Wasps Acquire 50 percent Stake in Ricoh Arena
By Community | October 8, 2014
Aviva Premiership team Wasps have today announced the acquisition of a 50% interest in the Ricoh Arena with immediate effect.
Wasps 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, ampoule 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 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.
“Creating long term financial stability will allow us to focus on the main job of producing high quality rugby of which our supporters and players can be proud and will help to recruit some of the best players in the world.
“We fully appreciate this move will unsettle many of our supporters and I would like to stress that this decision has not been taken lightly. The reality of our situation is clear – less than two years ago Wasps was just hours away from going out of business. It is only thanks to our current owner Derek Richardson stepping in that we are here today.
“Thanks to his support we have gone from strength to strength, returning to the top competition in Europe and competing and winning against some of the best teams in world rugby.
Eastwood added that Wasps will try and work with Coventry City FC to keep the club at Ricoh Arena.
“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.
Jacky Isaac, Arena Coventry Limited Interim Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We’re delighted with the news that the Ricoh Arena is now home to Aviva Premiership team Wasps. The welcome return of CCFC and the imminent arrival of Wasps mean the Ricoh Arena has truly realised its potential as home for top flight sport.
“There are a number of stadiums in the UK that are home to both rugby and football teams and the Ricoh Arena is an obvious choice given its history around hosting both sports, including Wasps when they played here as part of the Heineken Cup in 2007 and attracted a near capacity crowd.
“We look forward to welcoming Wasps fans to the City and to the Ricoh Arena and we really hope that they enjoy this state of the art venue with its many attributes.”
Wasps Sign Two New Sponsors
To coincide with today’s announcement Wasps can also reveal two long-term commercial partnerships with Land Rover and EMC.
Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director at Jaguar Land Rover, added: “Today’s announcement is not only an important addition to Land Rover’s growing rugby sponsorship portfolio, but it’s a significant increase in our investment within the Coventry area.
“This new sponsorship complements our long-term support of Premiership Rugby and we remain committed to our long-standing relationship with Coventry Rugby Club.”
Leading cloud computing company EMC return as a Wasps partner having previously sponsored the Club between 2009 and 2012. As part of the deal EMC will feature on Wasps home and away kits and enjoy numerous commercial rights.
James Petter, Senior Vice President and MD UK & Ireland at EMC, commented: “This is clearly an exciting time for Wasps and EMC is privileged to be part of it. The team has a very clear strategy for success and we are elated to be working with them moving forward. Our expertise in data is going to contribute to the success of Wasps both on and off the field and we can’t wait to get started.”