Ospreys hoping to be in a new home in 2025

Lance Bradley was chief executive at Gloucester for five years

Ospreys chief executive Lance Bradley hopes the region will start playing at a new stadium for the beginning of the 2025-26 season.

Bradley announced in January that Ospreys were looking to move away from the Swansea.com Stadium, the ground they have called home since it was built in 2005.

He cited the 21,000-capacity as too big for the Welsh region.

“If we can I would like to be out by the end of next season,” said Bradley.

“The sooner we do that the sooner we can start to raise the revenue and create the atmosphere.

“That means making an announcement hopefully within the next six months. That does not necessarily mean the stadium would be finished by that time. The options we are looking at can all be done in phases.”

Ospreys, who say this timeline is an ambition and not a deadline, are currently tenants of Swansea City Football Club, with one more season planned at the ground for the rugby side.

“We have a good relationship with Swansea City and I have been keeping them informed of what we are doing,” said Bradley.

“We are not going to say suddenly we are leaving next week.”

‘We don’t have £10m to build new stadium’

Bradley will hold a meeting with supporters before the United Rugby Championship (URC) home match against Ulster on Sunday.

He has indicated the Ospreys’ next home will be an existing stadium rather than a new build.

Bridgend’s Brewery Field was used for the 8,000 sell-out against Cardiff on 1 January, while St Helen’s in Swansea and the Gnoll in Neath have been used in the past.

“We don’t have £10m set aside to build a new stadium,” said Bradley.

“The cost of building one will likely preclude any new sites, so it’s more likely to be an existing stadium we develop somehow.

“I expect we will move in somewhere with the facilities how they are and progress it over a period.

“We have to be able to generate a good atmosphere so that’s about the stadium size.

“The Brewery Field has been great against Cardiff so that kind of capacity, probably between 6,000 and 8,000, is probably about right. There are a number of places we could achieve that.

“I have specifically not spoken about what the options are but I am sure people know them. Each of those options has the potential to be around that capacity.

“Some options don’t need much development, just need smartening up, while others will need new stands and other things around it. Pretty much every option will need a new pitch.”

Bradley added: “The other thing that will be important is the ability to raise non-matchday revenue because at just a 6,000 capacity, a professional elite rugby club is not viable.

“You can’t make enough money from 6,000 people coming through the gates to run a club so you have either got to cut back on the playing budget, which we are not going to do, or generate income elsewhere.

“That’s an important consideration.”

Ospreys are Wales’ most successful professional side so far this season but that is not being reflected in attendances.

“We have allowed ourselves to become a bit disengaged with the fanbase and local businesses over the last three years,” said Bradley.

“It’s an interesting challenge to get the supporters back and that’s what we need to see. We used to get crowds more than we currently have so we know the fans are there and in the area.

“We are happy to invest in the team and a new stadium but part of that equation has to be people wanting to come and watch us.

“The fans who come are amazing. We operate in a stadium with more than 20,000 seats and they make an unbelievable noise.

“The challenge is to get the 2,000-3,000 people who used to come regularly to start coming back.”

‘Ospreys are here to stay’

Ospreys have been affected by uncertainty, with rumours about potential mergers with other teams as well as suggestions that owners could move the side away from Wales. Bradley, who only started his role in January, insists Ospreys are here to stay.

“I was aware of that uncertainty and understand it has been unsettling for people,” said Bradley.

“It’s hard to make a commitment to an organisation you don’t know is going to be there in the future or not.

“We are just about to go on sale with our season tickets for next season and we will be based at Swansea.com for the next year.

“The point about announcing so early we are looking for a new stadium is a clear signal we are here to stay, you can trust us.

“I know there has been speculation but we are not looking to merge with anybody or move away from the area.

“That’s a big commitment but I just need to see an increase in the crowds to help that message.”

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