Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Saracens ticket offers or gimmicks??

For the second home fixture in a row Saracens are advertising an away fans ticket offer.

Anybody with a Gloucester postcode had the offer last week; if they travelled up the Allianz Park and Gloucester win they would receive a full ticket refund, also the offer extended to if Saracens won a refund would also be given. A good offer basically go and watch Sarries and Gloucester for free, a few Gloucester fans picked up on the parking or alternative public transport costs choices that were given out by Saracens, but all in all not a bad offer?

A full ground for the first home game of the season always brings a great atmosphere, so enticing opposing supporters will help to build that.
Armed with a sparkling new ground and the much talked about playing surface surely the capacity of 10,000 should be easily filled? So why only 9,200 arrived at the Allianz park even with the refund ticket offer for the travelling Gloucester fans?

With the second home fixture Sarries bring out a second ticket offer, only this offer has a very tongue in cheek side to it.

Saracens are offering Bath fans a unique opportunity to get their money back if Gavin Henson scores a point during the top of the table clash at Allianz Park on Sunday.

Clare Jackson of Saracens Supporters Services explains; “If Gavin Henson scores a point at Allianz Park this Sunday we will give Bath fans their money back – but you need to have a Bath postcode as your home address”.

“It really is that simple – if Gavin gets on the score sheet, Bath fans can travel back home this Sunday with a full refund”.

How are we meant to perceive this latest ticket offering from Saracens?

Banter in rugby is one of my favourite things in rugby, fans having a light hearted non-malicious poke at players and fans all in jest, but is this acceptable from a club?
I'm sure it's aimed to encourage publicity, media speculation and sell extra seats. For these reasons the marketing team from Saracens has managed to succeed, but is it fair to target an ex-player of their club in such a way?

All rugby spectators are very much of Henson's misdemeanours and his introduction to Bath hasn't been smooth. Henson hasn't helped himself over the years (understatement) but from what we are now led to believe Bath are trying to keep him shielded and allow his rugby to do the talking. A large portion of the Bath faithful were not keen on him joining the club, but he's here now and a Bath player therefore deserves the support of the fans.

To play devils advocate for a balancing point how would Saracens feel if Bath chose a similar option, and made a similar deal for one of Bath ex-players now at Sarries.....Matt Stevens.
Matt Stevens left Bath in what can be described as 'bad circumstances' resulting in a 2 year ban. Now there are many puns in which you can make yet all would be in bad taste, so is it fair to isolate Henson??

Love him or hate him I can now assure you the dream this Sunday for the Bath fans is to go to Allianz park, beat Sarries and with Henson making the winning kick........ A big ask but how good would it be! 

The Gloucester deal I felt was not a bad offer to entice the cherry and whites down to Barnet but this Henson offer is possibly a little bit of a stretch. Saracens are being innovative with there offers that can't be denied just don't make it personal. Henson's media hype makes him all to easy a target and allows the media to jump straight on the story.

In the end let's hope it's a good fixture and hopefully Bath can take the spoils.

Friday, 6 September 2013

A great morning to have a launch!

The captains runs at the Rec are something that that children and fans are starting to look forward to in the rugby Calendar. Allowing the public to watch their favourite players and the team run through their final training session before an up coming fixture; also offering the chance to meet the team and grab a quick photo or autograph. It's a great way to bring the club closer to the supporters and helping building a community built around rugby.

The latest captains run was a little more special than normal. With the build up to Bath's final pre-season fixture against Ospreys an important run through was needed.
But not only was the training followed by the meet and great of normal open sessions, this time they had a few little added bonuses for the children.

Following the session there was the launch of the 'Children's challenge'.

  " Bath Rugby has launched a new.  initiative to inspire more children in the local community to lead fitter, healthier and more active lifestyles."

The Children’s Challenge has been created by the players for children up to the age of 15, a collection of fitness challenges designed to encourage them to get outside and practice and challenge themselves instead of being glued to the TV or a games console. As an added incentive members of the squad have also taken part in the tasks, giving a target and comparison for the children to one day aspire to.

The Bath Rugby Children’s challenges are:-

To sprint 50m as fast as Tom Biggs - set a time on the 50 m sprint challenge

Hula Hoop longer than Dave Attwood

Do as many “keepie-uppies” with a rugby ball as Matt Banahan

Take the Kyle Eastmond quick feet challenge

Kick a ball between two cones like Tom Heathcote

The whole children's challenge comes as a part of the newly launched Bath Rugby Junior membership. Bath are really driving an initiative to include their young supporters and encourage them improving their fitness.
The youngsters will get many opportunities to take part in the challenges through the up coming season at home games.

Along with the junior membership and children's challenges Bath also unveiled their laters signing, the new Bath Rugby Mascot Max. Max is a lion in full Roman apparel feeding off of the history of the city.
Max was met with mixed responses, children loved him yet adults were dubious. I'm sure within time he will become accepted by both sets of fans, as the elder generations will see how the youngsters enjoy his presence.

I was lucky enough to grab a few words with newly promoted Head Coach Mike Ford about the new initiative.

Is the children's challenge a concept that Bath Rugby have been thinking of for a while?

I'm not totally sure on the length of time, but it has been planned fir a while with our community and commercial teams.
It's a great idea and initiative to challenge kids to get out and be healthy, doing exercise and take part in these 5 challenges. It also works perfectly with launching our new junior membership club.

Bath have run the centurion club over recent seasons, the new membership club appears to trying to incorporate the children into the club more.

A lot of thought has gone into all of this, did you see the mascot earlier? Big lad isn't he, thinking we could possibly slip him into the second row.

Yes what is the thinking behind with the mascot?

We're following through with the whole Roman thing , even the calls this season feed from that, it's linking the heritage of the city more into the club we're proud of its history and want to represent that at the club.

Who came up with the ideas for the five challenges and the players involved? I understand Kyle Eastwood with the fast feet, Biggsie with the sprint, Heathcote on the kicking but the most confusing is Dave Attwood on the hula hooping challenge?

The challenges were designed by the team. The challenges are designed not just to be about rugby, it's aimed to get the kids out have fun exercising and tear them away from the games consoles. They're aimed that anybody can do them so the parents can do them with the kids and help encourage them to do them.
With the hula hoop why not big Dave Attwood? Just shows anyone can and if he can do 30 in 30 seconds it's a good comparison and benchmark for you to try for.
We just want to see more kids out there trying these and seeing how they progress through the season.

All in all a fantastic morning at the Rec showing how Bath are intending to help the local community grow integrating rugby in it.
With David Flatman armed with a microphone to be the compare for the morning (future stadium announcer) and a visit from his walking comedy material Duncan Bell a good atmosphere was built. All together an informative and witty performance from Flats, including some heavy banter towards players boots especially Banners (jealousy), helped make it a great morning. A job well done by Bath Rugby and long may it continue.