BATLEY BULLDOGS chairman Kevin Nicholas has hailed the “great partnership” with local burger restaurant Frankie’s that has enabled the club to offer junior season tickets for free.
The 2019 season launch took place last Friday, with the club revealing new playing kits as well as details of season tickets.
An adult season ticket for next season will cost £185 with concession tickets priced at £135, covering all 13 home Championship fixtures as well as allowing the purchase of a half-price ticket to the Summer Bash in Blackpool.
The Bulldogs have also installed a new online ticketing system, so season and matchday tickets can now be purchased on the club website.
A number of Championship clubs offer free or vastly reduced junior tickets, and Batley have been able to extend that scheme thanks to the support from Frankie’s.
“We’ve had great sponsorship from Frankie’s, who have ensured that we can get free kids tickets again, because we’ve implemented a new ticketing system at the club and obviously there’s a cost to that,” Nicholas explained.
“We were going to charge for season tickets but thanks to that sponsorship we’re not, and adults, concessions and children can have the 10 per cent discount (at Frankie’s) with their season ticket card, so that’s a great partnership.
“The new ticketing system (with) people being able to buy online, I’m hoping will be an improvement at the club that people are happy with.”
The chairman also provided an update on the future implications of changes voted on by clubs in September, which sees funding maintained for Championship and League One clubs now, but uncertainty beyond the end of the current Super League TV deal with Sky in 2021.
Having been strongly against the changes, Nicholas now believes that “we need to just get on with it”.
On funding for the club, he said: “I don’t think there will be implications for next year or (2020). The downside is that when the TV deal expires, what’s going to happen then?
“We’ve got to work hard in the next two years to improve the Championship and try to get it as self-sufficient or as prepared to be self-sufficient as possible, so that we’re not relying on the Sky TV deal as much as we were.”
He adds that the RFL and clubs are working on giving the lower divisions more media exposure, with the aim a deal that would get more matches on television.
“We’ve got the RFL working on that, we’ve got clubs individually having an input. Obviously the ultimate goal would be getting the Championship and League One on television, so we’re working towards promoting our product so that the media want to be involved,” he said.
Super League have announced a number of rule changes to their competition for 2019, including the introduction of golden-point extra time and a reduction in the number of interchanges.
There will be an RFL meeting today (Friday) to discuss implementing these changes in the Championship and League One as well, and Nicholas admits that it has been “driven by Super League” with the RFL sanctioning the rules.
He said: “We did get an email from the RFL on these rule changes, saying what the board felt could be implemented and was likely to be implemented and wanted input, so we’ve referred those changes to Matt (coach Diskin), and he’s happy with them.
“The free play has gone and there’s mixed feeling about that. A lot of the time people forgot about it, sometimes it was utilised successfully, so I don’t think that’s a controversial rule change.
“Interchanges (will go) down to probably eight; that’s something that I know Matt is happy with, because he sees that the less interchanges there are, in the last quarter of the game teams will be getting tired and you might see more open rugby.
“I’m not sure if they’re going to implement the time limit around the scrum in this league, but that’s not too bad an idea really.
“Personally, I’m not massively in favour of golden point. I think there’s value in draws myself. But generally speaking, I don’t think they’re massively controversial if we’re being honest.”
The chairman also says that he is “very happy” with the squad that Diskin has been able to put together at Batley ahead of the 2019 season.
He said: “I’ve been up to training a few times. I know from Matt that they’re all training well, and we’re seeing some great team spirit up there so I’m delighted with the way things look at the moment.”