SALE Sharks will play their home games next season at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday afternoons at 2pm.
Co-owner Brian Kennedy explained the club’s decision to move to Saturday afternoon kick offs, saying: “ The club have played Friday night rugby since 2002, but with the move to the new stadium in 2012, the attendances have dropped off despite the team playing winning rugby this season.
“We have taken on board the feedback from our supporters and the main reason for non attendance would appear to be transport problems that accompany Friday evening games.
“We have played two Saturday afternoon games in 2014 and our supporters tell us that they have a more relaxed journey to the stadium and enjoy their experience better.”
Gordon McKie, chairman of Sale Sharks added: “Saturday afternoon kick off times will allow us to reach out to a much bigger potential audience across the wider community and schools.
“On the transport front, the difficulties in reaching the stadium on a Friday evening are well documented and we believe our supporters will be able to make a day out of game-day on Saturdays rather than having to rush to and from the stadium on Friday evenings.
“The board of directors have agreed to the move for 2014/15 season but we will revisit matters once the promised new road and bridge are in place.
“To assist our supporters, we will continue to provide a free shuttle service from the Trafford Centre and may increase the number of buses if demand increases.
“I know this decision will not be popular for everybody but we ask our fans to continue to support us as we believe that the decision is in the best interests of the club at this time.”
Season tickets will go on sale first thing on Tuesday morning next week. The whole season structure has been re-vamped with a one price seating price (excluding platinum) along with a new price band for students and youngsters.
There will be a short period for existing season ticket holders to renew and everyone who buys before April 30will be placed in a ballot for RWC 2015 tickets.
There will be an early bird pricing structure which will end on May 9. Existing seat season ticket holders will have a two week window in which to renew their seats.