Wasps to play at Ricoh in Coventry from December

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Wasps have announced that they have acquired a 50% interest in the Ricoh Arena with immediate effect and that they will play their first match at the venue in December this year.

The acquisition is part of Wasps plans to ensure a long future for the curently London-based club and will see them eventually relocating to Coventry which is 100 miles north of London.

The two time Heineken Cup winners have now become the joint owners of one of Europe’s largest multi-purpose venues having acquired a 50% interest in Arena Coventry Limited from Coventry City Council.

Wasps will play their first home game at the Ricoh Arena in December 2014 – either Castres or London Irish – but will continue to play home games at Adams Park in High Wycombe until then.

Nick Eastwood, Wasps Chief Executive Officer, commented,”Today’s announcement is a watershed moment in the history of Wasps and the professional game. It will help us realise our ambition to re-establish ourselves as one of the best teams in Europe and will guarantee the long term success of the Club.

“Today we are breaking the mould of how a professional rugby club operates by acquiring a thriving, sustainable business, as well as one of the best, conference, exhibition, sporting and entertainment arenas in Europe.

Ricoh Arena is a world class venue with a multitude of outstanding facilities, including a 32,000 seater stadium, 4 star hotel, 60,000 ft2 exhibition hall, 20,000 ft2 conferencing facilities and one of the UK’s largest casinos. The revenue from these facilities, combined with Wasps existing revenues, will result in Wasps immediately becoming the highest turnover rugby club in the Aviva Premiership.

The move to Coventry is a controversial one as apetition has been set up by dissatisfied fans opposing the move from High Wycombe where the club currently plays their home games.

Wasps (then London Wasps) moved from Loftus Road in 2002 and have played their home games in High Wycombe, a town just outside London since that time.

Eastwood said that they were in the process of contacting all season ticket owners to explain the move.

“I’m sure our supporters will have many questions. We have contacted, and will continue to communicate with our Season Ticket Holders directly, to explain our reasoning behind the move and to highlight what we will offer them to thank them for their loyalty and support.

“I would also ask supporters to visit the Club website where they will find comprehensive information about the Ricoh Arena and more detailed explanations about the reasons behind the move. We are realistic and understand the hurdles, but Wasps have never been a club to shirk a challenge and we are not about to start now.

Coventry already has it’s own rugby community in Coventry RFC and Eastwood said that Wasps want to work with the local club as well as Coventry City Football Club.

“There has also been much speculation in media outlets and social media recently about how this move will affect the future of Coventry City Football Club and Coventry RFC so I would like to address this and set the record straight.

“We are delighted to see Coventry City Football Club back at the Ricoh Arena and this is where we want them to remain. We understand there may be concern from Sky Blues fans about our arrival and what this might mean for their Club. We are keen to make this work for everyone. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Sky Blues.

“We are very keen to build a close relationship with Coventry Rugby Club and are exploring running community and player development programmes together. We are already holding positive talks with Coventry Rugby Club about ways in which we can benefit both clubs and their supporters. This is not a choice between Coventry RFC and Wasps – it’s about collaboration to make sure both Clubs thrive and help each other, buil

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