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Thread: Greatest Little League in the world

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    Greatest Little League in the world

    Hi all,
    Just wanted to see peoples take on the huge uptake in interest in our domestic league. With the attendance thread showing approximately 900,000 attending senior football games within this current season. The number of clubs that have attracted outside business interests, such as Treaty and Drogheda recently. What has suddenly created this new popularity of wanting to know or learn about the domestic league?

    It's definitely not the FAI promoting the game as can be seen with their issue of 40% female quota in the associations general assembly!

    The greatest change I have seen is the amount of younger people attending games especially the teenage youth. As has been heard at many grounds around the country "the league is cool" now! It's the place to be and be seen on a Friday night! This is the greatest opportunity for the league and clubs because if the youth of our day want to be involved then it will create an interest for the future.

    How much has social media created this interest and popularity?

    All clubs have really availed of social media to advance and expand their local interest.

    How further can we extend this interest and improve our domestic league and game in our country!
    ?
    Last edited by nr637; 12/11/2023 at 11:26 AM.

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    The trajectory was going up in the 2-3 years prior to Covid and thankfully continued on with an additional post-pandemic bump with demand for actual real live sports attendance people were starved of for two years

    I think alot of people who always loved football in this county have to a degree got a bit sick of English football and I agree younger fans are not as entrenched in their minds with English clubs as 10+ years ago thinking that anything non-Premier League or the LOI is something sub standard so more open minded to heading down to their local ground

    No doubt better marketing with social media, increased number of professional clubs on/off the pitch and a positive promotion of women's game has had a positive impact upon the men's game. Also a hot economy is very important the league all round suffered badly in this regard between 2008-2013

    I still think the standard is crap considering the increased money circulating around the league. Standard of football, facilities and another economic downturn to me will be 3 things that could de-rail this boom over the next few seasons
    The Leinster Senior League needs a strong Bohemians

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    Like the Fonz. Only a dog. Mr A's Avatar
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    Definitely think Covid combined with the direction of the premiership has seen a lot of people reevaluate what they want from football. LOI is imperfect but has an authenticity and for most clubs a community aspect that has real appeal. The time is now to push on, it drives me mad that instead we have questions over CEO remuneration (no real comparison to Delaney era here but still, mud sticks due to the record) and general FAI governance questions, i.e. delegates voted to half government funding rather than meet the quotas. Would add that on that latter point the league clubs were pretty much all pro the changes so far as I know.

    Real opportunity has grown for the league, we have to make the most of it.
    #NeverStopNotGivingUp

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    Seasoned Pro EalingGreen's Avatar
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    Interesting thread. LOI attendances have certainly seen very impressive increases, and curiously, other leagues have seen similar as well.

    The IL Premiership marked a 10% increase in 2022/23 over the previous season, which itself was higher than pre-Covid:
    https://www.nifootballleague.com/new...ncrease-again/
    While there's been a similar/greater increase again so far this season, with the likely Xmas/New Year and post-split attendance boosts still to come.

    The English Football League (72 clubs) last season attracted their highest attendances for 70 years:
    https://www.efl.com/news/2023/june/h...l-competitions

    While in Scotland, the SPFL (all four tiers) attracted record attendances too eg first time over 5 million:
    https://spfl.co.uk/news/spfl-sets-attendance-record

    As for the English Prem, crowds are pretty static, but with games averaging 98% sell-outs, that's only due to capacity limitations, which is likely to be eased a little as clubs expand their existing stadia or move to a new one altogether.

    My own guess is that having experienced a post-Covid boost from people wanting to get out of the house again, at least some will have realised the difference between live and televised sport, enjoyed it more than they might have thought and so were more easily persuaded to keep coming back. And as more came back, then the atmosphere improved, they enjoyed it even more, and so on and so on...

