It's a rigmarole that has been going on for a very long time, the redevelopment of the Rec. It's been a saga that has confused many a Bath fan, as we want Bath to play there but need an up to date ground. Yes I want the Rec to be redeveloped but how much of a price will it cost the Bath Faithful?
Ticket prices through rugby have been increasing over the years since the turn of professionalism, but how much more can the fans sustain the increases? A point was raised how much Sarries were charging for tickets at their new all singing all dancing Allianz park, a premium seat could of set you back £70 in a premiership fixture. When you look along the lines of Manchester United who have the most expensive seat in the house priced at £52, suddenly it seems that rugby is becoming a more expensive outing than its richer counterpart football.
One amazing price range that amazed me is the cost of an England rugby ticket to go and see them take on the French.......between £40 and £98 a seat! I wish to take my children to watch an international fixture at the beloved HQ, but with a price like that its an expensive little hobby. Even looking down the line the dearest seats at Murrayfield can set you back a tidy sum of £75.
So with these figures out there a concern for me would be a new Rec possibly could see a price increase with the possibility pricing supporters out of making so many journeys down to support Bath. With Bruce Craig announcing in the chronicle that the Rec will become a "world class" arena an be "well worth waiting for". As all Bath fans know the Rec is in desperate need of a revamp to say the least, the facilities and general state of the ground are not that of a premiership rugby team. For years it's been a debate that has rolled on and in April we will finally have the answer "will the Rec finally be redeveloped into the top class stadium Bruce Craig has the vision of it becoming?" Lets all hope so!
This Friday sees Bath take on their fiercest local rivals Gloucester, always a big game in which all fans like to see but unfortunately this home tie falls on a Friday night at eight PM. Tickets for this match you would feel would of been flying out the door left right and centre and a capacity crowd should be in place, although the timing would suggest some of the travelling Bath supporters may find transport difficult to sort out and a possible overnight stay may be needed. Surprisingly the terracing sardine stand is sold out where as in the 6X stand still has space. But why would the covered, best seats in the house still be available? Could it be the £52 price tag attached? But the price is the same for everyone including junior and concessions. If I was to book a seat for myself, my son and my brother who normally go to watch the games it would set me back £156! Two adults and a junior to watch a game of rugby on a Friday night, yes I love to watch Bath always have and always will but is that price tag justified? Spaces available in the uncovered Novia stand still available but also attached to a £45 price tag to sit uncovered with a forecast of rain and low temperatures, again justified price probably not in many people's eyes. So as a true comparative price scale you could spend the same to go to Old Trafford and sit in a well facilitated ground (sadly watching football) or at the Rec, only complication of that choice is the choice of sport.
A stronger value for money is to grab a season ticket in which there is obviously a money saving way of doing it for the long run, but in our current economy not many people have that kind of expendable money to spend at one occasion. Also an issue is if you are unable to attend every fixture and make regular trips down to the Rec a season ticket is not a viable option so individual matches may be your only choice.
Many of Bath's home fixtures this season are yet to be full sell out matches, with such games as Gloucester this you would expect. So has weather, match timings or is it just due to cost that has played a part in this? This season we have seen many different offers on tickets to aid getting bums on seats so it seems that Bath have acknowledged there could well be an issue with this, but ticket offers at times have also aggrieved the season ticket holders who have shelled out their pennies upfront. Bruce Craig's vision of an 18,000 seated arena could be an interesting prospect but if they can't fill the current ground with supporters will a larger capacity be a bigger challenge? With a new stadium will it bring bigger ticket prices then aiding the vicious circle of more fans being unable to afford the trip to watch their beloved team they support.
Sadly this isn't just the debate of whether the ground will face the redevelopment but more to the vicious circle of 'if the fans will be able to afford to fill it?' The ground needs pulling kicking and screaming into the top flight of rugby to match the clubs aspirations that play there but to what cost of the avid supporters?