Harlequins confirm change of date for Big Game 14 due to strike action
Harlequins confirm that due to the on-going industrial action by the RMT, the Club has been left with no option but to move the planned Big Game 14 event at Twickenham Stadium on 27 December.
Big Game 14 will now take place in early March and see a change of opposition:
Saturday 4 March 2023
Harlequins Women vs Exeter Chiefs Women, 12:00 KO
Harlequins Men vs Exeter Chiefs, 15:00 KO
Harlequins have been working closely with South Western Railway through the RFU, Premiership Rugby and all key stakeholders to understand the impact of the current RMT industrial action. Despite 27 December not being a designated day for industrial action, Harlequins has been informed this week that mainline train services into Twickenham station will not operate at all on the event day, alongside severe restrictions across the train and underground network feeding the local area. The Club has been advised on crowd safety concerns that it would not be safe to deliver the much anticipated sold-out Twickenham stadium event.
Harlequins CEO, Laurie Dalrymple explained: "We are devastated to have to move Big Game 14 from its annual festive place in the calendar because of this strike action. We know how special this event is to our local community and this was due to be our biggest and best ever event. I can assure our supporters that we have worked tirelessly to find any way to stage the event on or even near the 27 December, reducing capacity, laying on buses or developing a park and ride scheme to name a few. Ultimately we must put the safety of our supporters and those working at the event first and it is clear that without the functioning rail network, we cannot safely deliver a large scale event at Twickenham. The scale of the closures across multiple key train stations, train lines and tube lines is unprecedented and a much bigger impact that other recent smaller strikes on Twickenham match days. It is out of our control and we have sadly been left with no choice to postpone the fixture".
"Big Game is the biggest annual club rugby event in the world and we know our supporters will be extremely disappointed by the postponement but we are happy to be able to offer a superb alternative plan for Big Game against great opposition as we take on Exeter Chiefs Men's and Women's teams at the home of rugby on 4 March. We will bring back all of the usual Big Game activities that our fans love, with live music, free fun fares, the famous player walkover and a day packed with fun and entertainment. We will also move some of our LGBTQ+ Pride activities that were planned for this weekend into the Big Game event. We are effectively moving the entire event from 27 December to Saturday 4 March. All purchased tickets will be valid and we hope that our supporters will swap their tickets to the new event - we really need your support as Big Game is a critical part of the Club's DNA and financial performance".
All ticket holders for Big Game 14 will be contacted today by Harlequins and provided options regarding their tickets.
Harlequin's intended fixtures against Bristol Bears on 27 December will still go ahead but will now move to the lower capacity Twickenham Stoop stadium:
Tuesday 27 December 2022, Twickenham Stoop stadium
Harlequins Women vs Bristol Bears Women, 13:30 KO
Harlequins Men vs Bristol Bears Men, 16:15 KO
Harlequins have worked closely with the RFU to add over 1,000 additional car parking places for supporters wishing to drive to the event, alongside the usual 1,000+ places the Club normally use on match days. The Club has also confirmed an additional shuttle bus service to and from Richmond mainline stations pre and post match will operate and will share details shortly.
Dalrymple explained: "Many of our supporters live within walking distance from The Stoop or travel by car or their own means. With a 14,800 capacity, and supported by the additional parking from the RFU, we are able to deliver the match day. While this will not be the full event day of Big Game, we will deliver two brilliant rugby matches and all of our usual pre match entertainment, live music, pyro and light show. We thank Bristol Bears for their understanding at this late change and we hope to see a packed Stoop full of supporters enjoying the festive season and the superb atmosphere of The Stoop".
Harlequins will today launch General Sale for tickets for the 27 December double header at The Stoop. Harlequins Season Ticket Members and Debenture Members attend the fixture in their usual seats using Season parking passes (where applicable) as the matches are part of their Membership. Entry for those Members will be via their Membership card Any Member or supporter wishing to buy additional tickets will be able to do so at the same time.