PLANS to expand Sixways Stadium could be back on the table by the end of next season, according to Worcester Warriors chief executive Jim O’Toole.

Warriors are aiming to increase their capacity from about 12,000 to 20,000 and O’Toole has vowed to realise those ambitions if demand for tickets continues to rise.

Planning permission was granted by Wychavon District Council in 2006 for a new two-tier North Stand, which would create space for 5,000 spectators.

Those plans were put on hold as the Aviva Premiership club pressed ahead with a £8million development of the East Stand, which was completed in 2008.

But, with the attendance set to climb above 10,000 for the fourth time this season on Saturday when Warriors take on Saracens, O’Toole says they are on track to start discussing their ground expansion plans again.

“The average number of tickets sold so far for 10 Premiership games is 8,931,” he said.

“Now, if we bring in another 1,000 people that would push us over that 10,000-mark consistently, which is worth an extra £250,000 if an average ticket price is £25.

“We only need another 3,000 people in here to be full and when you are full you then start thinking, ‘Do we replace the North Stand with a more permanent structure?’

“There is planning permission in a draw in my office for a 20,000-seater stadium.

“There is no point building it because it is expensive until there is that pent up demand."

Warriors have also got a long-term project in the pipeline to redevelop the West Stand, which would take the capacity up to 20,000 along with the new North Stand.

“If you have got 10,000 people at every home game, that’s when people say, ‘I like this seat, I want to guarantee it’," O'Toole continued.

“If you buy one season ticket, you will probably buy another. You may buy four for two adults and two kids, so suddenly it all grows.”

Asked whether the plans to develop the North Stand would be considered at this stage next season, O’Toole said: “I would like to at least be having that conversation.

“If we could get the average up from 8,900 to 10,000 (next season), then that would be a very interesting conversation.”

He added: “If we were consistently over 10,000, we would look at developing the stadium.

“I personally believe the optimum size for the Premiership is around what Harlequins and Northampton Saints have, which is about 14,000 to 15,000.”

Since returning to the top flight, Warriors have seen attendances reach as high as 10,727 for their clash with Midlands rivals Wasps last month.

O’Toole said the numbers have “exceeded” his expectation this season and he is confident they will rise next term despite increasing the cost of season tickets.

“I am fully expecting an increase because factually I see an increase match-to-match in ticket buyers and anecdotally the number of people telling me, ‘I had not been here before this year and the quality of rugby is exciting’,” O’Toole said.

“I know a lot of the other teams, like Sarries, Quins, Wasps and Exeter, are filled with internationals but we have given them all a good game here. So I think people are going away thinking, ‘We may not have won but we have competed and are playing a decent style of rugby’.”


Wasps – Ricoh Arena – 32,609

London Irish – Madejski Stadium – 24,100

Leicester Tigers – Welford Road – 24,000

Gloucester – Kingsholm – 16,121

Northampton Saints – Franklin’s Gardens – 15,500

Harlequins – Twickenham Stoop – 14,800

Bath – Recreation Ground – 13,516

Exeter Chiefs – Sandy Park – 12,500

Worcester Warriors – Sixways Stadium – 12,024

Sale Sharks – AJ Bell Stadium – 12,000

Newcastle Falcons – Kingston Park – 10,200

Saracens – Allianz Park – 10,000