    And all that at a time when the cost-of-living crisis must have had a deterrent effect the other way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EalingGreen View Post
    And all that at a time when the cost-of-living crisis must have had a deterrent effect the other way.
    You also look at that a different way maybe some people have become cost/value conscious when it comes to what they spend on sports attendance and have realised the cost of a one trip to Old Trafford or Anfield for 1 game of football works out about the same as a season ticket with a LOI Premier Division club for 18 games of football
    The Leinster Senior League needs a strong Bohemians

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    Seasoned Pro EalingGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by total hoofball View Post
    You also look at that a different way maybe some people have become cost/value conscious when it comes to what they spend on sports attendance and have realised the cost of a one trip to Old Trafford or Anfield for 1 game of football works out about the same as a season ticket with a LOI Premier Division club for 18 games of football
    Good point, at least for a section of fans, certainly.

    But while it helps the LOI and IL, it doesn't really apply in England and Scotland. (Also womens' football seeing bigger crowds, even if nowhere near the numbers at mens' game)

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    International Prospect Nesta99's Avatar
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    Obviously biased but there was always an untapped attraction to LoI. Many have been mentioned like authenticity, community, kickback against the commercial nature of elite leagues, emphasised by the European superleague that tried to exclude well everything they could. Im sure plenty of us here felt that if the stars aligned then things would kick on eg big crowd at games, televised, and were not damnp squibs - most were as if the presence of TV cameras were doom merchants for the domestic game. Maybe there is a bit of a bite back at the JD mob and attitude on the trouble child, people feeling duped by the con artistry - sold out FAI Cup Final, he can choke on that!

    Im not convinced on the post covid appreciation for live events that were denied for a couple of years. I simply think things happen in cycles and the uncool can just become cool like leg warmers and Ugg boots, beards and mullets - if a notion is taken by enough people then fomo kicks in and it snowballs and this has happened probably with nudges as mentioned above. Enough people and an atmostphere is generated (cant be experienced on tv), we all know how that gets under the skin, becomes almost an addiction, why fans will hang on for 20 years of nothing for that eventual day in the sun. My fear is not being prepared to grasp the iron when its hot, to turn a possible transient trend in to a lifelong habit for people. Building the multigeneration support for our clubs across a larger base of community than just those who already had the bug for LoIand dragged the kids along. Barstoolers with an open mind eg and now getting it.

    It really was an eye opener for me years back going to university in the UK as a kid and seeing how people could support their local club and follow a premier league club and not compare like for like, football standard, stadia etc. It seriously bugged me to hear Irish football fans watch or go to LoI games and turn their noses up because it wasnt Stamford Bridge or that football teams werent full of internationals so never going again - like what did they expect, these lads were getting payed a few hundred quid a week not a few hundred thousand. Maybe there has been some maturing of the Irish sporting public in prespective, realistic expectation. Realisation that support of the domestic game is also supporting the international setup. That it was actually a post colonial inferiority complex that you only sing with the winning. Id love to be able to say that this is all part of a big plan for growth and development but we all know that it isnt realy bar on a peicemeal effoft by individual clubs. FOMO and FOBO underpinned by social media has had it place but much is the long wished for stars alining.

    There is no doubting the catalyst, the start of this trend of giving LoI genuine credibility, transforming the perception of the league and moving out from the shadows, maligned by many as a national embaressment chicken pub league, becoming winners, a feel good story, fostering a lets get behind our own with media darlings born - Dundalk FC 2016, Champions League play-off performance, subsequent Europa League games and the national and international media attention it generated. Dundalk FC broke through the glass ceiling for League of Ireland and the rest has just fallen in to place since. No need for thanks, it was to the benefit of all where a rising tide raises all boats but you are all welcome nonetheless!
    Last edited by Nesta99; 13/11/2023 at 8:58 PM.

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    Does the lack of Irish players playing in the top division in england contribute to a fall off in interest in english football?
    when i was growing up the old english first division had loads of Irish guys playing, for arsenal, man utd, liverpool etc, and that attracted Irish fans to become match going fans every week.
    apart from ferguson and doherty getiing the odd game here and there, what other irish player plays in the premier league?
    Shamrock Rovers- Where trophies are won and envy is scarce

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    Fair few down the bottom - Coleman, Ogbene, Cullen, Collins, O'Shea

    It'd be interesting to see if people coming to games now still follow Premier League sides as well. In which case the Premier eating itself (which I think it is) may be less of a factor than has been suggested.

