Castleford Tigers pen open letter to fans on the state of the Super League club ahead of real IMG grading

CASTLEFORD TIGERS have penned an open letter to fans detailing how the club will improve its IMG score throughout the 2024 Super League season ahead of the all-important scores for 2025.

In the provisional grading completed before Christmas, the Tigers scored 12.16 – a figure that would have increased to 12.91 had the extra 0.75 points that had been missing from the club’s finance section have been updated in time by the RFL.

Since then, there has been tireless work being put in around all 36 professional clubs in a bid to increase their scores for the real grading at the end of the 2024 season.

Now Castleford have revealed just where they are looking to improve.

On finance, the club has stated: “Martin Jepson and his generous investment into the club has increased our score for the next round of grading and as owner investment is an average over three years, his second payment to the club will keep the owner investment scores for this year and the next three years.”

On performance: “The performance section of the grading can be improved but will be played out on the field. With a fresh squad and coaching staff in place, and a tough pre-season under our belt, the squad is looking fitter than ever and packed with quality across the park.”

On community: “This is the one we will always argue is unfair. We can only score 0.5 points out of 1.5 due to the postcode we reside in.”

On foundation: “We currently score in the second highest bracket for Foundation and will be looking to maintain that. With Burberry now on board, and many other projects in the pipeline, our Foundation arm of the club will go from strength to strength allow us to maintain our current score while we push towards the highest bracket over the coming years.”

On stadium and facilities: “To move to maximum points in this category we need the following:

“Capacity: Minimum of 5,000 – Achieved

“Seats: Minimum of 2000 – We currently fall short of this. When the full redevelopment takes place, that will cause us significant issues. On the back of that we have taken the decision to fully seat the princess street stand.

“The seats have been ordered and we are hoping that they will be in situ for the St Helens game on the 10th of May, if not sooner. This will give us an extra 1,719 seats which takes us comfortably above the threshold required and also gives us a good base to work with when the full redevelopment starts and capacity around the main stand area decreases.

“Sponsors seats: Minimum of 200, under cover and cordoned off by a physical barrier. We currently have 198 but we can achieve that and will by the end of the season

“Corporate lounges: Minimum Capacity 200 – Achieved

“Directors box: minimum of 40 seats under cover and cordoned off by a physical barrier. This will be done during the season as it is a relatively easy fix.

“Broadcaster Parking area: Achieved but does require some groundworks that will be carried out later in the year when the weather changes.

“TV Studio space: 4m x 4m – Currently there are two options, increase the current studio or build a complete new one: we aim to have this completed before August once we have costed both options.

“Media facilities: We do fall short at the moment, but we are waiting to see where we are in August against the full redevelopment to decide whether we move the press box into the Princess Street stand to gain those additional press benches or add additional benches into the main stand.

“Media & Photographer Lounge: We currently achieve that but are looking at moving that elsewhere and increasing its footprint.

“Big Screen and LED’s: We have just placed an order for a big screen and are hopeful it will be in situ for the London game if not before, this will be sited (subject to survey) around the area of the current scoreboard. The screen will give us an extra 0.125 points as soon as it is installed. We are currently costing LED’s for 3 sides of the pitch, this may be something that needs to wait until the full development happens ( subject to costs). We will keep you updated.”

On fandom: “We score really high on this.

“Social Media: As a collective, our social media engagements are a lot higher than they were at this time in 2023. That comes down to new, engaging ideas across the media department, along with the creativity around player signings in the off-season.

“These ideas will continue to come to life across all of our channels in the near future, with mini-series’, inside and behind-the-scenes content and engaging questions for the fans to get involved in.

“Attendances: To gain extra points in this area, we need to hit an average of 7,500 per game across the Super League this season and the previous 2 seasons. We kicked off the season with over 10,000 packed into the Jungle and we really appreciate your support. Please, if you’re a member, or non-member, we ask that you encourage friends and family to attend the games to ensure full support of the players on the field and allow us to hit our target as this could be the difference in us achieving a high grade B or low grade A.”

On other areas of development: “While we wait for the planning process to complete and Axiom to secure the funding for the full redevelopment we wanted to communicate to the fans that we have been working with the council for the last six months on a short-term plan, on top of the work highlighted above to increase the grading, we are also looking to start working on other areas that are in the planning application but fall outside of the Main Stand redevelopment.

“We are able to do this by utilising the £2million Rugby League Resilience fund, these works will include: New turnstiles, New fencing and external cladding, toilet upgrades and replacement in certain areas, hospitality upgrades and some resurfacing work around the car park and the stadium.

“We are hopeful that the majority of this work will be done and completed throughout the season. With any outstanding work taken place in the early part of the off season.

“We will of course keep you updated as we book and confirm dates for the above works. As a board we can assure you we and all the club staff are working as hard as we can to influence any areas that we can to increase our grading score in time for the audit, the one thing you as fans can do is come down to games and encourage as many people as you can to either return to watching Super League at Castleford or to try it for the first time.”

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