Rugby union club Wasps have revealed they are interested in the setting up a Super League club in Coventry.
But they say they need to bring rugby league events such as the Magic Weekend to the Ricoh Arena to test the appetite for it before starting a franchise.
“We’re trying to seed our audience, grow our audience and grow awareness of the sport,” Wasps chief executive David Armstrong
“If that did work, then we would have a serious look at it.”
just over two years ago after spells ground-sharing with football clubs QPR and Wycombe Wanderers.
This season they expect to average over 17,000 for home matches.
They hosted rugby league for the first time with the Four Nations double-header last November – Australia v New Zealand and England v Scotland – which attracted over 21,000 spectators.
“We thought that was an outstanding success,” said Armstrong. “There was 8,000 or 9,000 fans from this region who purchased tickets and came along on the night. That was very encouraging for us.”
‘We want to make sure we’re ready for it’
Wakefield chairman Michael Carter recently told the BBC that brief discussions had taken place among Super League clubs about the possibility of relocation.
And the RFL says it would consider any application to move a current Super League side into a new town or city.
“I should think it will have its challenges with the fan-base,” said Armstrong.
“So we’re looking very carefully at how rugby league expands and how we can build our audience in the Midlands and around Coventry.
“I think that’s a bit of a stretch at the moment. Before we got as far as that, we’d have to work hard on establishing our audience.
“It’s a big venture and we’d want to make sure our fan-base and our audience is ready for it, rather than building it from scratch or on a little bit of hope.”
Wasps missed out on hosting this year’s Magic Weekend – on which every Super League fixture is played in one venue over one weekend – with Newcastle’s St James’ Park accommodating the event in May.
But Armstrong says they will push hard to host next year’s event at the Ricoh.
“This year we submitted a bid and we discovered that all bar one club in Super League is closer to Coventry than Newcastle,” he said.
“So we know we are not far away from the heartland, we know we’ve got a strong and interested audience, so our dipping the toe in the water will probably continue. We’ll bid for it again for next year.”