we had nigh-on record numbers of season tickets sold.
“Despite this, there are still a few thousand tickets to sell every weekend, and our marketing and community teams have worked very hard.”