Hull Kingston Rovers will set up a temporary 3,000-seat stand at its home stadium to maximise fan attendance, while the Super League club has also detailed plans for a new fan zone that will seek to transform the match-day experience.
Rovers’ Hull College Craven Park stadium has a capacity of around 12,000 and the new temporary South Stand will be set up to allow as many members to attend as possible while fan restrictions remain in place.
The team has invested a “significant sum” in the temporary stand, which will be hired in for two months. The additional capacity will enable Rovers to welcome fans in all four sides of the stadium, with better facilities to be provided for those who cannot watch from their preferred spot.
The Super League season gets underway on March 26. Matches will initially be held behind closed doors but fans are set to return from May 17, when up to 10,000 people or 25% seated capacity – whichever is lower – will be permitted at outdoor venues.
Rovers chief executive Paul Lakin said that Hull College Craven Park’s capacity would be below 3,000 without the temporary stand, making it difficult for the club to distribute tickets fairly. The stand will ensure the majority of fans who renewed their membership by the first priority window can attend matches.
Lakin said: “Financially this is a big commitment for us, but our thinking has always been with supporters at the forefront of our mind, particularly our loyal members. We are determined to grow this great club but our concentration in the last year has been initially survival, and now we are focusing on stability.
“By investing in the stand, we can enjoy the club together as one from as early as possible, however, to do so we will not also be able to offer refunds for games missed when the season first kicks off. Quite simply we can’t afford to do both.”
The temporary stand will remain in place for Rovers’ games against St Helens and cross-city rivals Hull FC in July. The stand is subject to a successful planning application and approval from the Safety Advisory Group.
The club has also announced a new project entitled Craven Streat, which will look to transform the area around Hull College Craven Park on match days.
The concept will include live stage entertainment, a marquee with bars, local independent street food and a big screen. It is hoped the space can create a relaxed festival atmosphere for fans to meet before the game.
The village takes its inspiration from the name of Rovers’ first-ever East Hull-based stadium, Craven Street. Lakin said the club has been working on the project for some time, with the intention of launching it as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“Whilst in North America pre-match carnival atmospheres are commonplace, we feel like we are offering something not only unique to the region in terms of a pitch-side event space, but to Super League as a whole,” said Lakin.
“We are confident we can create a real family-friendly party atmosphere around the stadium where fans want to spend the whole day with us. It provides so many opportunities for us to focus our efforts into creating one special area with lots going on rather than this being watered down across various bars within the stadium.
“Offering a quality choice of food rather than the usual burger and pie. We get five home games in 2021 to really test the concept, with a view of growing it to become even bigger and better over time. We see it as a key part of attracting new fans to the stadium in the medium to long term and the space will provide a unique backdrop for a whole array of non-matchday opportunities.”
The temporary South Stand will be removed when Craven Streat opens for Rovers’ game against the Warrington Wolves in July. The space will be available for private bookings and special events, and local independent food vendors have been invited to take part in the experience.