How cost of living crisis will hit rugby league according to Halifax Panthers boss Grix

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Halifax Panthers boss Simon Grix believes rugby league faces a period of ‘pain’ due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, writes Seb Sternik

Attendances in the sport have been dropping in recent years – a fact emphasised during the international break as England’s pre-World Cup clash against the Combined Nations All Stars drew just over 9,000 spectators at the 15,000 capacity Halliwell Jones Stadium.

“It would appear there’s not much appetite for that fixture,” said Grix. “But I think we have to be a bit pragmatic about it and have a look at the wider landscape of everything everyone’s been through over the last couple of years.

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“Factor that in with the fact everyone’s gas and electric has at least doubled. Cost of living, everything is more expensive at the supermarket. It ends up where luxuries in life, if you’re feeling the pinch, that’s what goes first.

Simon Grix. Pic: Simon HallSimon Grix. Pic: Simon Hall
Simon Grix. Pic: Simon Hall

“It’s not an England versus Combined Nations problem, it’s not a Halifax problem. Rugby league, let’s be honest, majority of it is in working class areas. We’re all feeling the pinch.”

The Panthers boss believes there’s still a lot of interest in the sport even if the attendances don’t currently reflect that.

He added: “I can understand why crowds are not where we would all love them to be. I don’t think that’s down to interest in the game, I think people are still 100 per-cent interested.

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“It’s just a very difficult time for some and if it means putting food on the table or getting a live game of rugby league in, we’re all going to provide for our families and children first so you can’t blame people for that. I think it’s the sign of the times.”