Leigh Leopards marked their return to the Betfred Super League in 2023 by recording their highest average home crowds for over 60 years.
This crowd was the highest for a Leigh home league game since 11,397 watched the Hilton Park derby against Wigan in 1987, and took the total attendances during the club’s inaugural year as the Leopards to 94,303, an average of 7,254.
This was the club’s highest average for a home league season since 1960-61 when a total of 141,413 spectators attended the 18 league games, recording an average of 7,856.
The hugely successful rebrand, coupled with the return to the topflight and the best gameday experience in Super League, included live bands on the AB Sundecks stage, fireworks and a fan zone.
As a result, the Leopards’ gates increased by over 4,000 on last season’s record-breaking Championship winning season, when an average of 2,991 watched Adrian Lam’s treble-winning side.
Leigh’s previous three seasons in Super League recorded attendances of 4,750 in 2005 at Hilton Park, 6,522 in 2017 and 2,435 during the pandemic in 2021 when government restrictions on crowds were in place.
The Leopards finished fifth in 2023, their highest league placing since winning the first division in 1981-82, when an average of 5,939 was recorded.
During the club’s previous Wembley season in 1970-71 the average home crowd was 6,381.
Club owner Derek Beaumont said: “I would like to say a massive thanks to every one of our players and staff on and off the field that have really raised the bar in every department to deal with the growth, without a significant growth to match it in staff and facility size, particularly in the retail department.
“That said, we have made some strong acquisitions amongst our staff that bodes well for next year and our relationship with the Council and LSV has grown significantly into something really special.
“As much as it’s always going to be about the team and the performances on the pitch that will drive these amazing attendances, it’s important to recognise the efforts of every department in the club that overall contribute.
“It’s something to expand on when everything has concluded as there is still work for us all to do, but in terms of games in the Leopards Den for this season it’s a wrap, so befitting to recognise the fantastic growth.
“A special thank you also to all the LSV staff of whom there are so many that are a valuable part of the club. I hope they feel proud of the contribution they have made and the way they have adapted quickly to the changes we have brought with increased numbers.
“We will all be working even harder and closer together to continually improve and our first goal of the season will be to start with our first game as we ended on Friday with a sell out!
“Details of our membership renewals and kit designs will be following in the coming weeks. It’s exciting times now we can finally start to plan further ahead as a Super League club. Enjoy the moment and oh enjoy the play-offs!”
The gates for the 13 home league games in 2023 were as follows:
Salford Red Devils
Salford Red Devils