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Saracens eyes stadium improvements, but CEO concerned by capacity issues

By Matthew Campelli    07 Nov 2016
Saracens won the Premiership Rugby title last season

Saracens is gearing up to replace a major stand at its Allianz Park home, although chief executive Heath Harvey has expressed reservations about the capacity of the stadium.

The reigning Premiership champions will submit plans to demolish the existing West Stand to be replaced by a modern structure.

While the new stand will not increase the stadium’s maximum permanent capacity of 10,500, it will improve access for disabled fans and create further space for both Middlesex University’s Sport and Exercise Science department and the club’s charitable arm, the Saracens Sports Foundation.

The capacity of the stadium can be temporarily increased to 15,000 for a maximum of one match a year in the event that Saracens qualifies for a home quarter final tie in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

However, Harvey implied that the stadium capacity was limiting the growth of the club, which had experienced significant success on the field over the past few season.

Talking at last week’s Rugby Expo event in Coventry, the former Club Wembley director said: “Stadium capacity was a problem for us three years ago because we couldn’t fill it. It’s going to be a different type of problem in another two years if you look at growth in our season tickets.

“I think with success comes a greater following and the last two seasons have helped put bums on seats.”

Last season, the club won the Premiership title – retaining the honour after winning the league in 2014/15 – and the European Rugby Champions Cup. Saracens also won the LV= Cup in 2015.

Harvey said that he didn’t “have a magic wand or solution right now” to the problem, but hinted that he would be against ticket price increases.

“God forbid we should have to manage demand through the price mechanism,” he added. “We all saw what happened with Liverpool Football Club last year when they started to ask their long-term supporters for more than they were comfortable paying. There does come a point where the fans bite back.”

Saracens moved into Allianz Park in 2012. Interested parties will be able view the proposals during exhibitions to be held on 10-12 November at the stadium.

Saracens  rugby  Premiership  Rugby Expo  Heath Harvey 
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