With just one home game to go in the regular season, the Ospreys are toasting what is set to be a year-on-year increase in PRO12 attendances at the Liberty Stadium.
League leaders Glasgow visit Ospreylia on Friday night for the penultimate scheduled fixture, with both teams among the four confirmed for the end of season play-offs and contesting the right to host a home semi-final.
With the Ospreys having defied pre-season expectations to lead the way in Wales once again, it seems that supporters have bought into what Steve Tandy and his men are attempting to achieve with crowds on the rise at the Liberty.
Last season saw a total of 87,292 pass through the turnstile at 11 PRO12 fixtures, working out at an average of 7,935 over the course of 2013/14. This time around the cumulative PRO12 attendance currently stands at 81,397 from 10 games to date, with a healthy crowd anticipated on Friday night that will take the total past last years figure, at an average of 8,139 per match so far.
Andrew Hore, Ospreys Chief Executive, said that the increase was another signs that the business was moving in the right direction.
“There has been an awful lot of negativity surrounding the regional game over the last few years, some of it fair but some of it misguided” commented Hore.
“In terms of the Ospreys, we’ve worked hard over the last two to three years to not only stabilise the business but to give us a platform from which to go forward. We’ve seen that with the improvements on the field, where there is a hard working, committed squad of players, pulling together for the cause, be they the experienced old heads or one of the many young, talented boys coming through.
“It’s clear that our supporters appreciate the hard work and effort that has gone in to put us where we are in the table at the moment. That’s reflected by the increase in crowds. With one of the biggest attendances of the season anticipated for Friday night then the seasonal average and overall crowd figure will rise higher and that’s something to be proud of.
“There has been an awful lot of hard work behind the scenes aimed at growing crowds. Innovative ticketing initiatives, more direct marketing through social media, enhancing the match day experience, improving the Ospreys hospitality offerings and the appointment of a new ticket sales team have all helped to create 20 per cent growth in match by match ticket sales, with over 11,000 people coming to games this season as part of the group ticketing scheme. The key now is to make sure that we build on that next season and continue working hard as a team to grow that even further next year, match by match sales and business to business sales in particular.”
Hore added that the new European qualification criteria has played a part in making the PRO12 more competitive and, in turn, more attractive to supporters and sponsors alike:
“Make no mistake about it, this season has been the most competitive ever for the competition. It’s no coincidence that at the same time, European qualification criteria has changed to reflect the new look Champions Cup, and teams have to earn the right to go into the top tier competition on merit. Just about every single game now has something on it, even at this late stage of the season where there are teams competing to finish in one of the different qualification spots.
“The increased level of excitement surrounding the PRO12 means the competition is now well placed to move forward. With the commercial enhancements that are taking place, it’s important that everybody pulls together to ensure that the competition continues to grow in stature, commercially and rugby wise.
“We have worked incredibly hard to get us to where are, as the only Welsh representation in the play-offs and, so far, the only Welsh team to qualify for the Champions Cup. There’s still an awful lot of hard work to be done, starting this Friday night at the Liberty Stadium against Glasgow.
“Ticket sales are going well, we have a number of initiatives in place to support that, as it’s important that the team gets the backing it deserves for such a big game against a Glasgow side that has proven it’s play-off quality consistently since they were introduced in 2010.
“We know that it’s going to be a tough evening but the supporters can play a big part on the night. They can provide a real boost to the boys, giving that extra one or two per cent that can make a difference in such a big game.”
Tickets for the game against Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night are on sale now at the Ticket Office, via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665 and online at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets
Supporter who went to Judgement Day III at the Millennium Stadium can claim half-price tickets for this match, just by showing their Judgement Day III ticket at the Ticket Office at the time of purchase.
Alternatively, any supporter who purchases a Glasgow ticket and is not currently a season member can claim the price of their ticket back off a 2015/16 membership. See here for full Ts and Cs.