Wasps: Ricoh Arena move 'absolutely the right decision'

The Ricoh Arena
Sunday's attendance at the Ricoh Arena was a new record Premiership crowd for a recognised home ground

Wasps chief executive Nick Eastwood insists their move to Coventry has been vindicated after 28,254 fans saw their first league game at the Ricoh Arena.

The crowd was more than four times higher than their final game at their former Adams Park home in High Wycombe.

"Everything that has happened in the last three months has just proved that the decision was absolutely the right one for the club," said Eastwood.

"We're nothing other than elated," he told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

Wasps beat London Irish 48-16 on Sunday, in which Coventry-born fly-half Andy Goode set a new Premiership record by scoring 33 points.

"It's an unbelievable set-up here," said man of the match Goode. "The future of the club is secure."

Wasps in Coventry - the pros
Rugby fans in the West Midlands, denied the chance to watch Premiership rugby since Worcester's relegation to the Championship, filled more than three quarters of the stadium.
Three thousand schoolchildren made use of a free-tickets offer to help swell the crowd for Wasps' first home game in official residency at the 32,609-seater Ricoh Arena.
Waving free flags placed on every seat, the fans made a real din, helped by the ground's renowned acoustics, designed to mirror the atmosphere at the old Wembley Stadium.
Wasps hope to move into a new training base in the Coventry area by the summer of 2016, says chief executive Nick Eastwood, and once the players have relocated, they will have a far less strenuous daily journey to training.

Apart from previous matches held at Wembley and Twickenham, no game in the two decades of Premiership rugby has been watched by more people.

"All in all, we couldn't really have asked for anything more," added Eastwood. "I'm a bit hoarse after all the screaming and shouting. It was a great day. Everything went off really well.

"Of the match-day ticket purchases, over 90% had never been to a Wasps match before or not in the last five years, and 60% of those live within 10 miles of the Ricoh, so they're very much local people."

Wasps in Coventry - the cons
Long-time Wasps supporters now face a near 200-mile round trip to watch home games.
Worcester Warriors have pumped money into six new Academy centres, two of which, at Barkers Butts RFC, in Coventry, and at the University of Warwick, are on Wasps' doorstep. The Warriors have publicly voiced their concerns at Wasps' relocation.
The newly re-laid pitch cut up alarmingly in places, requiring remedial work while the game was going on, which must raise concerns as to how tenants Coventry City will fare on the surface of this season.

"We hope that people will come back. We know the opening game is a one-off but if we retain a significant percentage, then we'll be well ahead of where we thought we would be."

Wasps are currently sixth in the Premiership, 13 points behind leaders Northampton Saints.

Top Stories