WARRIORS will take their Supers 8s clash with Catalans Dragons to London.
The club will take their ‘home’ fixture to The Den in the Southwark Borough of London on Saturday September 5, with a 3pm kick-off.
We sincerely hope that they can understand the opportunity this provides us to grow as a clubIan Lenagan
Warriors Chairman Ian Lenagan is a former owner of London Broncos and is an advocate of growing rugby league in the capital.
“We are taking a Super League game to London and we intend to leave our mark” he said.
“This is no half-hearted measure. It has been well planned and is underpinned by a strong community programme, the development of our London Business Club and the opening of Wigan’s office on Buckingham Palace Road. The fixture provides an opportunity for Wigan and rugby league fans to sample live Super League rugby in the capital.”
Season ticket holders will be offered free travel to the Millwall FC ground and the club is currently finalising the finer details including ticketing and travel arrangements – including free priority seating for season ticket holders.
Lengan is aware not all fans have embraced the venture wholeheartedly but hopes they will support the event.
“We understand that some of our fans in and around Wigan may feel a little disgruntled by the move,” he said.
“However, we sincerely hope that they can understand the opportunity this provides us to grow as a club. With a bigger fan base, more blue chip corporate support and access to a wider talent pool of players it will allow us to meet our mission to become the biggest club in the world.
“The benefits that this will bring will benefit everyone involved with Wigan in the medium to long term, allowing us to further invest in the best facilities, outstanding fan experiences and our playing squad.”
Super League General Manager, Blake Solly, has high hopes for the fixture.
He said: “Many fans complain that Rugby League doesn’t command the profile of other sports and tell us that they want to see rugby league competing with the likes of rugby union, cricket and football on a national scale with a higher media profile.
“We had a hugely successful Magic Weekend in Newcastle earlier in the season and Wigan should be congratulated on taking a Super 8s game to The Den. They have some great plans to put on a spectacular show and to tap into the London-based media outlets.
“I spend a lot of time in London and firmly believe this is a positive move. I hope the entire sport gets behind them.”
This will not be the first time Warriors have taken matches further afield in a bid to increase their profile.
They were the first team to contest a World Club Challenge in Australia for 20 years when they took on Sydney Roosters Down Under in 2014.
And Lenagan hopes his club and its fans can leave a similar mark on London.
“A little bit like the World Club Challenge in Sydney two years ago, this is a great opportunity to showcase Wigan – both the rugby club and the town – to the wider world in one of the biggest and most vibrant cities on the planet,” he explained.
“We certainly left a positive impression in Sydney and the NRL still talk about the way we conducted ourselves and the 4,000 Wigan fans who made the trip.
“The game in London will be another fabulous occasion and we hope Wigan fans from across the country, including the North West, will be as excited about this as we are and will come to the game.”