Wasps’ move to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena has seen conference and exhibition business turnover at the venue increase by 50% in four months.
In the short time since the Aviva Premiership rugby club acquired the Ricoh, match day attendances have tripled and hospitality business has rocketed 500%. According to the new management.
“We are proud to have established a wide range of blue-chip partnerships since our move, including partnerships with two Fortune 500 companies in our Main Club Partner Land Rover and official partner EMC, with more exciting additions to our partner family to be announced,” said David Armstrong, group chief executive officer of Wasps.
Wasps is also planning upgrades to improve access and increase footfall. When the work is finished, the Ricoh Arena will offer five bars, three restaurants on-site and over 20 other food and beverage outlets.
And in June 2015 a railway station is to open on-site at the Ricoh Arena providing direct links to Coventry and Nuneaton stations.
In other developments at the site, Hilton Worldwide has reportedly agreed terms for the conversion of the Ricoh Arena Hotel into a DoubleTree by Hilton. The franchise agreement will be signed upon finalisation of the refurbishment plan and Hilton Worldwide board approval. Work is set to start on the conversion in the second quarter of this year with the new hotel brand launching in early autumn.
As well as being home to Wasps, the Ricoh Arena is a multi-purpose venue for business, sport and entertainment. In addition to the 121 bedroom hotel on-site, the Arena also houses a Grosvenor Casino, 20,000sqm of event space, 80 suites, two restaurants, a Costa Coffee Lounge and the Jaguar Exhibition Hall, which can accommodate up to 12,000 for events. There is also a 32,600-seater stadium for rugby and football, which increases to a capacity of 40,500 for concerts within the stadium bowl.
“Working with a high profile hotel partner is a key element in Wasps and the Ricoh Arena’s strategy to position itself as the UK’s leading multi-purpose venue,” Armstrong added.
Wasps’ £30m offer to purchase a majority shareholding in stadium owners ACL was approved in October 2014. That was followed by the purchase of the final 50% from the Higgs Charity to become outright owners of the facility.
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