Saracens pitch in with SIS to make history
ONE MORE THING: Pitch company Support in Sport Group Ireland Ltd (SIS) will make a little piece of history next month when Saracens becomes the first professional rugby team in England to play a Premiership match on an artificial pitch.
SIS has installed the £500,000 3G artificial surface at Saracens’ new Allianz Park stadium, which will open on February 18th with a match against Exeter.
The pitch got a test run recently when Saracens defeated Cardiff Blues in the Anglo Welsh Cup.
The benefits of the artificial surface are use all year round, which helps Saracens generate vital extra revenues, and a more consistent playing surface.
SIS’s Sligo-born chief executive George Mullan is confident this business will grow in the coming years, and the Welsh union has said it will consider such a surface for the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
“Research suggests that an artificial surface fosters a faster game, with fewer knock-ons and no muddy quagmires,” he said.
Abu Dhabi stadium
“It’s early days and it will be interesting to see how rugby people accept it. It’s certainly a big test for us.”
Mullan said SIS had a record year in 2012 with revenues up about 15 per cent at €32 million and a pre-tax profit of €4 million.
This summer will see it once again lay pitches for Barcelona and Real Madrid, while it has secured a number of new contracts overseas.
“We’ve just won a big contract for a national stadium in Abu Dhabi and two new stadiums in Turkey. Touch wood, it looks like we’ll be busier this year.”