HAVING a suave place to call home is essential in Super League.
Not only will it encourage more people to go and see what the fuss is all about, it can also be a money-spinner all year round with functions and events generating much-needed cash.
In terms of looking at the grandiose new venues dotted around Super League, which five stand out for their facilities?
Headingley – Leeds Rhinos
Can it really be called a modern stadium? Perhaps, perhaps not considering the fact that some of the original structure is actually still there, with a redevelopment the name of the game at Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium. However, the club has worked wonders behind the stands to turn Headingley into a lucrative business with award-winning facilities and impeccable dining rooms making it a top-class outing even without the rugby. Gary Hetherington and Paul Caddick must take a huge amount of credit for the superb modern facility.
Totally Wicked Stadium – St Helens
When St Helens moved out of Knowsley Road, there was a collective groan around the rugby league fraternity. One of the most soulful stadiums in the country, the old girl is no longer there. But, to not only survive but thrive in the summer era, Saints recognised that Knowsley Road could not function too well without the rugby, hence the move to the Totally Wicked Stadium as soon as it opened. The facilities are incredible and with every step around the stadium you understand why the Merseyside club is so successful.
Halliwell Jones Stadium – Warrington Wolves
Another brilliant old venue in Wilderspool has been lost to the sport of rugby league, but in its place is Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium. Now, when designing a new stadium, Warrington got it spot on with the two standing areas and two seating areas making for a wonderful atmosphere on game day. But, the Wolves have also been used as a semi-final and final venue before, highlighting just how important having a modern, up-to-date facility is for generating further income. Not only that, but below the stands, the design is a work of art.
MKM Stadium – Hull FC
Listing another old stadium in The Boulevard and the nostalgia really does begin to hit. The famous Threepenny Stand is no longer associated with Hull FC, with the MKM Stadium now the home of the Black and Whites, but what a facility it is! The design of the venue is actually a bowl which can spark off the memory of The Boulevard, but inside the ground and the amenities are second to none. Though the Black and Whites share the stadium with football side Hull City, the identity of Hull FC is still very much alive and kicking.
Leigh Sports Village – Leigh Leopards
Like Warrington, Leigh recognised the need for a standing tier in order to try and replicate the atmosphere of the old Hilton Park. With the Super League season just around the corner, the Leopards will be hoping for good travelling support and their own fans to turn out in numbers to fill the stadium. Having said that, the Leigh Sports Village is not just a stadium – it is an £83 million facility with other facilities on site. It’s all packed in around the venue with the Leigh campus of Wigan and Leigh College, Leigh Sports Centre, which includes a gym, multi-use sports hall and swimming pool, a Holiday Inn Express hotel, a Morrisons supermarket and the Whistling Wren pub.