Premiership champions confirm stadium expansion
Chiefs Chairman and Chief Executive Tony Rowe OBE said Sandy Park will increase from 12,500 to a capacity of just under 13,500.
He told the Sunday Independent: “We are going to make some alterations to the terraces and the South West Communications Stand to move our capacity up to just under 13,500 in time for the start of the new season.
“Our average attendance in the Premiership last season was over 11,000, which is absolutely brilliant, but we are getting close to capacity all the time, so we want to increase it a little bit.
The plans are part of more redevelopment works in the area, along with a planned £25m, 250-bed hotel at Sandy Park.
All of the experts have told me not to increase Sandy Park’s conference and banqueting facilities without a hotel,” explained Rowe.
“That is one of our biggest drawbacks. We don’t get some big events because we do not have a hotel on site, and that there is not one within walking distance either. If you are coming for a big function, you have got to arrange to go somewhere else to stay, so it’s quite imperative we get the hotel.
“Hopefully, we will secure planning permission for it, and parallel to that, we are looking at how we finance the development of the south end of the ground, which is another £25m.
“We are still going through the process of how we are going to fund what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. But if we get the planning permission, we will build the hotel as soon as possible because we need that in our business now.
“Even if we press the button on the south end now, it is two years away, so just to increase the capacity of the ground a bit, we have been able to get some alterations done which will add around 800 to 900 to our capacity for this coming season.”