Could bums on seats initiative bring benefits to Scottish Rugby?

Southern Reporter rugby columnist Stuart Cameron urges the SRU to extend their ticket give away to include children ahead of the Italy game.

I was delighted to read that the SRU are giving away 1,000 tickets to the armed forces for the Italy game – but may I suggest going one step further.

Let’s not fool ourselves – Italian games do not come close to a sell-out despite value for money ticket prices generally. So I would love to see the SRU using this game as an opportunity to pack out the stadium by offering as many schools as possible the chance to fill a coach for free and get behind the Scottish team.

No-one who has already bought tickets would surely complain if this happened. Targeting young kids, who perhaps have never seen a rugby international, and getting them to come along can only be a win-win situation. It’s such a positive idea and the kind of initiative that should have been done for the Edinburgh v Glasgow game at Murrayfield.

The SRU would benefit from sales of merchandise, food and drink once people are packed in – money they can’t make if there are 25,000 or more empty seats – and the atmosphere with that amount of kids in the stadium would be electric.

It’s never been done before to the best of my knowledge, so why not give it a try? There’s still time to arrange it I’m sure, but if not, let’s see it happen for the warm-up game against Italy later this year.

We are told that Scottish Rugby are keen to get schools on board who don’t currently play rugby so what better way than to give them the opportunity to bring their pupils to see Scotland’s international team play at BT Murrayfield? To me, the goodwill generated by this kind of marketing campaign would be very welcome.

Yes, I understand that Scottish Rugby is a business and is committed to getting money in to drive the game forward, but I sincerely think that there has to be a balance here, and for certain matches that will never sell out, marketing and promotional efforts should be made.