Bandits in talks with potential sponsors

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BERWICK Bandits are currently involved in talks with two potential backers and hope to announce a new major sponsorship deal soon.

The Bandits, who announced their starting 1-7 for the 2013 season at the weekend, have made no secret of the fact that they need a sponsor to ease the financial pressure of running speedway at Shielfield Park.

Speaking at a fans’ forum in the Black and Gold on Friday promoter John Anderson said the club is currently ‘in negotiations’ with two potential backers, but nothing has been agreed yet.

“Hopefully we will have some more positive news in the coming weeks,” he said, “because without the input of a major sponsor it will make it very difficult to make it viable.”

When asked what the implications would be if a sponsor was not found he said: “That’s something I don’t even want to consider.

“As a club we have already been awarded two big meetings next season - the BEN Fund Challenge in March and the British round of the World U21 Championship in August.

“We now have what looks to be a very solid and competitive team lined up and we would like to think the combination of that, along with the passion of the fans and what I consider to be the best back room team in the business, would be a very attractive proposition for any potential sponsor.”

Anderson has once again stressed the need for more people to get behind the club and support it.

He said to make speedway viable they require a regular crowd of around 800.

“It will probably shock some people, but we need to take around £11,000 a week through the gates and other sources like meeting sponsors etc.

“That’s what we need to pay the wages, stadium rent, printing, advertising, medical cover etc., and on top of that there is always a big VAT bill.

“Last season we struggled to achieve that, which was why we decided to lower admission prices towards the end of the season to try and get more people through the turnstiles.

“Unfortunately speedway has changed over the last few years. When we first came in I said we were in it for the long haul, but the economic climate has changed, speedway has changed and all we can hope is that there is an upturn soon because a lot of clubs are struggling.

“I would like to thank all the riders in the team for agreeing to take a pay cut next year to help the situation.

“They are also losing the third placed bonus point money and will have to buy their own tyres, which is an added expense, but I think they all realise that cuts like this are necessary if the sport is to survive.

“We lost a lot of money at Berwick last season, but some clubs lost an awful lot more,in some cases three times as much. The riders realise that if the clubs don’t survive then they will be out of a job, so it is important that we as a club cut our cloth accordingly and that everyone is pulling in the same direction.”