Following the announcement from the RFL regarding the 2020 Betfred Championship season being null and void, Widnes Vikings will be communicating with supporters on a number of issues linked with the cancellation of the season.
This is a complex and unprecedented situation that no-one within the sport has ever had to deal with, ultimately meaning we must take the necessary time to evaluate any and all decisions which must be made.
We understand that supporters will have a number of questions regarding Season Tickets, Match Tickets and the club’s plans moving forward – with the club working hard behind the scenes to bring you the answers to these questions as quick as possible.
One thing that we are certain of, is that without the unwavering backing of our supporters the club would not be here today. The last 18-24 months have been difficult as a club, as we have battled from the brink of extinction to work hard towards becoming sustainable and a return to being a successful club in the future.
Without our supporters rallying around us in our darkest hour we wouldn’t have been able to pull off the incredible achievement of saving the club from within moments of liquidation.
We have said many times during the rebuilding process of the Vikings that we want to move away from talk of administration and put the past behind us – however when talking about our incredible supporters it is difficult to not mention the important part they played in making sure we have a future to look forward to.
On and off the field we have worked hard to make a number of challenging and difficult decisions in order to protect the future and sustainability of our club, ensuring that we remain financially viable and can begin to grow again.
The effects of administration have been well documented, but following this we have had to sell a number of players, reduce staffing levels and most notably move from a full-time operation to a part-time playing squad – all to demonstrate that we are being financially responsible with the best interest of the club at the forefront of those decisions.
All of this had led to a brighter future for the club, with a highly anticipated 2020 season the beginning of a new era for Widnes Vikings, as the foundations towards reaching our goals as a club looked to have been laid.
We’re confident that no other club in the sport has a supporter group that is as influential as the Black and White army which follows us home and away, through thick and thin.
A significant proportion of our income as a club comes directly from our supporters, through a number of revenue streams which make up a huge portion our budget each season. From Season Tickets to Match Day tickets, and Kit sales to VIQI and WISSL subscriptions, we can’t thank each and every one of our supporters enough for their unwavering support of the Vikings.
Time and time again we have called upon our supporters to show their faith in the club, and each and every time we have been overwhelmed by the response. This has been evident more than ever of late, as we surpassed our Season Ticket targets, hit Retail targets, retained an incredible level of VIQI and WISSL members and even saw the launch of WidnesTV surpass our initial subscription targets – representing a new and crucial form of income for the club.
The unfortunate events that followed, partnered with the loss of the 2020 season, could now jeopardise all of the hard work of the club and our dedicated supporters in order to survive administration and reach the point we were at heading into this campaign.
Despite the incredible backing of our supporters, we have reached another crucial crossroads in the future of our club, with no-one at fault for the situation we find ourselves in.
Our biggest task is to now understand the impact that the cancellation of the 2020 season will have upon our finances, especially in relation to Season Ticket holders.
Already, we have been overwhelmed by the messages we have received on social media from supporters who have underlined their intentions with regards to their 2020 Season Ticket money.
Over the coming days we will be assessing various options with regards to the costs and implications of reimbursing our Season Ticket holders. This will then inform our decisions on future planning with regards to our budget and depending on the findings of this we may need to incur debt in the form of loans to meet this unforeseen cost.
Given the events of 2019 this is not necessarily a position we want to be in, given that we currently have no debt and have taken out no loans, as incurring debt will have several knock-on effects in regards to our budget and recruitment plans.
We understand the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been felt across the country, and that many of our supporters will be in a position to rely on a refund due to unfortunate changes in their circumstances. As a club, we will be working hard to put into place a reward system for supporters who defer their refund, as a thank you for this incredible gesture.
We will be circulating a survey to our Season Ticket holders this week in order to gain an understanding of their response to the cancellation of the season.
Once again, we are at a crucial point in regard to the future of our great club, and for us to be able to come out of this situation stronger we need our supporters alongside us every step of the way.
Because, no matter what our plans or targets for the future are, without you they would never be attainable.