Sheffield Eagles have listened to their fans according to chairman Ian Swire after confirming their return to the Steel City for the 2016 campaign.
The newly full time Eagles will play their home fixtures at Sheffield Hallam University’s Sports Park on Bawtry Road, subject to approval from the RFL and the granting of a ground license.
Plans are in place to upgrade the facility to a 3,000 capacity venue that would be ready to use for the start of the new season in February.
“We have listened to our fans and have made a commitment to significant investment in developing the ground,” Swire said. “Now we need our fans to make an equally strong commitment in supporting the Eagles at the new venue.”
Swire confirmed the option of playing at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane home was not an option for the Eagles during 2016.
The Eagles have had a strong working relationship with the university in recent years with Bawtry Road hosting training as well as fixtures for the U23, Academy and Scholarship sides.
And director of rugby Mark Aston says the venue suits the club’s style of play.
He said: “It’s a big, flat pitch with a surface as good as any you would find in Super League.
“I’m expecting our new look squad to really enjoy playing there and put on some great performances.”
In order to meet RFL standards, the Eagles will invest in high quality temporary stands to provide 1,000 covered seats while access to the site will be improved.
The university will create a new fan zone on matchdays.
Eagles development director Ian Anniss is to co-ordinate the project and praised the partnership between the club and university.
He said: “Sheffield Hallam have been absolutely brilliant partners, not only at the Olympic Legacy Park, which will be our eventual home ground, but in helping to bring professional rugby league back to the city.
“Their staff have matched our enthusiasm and commitment and have gone the extra mile to make this happen.
“When the adaptations to the ground are complete it will be a great place to watch the Eagles and an enjoyable match day experience.”
The Eagles played the majority of their home games at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster last season.
Aston said: “I would like record our thanks to Doncaster for being such excellent hosts last season.
“It is a great stadium to play at and we were always made very welcome.
“Unfortunately, it was not in Sheffield and we need to bring professional rugby league back home.”