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Wasps planning new indoor sport and music arena

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Aviva Premiership club Wasps is looking into the possibility of building a second arena close to its Ricoh Arena home to continue its expansion following its move to Coventry in 2014.

At the second day of the SportsPro Live conference, Wasps chief executive David Armstrong said the club was “looking carefully at potentially building a second arena” that would act as an indoor sports and music facility.

Following a panel session titled If You Build it They Will Come, in which he participated, Armstrong told Sports Management that while plans were still in the very early stages, he envisaged breaking ground on the project within two or three years.

The facility will include activities such as indoor surfing, trampolining and climbing, and will be connected to a separate leisure facility Armstrong revealed during Rugby Expo last year.

During the panel session, Armstrong told delegates the move was to “expand its footprint” and make the club’s suite of facilities – which it purchased in November 2014 – more enticing to people in the local area.

The Ricoh Arena already had a hotel, casino and large exhibition space when Wasps moved in, but the board moved quickly to give the green light to build a second hotel. Armstrong told Rugby Expo 2015 that a third hotel may also be in the offing.

According to the chief executive, one third of the 1.4m people who visit the Ricoh attend for sporting reasons, meaning that the lion’s share of visitors come for alternative functions.

“We’re hosting events 364 days a year,” he said. “We have our own hotel, our own casino and host indoor and outdoor music events, from the scale of 250 people for a classical music event, to Rihanna coming in a couple of weeks’ time which we’ve sold 36,000 tickets for.

“That’s a model that is so important going forward. The Ricoh Arena is the perfect sports venue because it is so much more than sport.”

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Aviva Premiership club Wasps is looking into the possibility of building a second arena close to its Ricoh Arena home to continue its expansion following its move to Coventry in 2014.
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David Armstrong (centre-left) said that while the plans were at the very early stage, he hoped to break ground in two or three years
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