Monday, January 11th, 2016

New Road T20 Blast Match Day Experience Again Amongst Best In Country

New Road T20 Blast Match Day Experience Again Amongst Best In Country

The Worcestershire Rapids Match Day Experience during NatWest T20 Blast matches was once again one of the best in the country for the 2015 campaign.

The Rapids had come runners-up by just 0.1 of a point to Nottinghamshire in 2014 in the ECB Matchday Experience Survey.

And the latest ECB Survey for last summer showed supporters were even more impressed with everything on offer at New Road during a match-day alongside the superb cricket played by the Rapids.

The average marks received by the Rapids from spectators who took part in the ECB Survey increased from an average of 8.4 out of 10 for each category to 8.6 – with the average for all 18 counties being 8.2.

But the most significant statistic is that for Category 'C' grounds – effectively non Test playing grounds – the Rapids were best in class in SIX of the 10 categories.

They were voted tops in the ECB Survey for atmosphere, the view, stewarding, seating, access to ground and information announcements.

It is a reward for the County upgrading their public address system and turnstile facilities during the past 12 months.

This success follows on from the news announced before the weekend that attendances were up by 85% in 2015 compared to 2014 for Rapids T20 Blast matches at New Road.

But Commercial Director Jon Graham said the Rapids would continue to strive to ensure the MatchDay Experience becomes even more appealing to spectators – and will always welcome and take on board and constructive criticism.

Graham said: "People at other counties are looking at us as the benchmark of what they need to achieve.

"The overall matchday experience average at New Road in 2015 was 8.6 points per category out of 10, up from 8.4 in 2014. The average for all the counties was 8.2

"But for Category 'C' grounds, for non international first class counties, we were best in class for six of the 10 individual categories as far as match experience was concerned – atmosphere, view, stewarding, seating, access to ground and information announcements.

"When people come to the ground, it's an experience and an event so they know what to expect and we are always striving to make that experience even better. We are punching above our weight in virtually every area.

"The benefit of having this type of information is a) it's independent so it's people who are fairly subjective in what they say and b) whilst it's great to score well again, we tend to look at the constructive criticism or feedback.

"If we feel the criticism or feedback is valid, which most of it is, we try and act on it – as we showed with the improvements via the new turnstile block and the upgrade PA system.

"The new turnstile block has made a big difference. Historically, we've had challenges with the PA system around the ground and that was upgraded at the start of last season and now we've performed better as far as that category is concerned.

"We've also scored very well with the atmosphere inside the ground, the iconic view, and food and drink on last year with the 'Gibbo's Grill' food outlet receiving much support.

"But what we should also be incredibly proud of is the stewards who always outperform the national average and again they've done that.

"We've had some really good feedback from the survey saying how good our stewards are and that is credit to Paul Phillips and Colin Hicks. That is to be commended."

Not that Graham and his hard-working staff are resting on their laurels and plans are in hand to introduce action replays during games of the action and to have a greater emphasis on the family element attending games at New Road.

He said: "Even though our overall survey score was high, people who came with families-children actually had an even better experience and they on average scored us 8.9 points out of 10 across all the categories.

"The important thing is we need to look at things like the Big Bash because it is very apparent when you watch that, it is a family atmosphere.

"Whilst at New Road the atmosphere is great, I think there is definitely an opportunity to try and get more children involved.

"It's not particularly raucous. It's Friday night and people are having fun. The introduction of the Arctic Spas Challenge where kids come onto the outfield in the interval and throw balls into the hot tubs, that was really popular.

"Nile The Crocodile is probably the most popular mascot on the circuit and again kids and families are starting to buy into that and it's really important because ever since I've been here, I'm incredibly passionate about making sure as many children come into the ground as possible.

"Ultimately that is where future members, players come from. We are going to have a bit more of a focus on the family element.

"We already have a Family Stand next to the Marquee so maybe that had an impact as well. But we are looking at quite a few initiatives for next year to improve the experience even more.

"The thing we are very keen to do for next season is utilise the scoreboard a bit more and, if we can, try and get replays during the games, even for the non televised games. That is a work in progress.

"That is becoming an expectation now so we are working with one of our partners now about delivering that."