National League basketball is set to leave the Bonus Arena after Hull Wasps have confirmed they will not return for the 2012/13 season in September.
The Wasps have been in talks with the arena during the summer break in order to renegotiate costs for hiring the venue for home games, but Chairman Dave Bushnell confirmed that costs had risen way beyond current financial budgets.
“Every year we negotiate costs for the hire of the Bonus Arena for each home game” said Bushnell.
“The decision to leave has ultimately been driven by a huge increase in costs to hire the arena. We sit down every summer to negotiate costs for the forthcoming season. Usually around 10-20% is added to the cost each year.
“But this year, quite surprisingly, they came to us and said that we must pay double in order to remain there. Some alternative options were discussed to reduce their asking price but they were not willing to budge on price to remain with the seating structure that have always had.”
Bushnell also confirmed that the club has a bright future no matter where they play their national league home games.
“I want to reassure fans that we have made every effort to remain at the arena as we have always thought of this as our home. In the current economy, sponsorship and funding is very difficult to obtain. Even with a larger financial input, we feel that as a club, there are better ways to invest money that we receive from sponsors. We want to invest in grass roots and youth development. If we spend more money on venue hire then it will take away from that long term plan. We firmly believe that moving to another venue and not increasing our costs will help us achieve this.
“We have a bright future ahead. We have developed a strong fan base over the last four years and we will continue to grow and build the club.”
Although no venue has been confirmed for the forthcoming season, Bushnell confirmed that talks with Hull City Council are currently on-going to move to a council-funded venue. The 500-seater Ennerdale Sport Centre, close to Kingswood Retail Park, is the likely option although is yet to be confirmed.
An announcement should be made in the next few weeks confirming the Wasps’ new home.
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