Wigan Warriors have announced the launch of a strategy to expand their brand and presence in London.
Club owner Ian Lenagan has deep connections with the capital, and views it as a key region for the growth of both his club, and rugby league in general.
There are several southern-raised players in the Wigan squad, who have played for London Broncos, while many ex-Wigan personalities, such as Andrew Farrell and Martin Offiah, are based in London.
The first “strand” of this new strategy is the launch of the Wigan Warriors Business Club, which the Warriors’ official website describes as: “an exclusive event in the prestigious Institute of Directors in Pall Mall on Monday June 29 (6.30pm – 9pm).
“The Business Club is an extension of a highly successful initiative, established in the North in February 2015, which has quickly seen more than 70 businesses commit to an informal yet exclusive Members’ Club to do business around a series of spectacular and unique events. Members include Natwest, Barclays, Gala Coral, TM Lewin and KPMG.
“Events have included a Heritage Evening featuring legendary players and a never-seen-before collection of Rugby memorabilia and a privileged insight into Professional Team match preparation with an invitation into the dressing room to hear the matchday rituals and pre-match team talk from Head Coach, Shaun Wane, ahead of Wigan’s biggest game of the season – the sell-out Good Friday Derby with arch-rivals St Helens.”
The second strand of the strategy is a focus on community issues in the London area, with the club looking to use its fame and brand to help address issues of health, education and social welfare.
They will also look to help develop the game in London, using the charisma of the Wigan brand as a tool.
The third leg of the strategy is to take a Wigan home game to the capital on a regular basis, with the aim being one game a season.
“My personal passion for both Wigan and Rugby League in London makes this initiative an obvious one,” said Lenagan.
“The Wigan Club is the biggest brand in club rugby and I am fully aware of the need for a major rugby league presence in London to complement the wide-ranging community work already being done successfully in schools and clubs.
“This venture provides exciting opportunities for both the club and the sport generally.
“The expansion into London is a core element of Wigan’s growth strategy to engage with both the sporting public and the business community and will see a wide array of activities over the coming months and years including at least one Wigan home game per year and rugby league camps run by Wigan staff.”