London Broncos Rugby League will make Trailfinders Sports Club in Ealing their home from 2016 in a three year deal.
Trailfinders Sports Club will be the London Broncos playing and training base hosting Under 16s, Under 19s and first team games.
Set in 18 acres of ground, Trailfinders Sports Club consists of a number of pitches including a 3G synthetic pitch which the Broncos will use for training and games. It also houses two modern Pavilions, a clubhouse and pitchside seating for 1,020, with an immediate overall capacity of 3,020.
Ealing is located within 10 miles to where the club formed in 1980 as Fulham but it is also just three miles from Brentford where the club had some of the best attendances, and Twickenham is less than 10 miles away which was the club’s last west London base. Ealing itself has very good transport connections with both the District and Central lines running into Ealing Broadway, along with mainline train services from Paddington, Oxford and Reading. 15 bus routes also serve Ealing Broadway station and Trailfinders Sports Club is situated a 25 minute walk away from the town centre.
“We feel very strongly that this move will enable us to plan a sustainable long term future for the club,” said London Broncos General Manager Jason Loubser.
“We made the decision to move to Trailfinders Sports Club as the facilities were the best suited for the London Broncos not only in the Championship but also in the future when we return to Super League. The venue has the ability to further develop to meet the standards of Super League which will involve increasing the current capacity.
“The management of Trailfinders are really excited about the plans we have to grow the London Broncos brand and also how we can potentially help them grow the venue both in terms of increasing business and improving facilities as we grow.
“Based on our 2015 league position we will receive a significantly reduced central distribution payment so to enable the club to maintain a full-time squad in 2016 we had to look at ways of both reducing our outgoings and increasing our revenue streams. One of the biggest costs the club has each season is the hosting of games so this was the major cost we needed to reduce, but we also had to continue to meet the RFL facility standards and Trailfinders Sports Club ticked both these boxes. The move will enable the club to take back control over part of the business that were relinquished in our deal with The Hive including our community programme, merchandise and revenue from the club shop.
“We appreciate that supporters may see this as a backward step in terms of seating capacity at the new venue but with the crowd numbers as they have been this season we feel that the ground will be adequate and a better atmosphere can be created. With the current seating capacity of 1,020 there is also the ability to have an additional 2,000 supporters standing. Importantly the venue has the space to increase the seating capacity should the need arise in the future and the venue owners are very supportive of the plans we have presented to bring in further seating.”
The move will also see Trailfinders Sports Club become the club’s training venue for all teams from the start of the 2016 season. The Under16s and Under19s will move from their current base of Feltham and the first team will move from the current training ground in Bushey. It will be the first time in the history of the club that all teams will be located at a single venue for both training and matches.
“For the past few months we have been working hard behind the scenes in preparation for the move next season in drawing up marketing campaigns ready for us to engage with businesses, sports clubs, schools, the wider community and past and present supporters,” continued Loubser.
“We are also in the process of planning business engagement events in the area and some of these will be happening at the end of this year. In addition to these we have looked at other potential revenue streams for 2016 which we will start to actively promote in the next few months.
“As a club we need to create a sustainable business model for not only next season but also to enable future growth of the club both on and off the field. This move is the first step that we are taking to start the process of building a strong and ultimately sustainable future for the London Broncos.”
London Broncos Chairman David Hughes said: “We are really pleased as a club to have secured a training and playing venue at the Trailfinders Sports Club.
“The move to Ealing will bring the club together for the first time in our history and enable us to create a truly sustainable club for the future. I’m fully committed to ensuring the club is in a position to return to Super League at the earliest opportunity.
“We really appreciate all the work Mike Gooley and Sallieann Davis from Trailfinders have put in to house the London Broncos and we all look forward to a long and successful partnership for many years to come.”
Trailfinders Sports Club Chairman Mike Gooley commented on the London Broncos move:
“Everyone involved and affected by the London Broncos making TFSC their home believe it will prove a welcome and successful venture, and a happy association.
“We look forward to welcoming the London Broncos and hope for a successful partnership for many years to come.”
Details of season tickets for the 2016 will be announced before the end of the current season.