Glasgow Tigers have become the first speedway organization to link up with Ticket Arena, beginning the start of an exciting relationship which will make buying tickets to watch the speedway team so much easier.
The Tigers might be the only professional speedway team in the West of Scotland but they’ve been a stable institution for over 70 years, taking on different guises during that time. Originally based at White City Stadium, which was a purpose-built greyhound track, the club soon started to host open meetings at a number of other iconic venues such as Celtic Park.
After several name changes and moving out of Glasgow, even hopping over the border into England at one stage during their time at Workington’s Derwent Park, the club eventually landed at its current home, the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium.
Keen to boost the profile of the sport and attract more people to come and watch the races, the club made significant changes to the modelling of the track, giving fans a more immersive view of the action.
The team is full of riders from far and wide, including St Helens’ Richie Worrall, a fan favourite at Glasgow who provides thrilling entertainment whenever he takes to the track. The 25-year-old has consistently been at the top of the averages table (accumulating the most points within a set number of races) and is intent on being the star man for the forthcoming season. Team captain Chris Harris is another popular figure, having
We spoke to the Tigers to get a feel for what the club’s about.
How much of a boost is it to the club that you are the only professional motorsport team in the West of Scotland?
It is a boost to the club. We have fans that travel from all over the west of Scotland to come and watch us. We are one of only two speedway teams in Scotland alongside Edinburgh, so there is a real rivalry there. The derby matches always are great occasions as Edinburgh bring a lot of fans to us and vice versa. It’s a great place for those thrill seekers and motorsport fans to come and get their “fix”.
What kind of spectacle does speedway provide and what kind of appetite is there for more organizations/venues to be set up in Scotland?
When you see your first speedway heat you really get a “wow” factor. There is something about the noise, the smell and the sense of danger that really can’t be replicated in other sports. Unlike other motorsports you can get right up close as well which really adds to it. The guys are really risking their life every time they go out on the track, we are not exaggerating the danger aspect, accidents are very common. Speedway under the flood lights as well is something really that must be experienced to be appreciated. It is something you can sometimes forget when you see them sliding round corners at 70mph that they don’t have any brakes!
In terms of appetite for other venues, I don’t think it is very high at the moment. We are soon to launch a speedway academy here in Glasgow in the hope that we can discover the next big name in Scottish speedway. It’s been a few years since we have had a Scottish rider here at the Tigers and we would really like to change that. It’s the same as football in a sense, fans always love when a local rider comes through.
Your owners the Facenna family are committed to making it an established part of the community. How have you made it something that all the family can enjoy?
Families are a large part of our focus for meetings. We want to make it something that all the family can enjoy. We have various kids activities that happen every meeting which adds to the whole experience for them. We have a game called “Jungle Balls” where they have to try and throw foam balls into a moving car and we have “Roary’s Race” where they have the opportunity to race against our mascot on the centre green with the other kids. It’s something we have seen grow particularly last season, the number of kids in the race grew every week. This year we have amended our ticket prices so that kids under 12 go free and we have introduced a family ticket. We hope this will encourage even more families to come along as we are keen to grow the next generation of speedway fans.
How important is it that you make the whole experience from start to finish as inviting as possible and not just focus purely on the races?
It is hugely important. We want to make speedway as accessible to everyone as possible. We believe it has something for everyone. The rules of speedway obviously aren’t as widely known as other sports, but it is something that is relatively easy to pick up. We have a great announcer who commentates throughout the whole meeting to try and help those new fans out. In addition to this we have a great set of diehard fans, who have been coming to watch us for years and know the sport inside out. They love the sport and are more than happy to explain rules and help others work out what’s going on.
Away from the actual races, there is a lot more that speedway offers. We have three places in the stadium that fans can purchase great food and drink at reasonable prices. Unlike football, alcoholic drinks can be purchased and carried round the stadium. We believe it is a great option for those that want to have a drink with their friends/colleagues before heading into the city centre, which is only a ten-minute taxi journey from the stadium. We are hoping that the change to Friday nights will encourage this even more.
As mentioned before as well it is a very family friendly atmosphere with lots for the kids to do. The people that attend a speedway meeting are very diverse, from kids to our older fans, it’s very much something for everyone.
What ideas have you got coming in the future to make the experience of coming to watch a race even more inclusive?
We are always developing and looking for new ideas. In speedway we are seen as one of the pioneer clubs and thanks to the backing of our owners we are able to push the boundaries of the traditional speedway meeting/club. We have a great social media team and we are one of the most followed/liked speedway teams in the world, which we are very proud of. We are hoping that our pairing with Ticket Arena will help with the inclusive option. Allowing fans to purchase tickets in advance and have them in barcode form should hopefully encourage new fans to come along and give it a try.
We are currently in the process of widening our track to encourage better racing. In speedway the tighter the track, the harder it is for passing, particularly in the bends. We hope that by widening the track it will allow for even more excitement and more overtaking as that is where the major thrills are.
We also have potential plans for our stadium. It is a fantastic venue with so much potential for other uses. We currently run various events mainly from The Den (our main indoor building) but we are looking to perhaps expand out into the stadium itself, watch this space!
You can buy a season ticket for the Glasgow Tigers here.
Photos courtesy of Glasgow Tigers
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