Warriors to play Super League match Down Under
Warriors will play in the first Super League match to be staged outside of Europe next year.
As part of a nine-day tour to include a friendly against South Sydney, Wigan will play their first home game of 2018 in Australia when they take on Hull FC Wollongong’s WIN Stadium on Saturday, February 10, 2018.
Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan has called the announcement ‘one of the most innovative and exciting in the history of Wigan rugby league club,’ as he prepares to see his side in action Down Under for the second time following the 2014 World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters.
Lenagan said: “The opportunities to create new and increased core business from sponsorships and partnerships together with Wigan brand development, the increased profile with NRL players and opportunity for our fans makes this the biggest single commercial contract in the history of the club.
“The Wigan fans are famed for their loyal support as shown when a huge army of supporters travelled to Sydney for the World Club Challenge game with Sydney Roosters in 2014.
“We firmly believe that the Wigan and Hull fans will be as excited about this venture as we are and we have announced early to allow fans the chance to plan their trip to Australia and, at the same time, to provide clarity on the number of home games for the 2018 season before season ticket packages are launched later this year.”
The tour will include a double header at the ANZ Stadium on February 17 with Wigan taking on Souths and Hull FC playing against St George Illawarra.
Negotiations between rugby director, Kris Radlinski, commercial sales manager Dan Burton, and key stakeholders both in Australia and the UK have taken over 12 months.
Parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward released a statement to the Illawarra Mercury outlining details for the match after meeting Wigan officials earlier this year.
Ward said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce that in an Australian first, British rugby league side Wigan will bring their first home match of the 2018 Super League season to Wollongong next February.
“The Illawarra is passionate about rugby league and I am delighted our region will have the enormous honour of hosting the first Super League match ever played in Australia.
“This match will not only excite the community but it will be of enormous benefit to local businesses and I have no doubt fans from right across Australia will get right behind this historic event.
“The NSW investment in tourism and major events sectors continues to return outstanding results with this event expected to attract 5000 interstate and overseas visitors to NSW injecting more than $7million into the New South Wales economy.
“I firmly believe Wigan and Hull fans will be excited about this venture also and we decided to announce this event early to allow fans the chance to plan their trip to Australia.”
Organisers expect 5,000 fans from Wigan and Hull FC to travel, and ticketing will be announced in late August.
Hull FC Chairman, Adam Pearson, said: “This is a landmark occasion for the sport of rugby league and an opportunity for Hull FC to play our part in making Super League history.”