CHAMPIONS Featherstone Rovers have set a target of having 1,000 season ticket holders next season.
The club believe it is a realistic target after the magnificent turn out of Rovers fans at the last two Co-operative Championship Grand Finals.
Featherstone are also introducing a mini season ticket for supporters who do not want to attend matches for the full season.
Rovers chief executive Simon Riley (pictured) said: “We had another great following at this year’s Grand Final and we want to maximise that as much as possible.
“We know the support base is there because that has been evident by our following at the last two Grand Finals.
“We have taken in excess of 3,000 people to each of those finals and probably even more than that. There were 7,500 at this year’s Grand Final and a good half of those - if not more - were Featherstone supporters.
“We just need those fans to help us continue to be successful on the field. It would be great for our players to see all those people down every week cheering them on as well as seeing them at Grand Finals.
“Season ticket sales for 2012 are going well and we are targeting 1,000 season ticket holders for the new season.
“We had around 600 season ticket holders last season so it’s a big jump to 1,000 but we need to be ambitious and push for the target.
“It’s just about getting people to matches. What we find is that once we get people here they want to keep coming back because we play entertaining, great value rugby.
“We are going to introduce a mini season ticket. It will be like a ‘taster’ season ticket that will give fans the chance to watch six matches throughout the season if they don’t want to commit to a full season.”
Rovers are also asking supporters for their views on the preferred day and kick-off time for home games.
Last season, the majority of Featherstone’s home matches were on Sunday afternoons but they also had several Saturday fixtures, plus games on Thursday evenings because of Sky TV coverage.
Mr Riley said: “We are trying to make sure we get consistency with home matches this year so people know when Rovers are playing.
“Some of the inconsistency last season wasn’t our doing. With the matches that were on Sky TV we didn’t get a great deal of notice that they would be on the Thursday night.
“We are looking for the views of supporters on what they think. The basic options are Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
“We will be sending a questionaire to all our supporters whose e-mail addresses we’ve got.
“We will welcome the views of all our supporters. They can give their views on pretty much any topic but we are particularly asking for their comments on matchdays and the day and kick off time etc. They can send us an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Riley has welcomed news that Co-operative Championship and Northern Rail Cup matches will be televised live by Premier Sports next season.
He said: “Obviously, there’s a lot of talk about the Co-operative Championship leaving Sky and going to Premier TV. We are actually quite excited about Premier TV because we believe it is a good opportunity for us to grow the brand of Championship rugby. We think it is a very exciting, entertaining brand. We believe we can develop it further on a new platform where all the clubs at our level have a pretty big say in how Premier TV is going to deliver our sport. We’ve got the opportunity to really show the best of the game.”
Mr Riley added that Rovers fans would be able to buy an annual subscription for Premier Sports through the club.
“The intention is that people can buy an annual pass for the channel and it will certainly be cheaper than monthly subscriptions. If they buy the pass through the club we will receive some financial benefit from it,” he said.
“It isn’t finalised yet but there will certainly be something. We are just asking fans to be patient for a little longer. It’s frustrating we can’t get them the information now but the minute we have anything concrete we will announce it.”
Meanwhile, Rovers will not play a Boxing Day friendly this year.
Mr Riley said: “The pre-season matches we have arranged flow well so we are not going to pursue a Boxing Day game.
“We did have a look at it but we couldn’t get the fixture we wanted so we decided not to pursue one.”
Rovers play Hunslet Hawks in the Gareth Swift Memorial match at Bigfellas Stadium on Sunday, January 1. They then host Hull Kingston Rovers on January 8 and Bradford Bulls the following Sunday before visiting Leeds Rhinos on Friday, January 20 (8pm) in a testimonial match for Rhinos half-back Rob Burrow.