Bristol Rovers to implement major changes to Memorial Stadium in bid to boost capacity

Fans have been consulted ahead of changes that will come from the 2022/23 season
Bristol Rovers will need to pick up maximum points if they are to cement their promotion hopes. Bristol Rovers will need to pick up maximum points if they are to cement their promotion hopes.
Bristol Rovers will need to pick up maximum points if they are to cement their promotion hopes.

Bristol Rovers have announced a change to the layout of the Memorial Stadium and where fans will be housed, in a bid to increase the capacity.

The club have been in contact with supporters who have season tickets in the affected areas as they look to improve the match day experience and get more fans through the turnstiles after two years without fans.

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Saturday’s match against Bradford City had an attendance of 9,186, 493 short of the record attendance of the season against Exeter City.

The club in previous years have been able to welcome more than 10,000 fans in but Safety Advisory groups, as well as COVID-19 restrictions at the start of the season, impacted their ability to sell more tickets.

As a result, the club have explored ways of trying to increase the capacity, having been faced with the restrictions this season.

“The first change will see the removal of the Family Stand on the east side of the stadium from next season with the South West stand becoming the new Family Stand,” said CEO Tom Gorringe in his programme notes for the Bradford City match.

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“When this stand was first installed it occupied a space within the terrace that was rarely utilised so it didn’t affect our operational capacity. However, following the recent changes to capacities and the loss of the area at the front of the stands, the lost space may now be required.

There is also a possibility that for those in the Family Stand, there could be no season tickets available in that area.

The thought process behind this is that there are only a few season ticket holders in the area and they are scattered about, which limits their ability to utilise the space.

The South Stand could be made available to a full away following, though only teams like Exeter City and Newport County, have sold out their allocation this season.

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Gorringe added: “Therefore, the rationale behind not selling Season Tickets in this area is to allow more home fans to purchase tickets for games.

“This will occur because at the moment both seated and terraced tickets are offered to the visiting team regardless of the size of their support; in some instances there may only be 50 fans in each area. The leagues state we must allow the visiting team the opportunity to purchase at least 10% of the tickets for the stadium capacity.

“By moving Season Tickets out of the South Stand, we can decide on a game-by-game basis how to manage the allocation to maximise the number of tickets we can sell.

“In some instances this will mean seated tickets only which will unlock the East Terrace for home supporters.

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“For other games, it might be a small number of seats which unlocks the East Terrace and the remainder.

“For a handful of games, we may allow the visiting team the full South Stand, however I expect this to be rare.

“The purposes of any changes are to maximise the number of fans we can get in the stadium and improve the experience as best we can.”

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