Strike up the band: Wanderers ready to bring in new concerts and sporting events

·2-min read
Fans at one of the two nights Oasis played at the Reebok in 2000
Fans at one of the two nights Oasis played at the Reebok in 2000

WANDERERS hope to be welcoming major music concerts back to the University of Bolton Stadium in 2023.

The club is in talks with promoters about bringing in some money-spinning events from next summer as they try to re-establish themselves as a major venue.

The Reebok – as was – played host to huge bands like Oasis and Coldplay and solo artists like Elton John at the turn of the Millennium. More recently, Pink, The Killers, Little Mix and Rod Stewart have brought fans flooding in.

Wanderers want to use the stadium to its full potential in the off-season but are also looking at hosting other sporting events – including international football.

A Rugby League World Cup group game between England and France will be played at the UniBol in October – but a scheduled quarter-final match was recently cancelled as it clashed with a major snooker event taking place in the Premier Suite.

Club CEO Neil Hart hopes that Wanderers can attract other top-class sports, alongside their established links with the RFL.

“It is something we want to enhance,” he said. “We’d like to look at other sports and though I’m sure Ian (Evatt) won’t thank me for saying it, particularly with his style of play, rugby is one.

“We are doing pitch work to give it some TLC. As you know, our ground-staff won best pitch in the league, which is fantastic and credit to Chris Simm and his team.

“But coming up we want England Under-21 and women’s fixtures too.

“Diversifying the club’s revenue is something we absolutely will be doing but – I add – not to the detriment of the pitch. We always need to make sure that is protected for the core business, and that’s the team playing football matches.”

Wanderers have held several top-class rugby league games down the years, including the men’s and women’s Challenge Cup semi-finals in July 2019.

The decision to step away from hosting the upcoming World Cup quarter-final was made because of an existing three-year deal with Masters Snooker but, says Hart, has not affected the club’s relationship with rugby’s top brass.

“Originally they wanted to hold two fixtures but we clearly can’t operate two tournaments at the same time so one had to give,” he explained. “I was very honest and open with the Council and the organisers of the competition and they decided to work with us and move the fixture to Warrington.

“We’re delighted to be hosting the England game, though, and tickets are on sale. We’re looking forward to putting on a good show.”

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