The Zurich Premiership clubs have once again achieved record breaking season ticket sales as rugby fever begins to spread the country in anticipation of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup. The Zurich Premiership campaign will continue to be played in England whilst the World Cup is staged in Australia in October and November.
Several clubs have broken club records with Gloucester's Powergen Cup winning and league leading success on the pitch last season boosting their pre-season sales to a record of 6,000 – a 49% increase on this time last year. Their opponents in the inaugural Zurich Premiership Final and ultimate champions of England, London Wasps, have also recorded a growth in sales taking them to over 3,500 season ticket holders. 10 of the 12 clubs have recorded an increase compared to this time last season.
Sale Sharks' move to Edgeley Park has proved popular with their supporters as sales are already up 400 on last season and despite a mixed season on and off the pitch NEC Harlequins have once again broken previous club records for the third season running. London Irish have recorded a revenue increase of 9% for their season ticket sales which currently stand at just over 3,000.
Howard Thomas, Chief Executive of Premier Rugby is encouraged by the pre-season figures: "The decision to play Premiership rugby during a Rugby World Cup was a difficult one for the clubs, but the supporters have proved that it was the right decision by committing to the Zurich Premiership once again this season. Last year's change of venue for London Wasps has proved a major success for London Wasps and it looks as if Sale Sharks supporters are also looking forward to the improved facilities at Edgeley Park. The early signs are extremely positive across the majority of the Premiership and we guarantee that this will be certainly one of our most unpredictable and therefore compelling seasons ever."
Rotherham Titans, the Zurich Premiership new boys, have already attracted 150% more season ticket holders to Millmoor with their promotion to the elite competition and hope this figure will continue to grow during the season. Paul Kimberly, Commercial Director with the Titans, explained, "We have already received a boost from our supporters just by being promoted to the Zurich Premiership. Over the coming months we hope to recruit even more new fans who are attracted to the world class rugby on offer in the Zurich Premiership."
Gloria Sennitt, Events & Operations Manager at London Wasps is delighted with the support for the club this coming season: "2002/03 was our most successful season ever, being crowned Zurich Premiership Champions and winning the Parker Pen Challenge Cup. We knew support this season would be strong but were nervous about the lack of the international players for the first half of the season. However, the fans have proved why they are amongst the most loyal in the Premiership and with more season ticket holders than ever before, the Causeway Stadium will hopefully be an even tougher place to play for our opposition this season!"
|Club||Season Ticket Salesfor start of 2003/04 season||Season Ticket Salesfor start of 2002/03 season||% change|
|Leeds Tykes||1376||1076||+ 28%|
|Leicester Tigers||12,017||11,977||+ 0.3%|
|London Irish||3000||3075||– 2%|
|London Wasps||3545||2365||+ 50%|
|NEC Harlequins||3865||3654||+ 6%|
|Newcastle Falcons||2196||2010||+ 9%|
|Northampton Saints||6100||5142||+ 19%|
|Rotherham Titans||500||200||+ 150%|
|Sale Sharks||2000||1600||+ 25%|