    Would also echo total hoofball's note of caution - the LoI is badly placed to take advantage of this in terms of facilities, etc. Obvious one being grounds that are sold out and hard to expand. It'd be great too to see the likes of, let's say, Sam Curtis staying in the LoI long enough until he gets capped, and then moving for a million quid. That'd be another huge boost I think.

    Still, it's great to see!

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    Quote Originally Posted by placid casual View Post
    Does the lack of Irish players playing in the top division in england contribute to a fall off in interest in english football?
    when i was growing up the old english first division had loads of Irish guys playing, for arsenal, man utd, liverpool etc, and that attracted Irish fans to become match going fans every week.
    apart from ferguson and doherty getiing the odd game here and there, what other irish player plays in the premier league?
    In my experience it was more a whinge that soething that would cause sufficient disillusionment to have fans fall away. Certainly if the English national teams fortunes are on an upward trend than the number of 'foreigners' in the EPL are a non issue, but ask that question after being knocked out in a last 16 or 1/4 final and it would raise its head. I think its fair enough for Irish football fans to have followed Irish players at English clubs and been supporters Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, and Leeds probably the main ones for obvious reasons. It was the way that the local game seemed abandoned in entirety that was a pain and tbh i thought was the norm, you could only follow one side, until the mentioned experience above - lads going to see Southend or Colchester and also Spurs/Arsenal and not having it said that their Southend side are rubbish. The exception is Leyton Orient where they detest EPL and their own league rivals no matter.

    Without the significant numbers of Irish players at top flight league clubs to draw the attention of kids, supporting an English club is more inherited that previously imo and in that regard LoI is a bit more on a level footing as people do have a local pride and affiliation. At least now, after a big FAI Cup final attendandce there wont be the 'where's the band wagon' as St Pats and Bohs will sell out games albeit helped by restricted capacaties. It'll be really interesting to see how much growth a cup final would generate for these clubs in particular. Rovers have growth available to them with Tallaght to guage until its a regular sell out. Dundalk wouldnt sell out a 3.5k gold gilted heated all seater with a proper ebbing and flowing band wagon - but then the club has been beset with poor communication between fans and club and it does break that connect that I think Rovers, Bohs do well on, with others improving. It is easier to do when teams are performing of course.

    As an aside one of the things that stand out when playing in Europe is the disparity between the standard and size of stadia in some supposedly better followed leagues. Croatia at the level of Zagreb really wipes our eyes but looking at the lower end of their top flight and it can be one seated terrace gounds uncovered with running tracks - would be rejected by fans here. We do obsess about European performances as a league and it is beacuse it is really where yer own media benchmark you and how things are presented - embaressment or acceptable. The perception now is acceptable if not great and that in itself is important even if other league fans think we are freaks for even tacitly backing out league rivals in Europe. It goes back to the the credibility issue of the league. Being able to list former LoI lads in the international setup is a key selling point. Punditds at worst say nothing rather than actively deride as in the past too.
    Last edited by Nesta99; 13/11/2023 at 9:45 PM.

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    I whole heartedly agree with the reasons raised above but I'm surprised no-one has raised the introduction of the national underage leagues (U17s in 2015 and U15s in 2017) as another reason why LOI had become popular with a younger audience.

    These changes gave 14, 15 and 16 year olds the chance to stay in Ireland and continue to work towards professionalism, as opposed to risking a move to England before their Leaving Cert or staying in Ireland with their local amateur club.

    It also took power away from schoolboy clubs (rightly or wrongly) and gave it to the LOI clubs, who were forced to create youth teams. I remember the first time I heard my local LOI team had no teams below U21 level and thought: "I can't see them ever getting community support if they fail to run teams for kids".

    When you or your friend or your cousin are playing for any team, it stands to reason that you'll follow their results more closely. If you have enough people from your community doing this for one team, my opinion is that get more buy-in from Irish people, in particular younger people who don't remember the harder times when LOI was less fashionable.

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