Sharks set for record crowd
January 16, 2011
The Reebok Stadium in Bolton will play host to Sale's Premiership clash with London Irish © Getty Images
Sale Sharks have announced that their Aviva Premiership clash with London Irish at the Reebok Stadium is set to attract a record home attendance for the club.
The decision to switch the game from their usual Edgeley Park ground for 'Rugby at the Reebok' appears to have caught the imagination of supporters in the region with over 12,000 tickets already sold for the April 16 clash. As a result the previous record mark of 10,641, the capacity at Edgeley Park, is set to be smashed in a ringing endorsement of the move.
"The response to Rugby at the Reebok has been phenomenal," commented the Sharks' community and marketing director Adam Jude. "The event has been very well received by our season ticket holders, sponsors, corporate guests and rugby fans from across the region and even further afield."
The marketing ploy follows similarly successful moves by Premiership rivals Harlequins and Saracens to switch 'home' fixtures to larger venues with Twickenham and Wembley Stadium regularly playing host to top flight rugby in recent seasons. Wasps have also previously staged a Heineken Cup fixture at Twickenham while they are also set to play their Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Quins in Abu Dhabi later this month.
"We have groups booked in from as far as South Wales and we've had a number of season ticket holders purchasing upwards of 25 additional tickets each," added Jude. "Rugby at the Reebok is extremely affordable with tickets available from just £10 for adults and £5 for children and we are promising a huge day of entertainment with activity before, during and after the game."
The news coincides with the recent published results of a Premiership Rugby survey that revealed the average attendance in the Premiership had fallen by four per cent on last season to 12,478 while during the same period crowds at the French Top 14 championship have risen by 2.5 per cent to 12,150.
A survey of 12,000 Premiership supporters also revealed that there had been a significant fall in the percentage of fans who thought the quality of the rugby on show each week was "excellent". Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty also admitted that the inability of the league to attract more female and young supporters was a concern.
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