Up to 13,000 Leeds school children are set to benefit from a new initiative between Leeds Rhinos and their charity Leeds Rhinos Foundation.
The game changing Project 9 scheme, is for Leeds school children aged 9-year-olds and will see children and a parent/guardian offered the opportunity to apply for free tickets for Rhinos home games in 2022.
Built around the belief that professional sport should be accessible regardless of an individual’s background, the project will allow the next generation of young Rhinos fans to experience Rugby League at Emerald Headingley Stadium along with providing them more opportunities to get involved in the sport.
Project 9 will be delivered in primary schools in the region and will be available to all pupils that attend a school signed up to the project, regardless of whether they have played the game or watched the Rhinos before.
Every year five student that joins, will be given a Project 9 Membership for them and a parent or guardian. Members will get an exclusive offer to apply for two free tickets for an adult and a child for Rhinos home fixtures (subject to availability). Plus the year five pupils will also receive further benefits in their school including: Rugby League awareness sessions delivered by Leeds Rhinos Foundation in assemblies, skills sessions plus visits from Ronnie the Rhino and first team players.
Speaking about the launch, Leeds Rhinos head of marketing Matt Adams said: “We strongly believe this project is a first of its kind in professional sport and will introduce a brand-new audience to Rugby League and the Rhinos.
“We’re removing several barriers that may have restricted people attending in the past and we’re confident that once they’ve visited Emerald Headingley and experienced the match nights they’ll fall in love with the sport. Not only will this ensure that professional sport is accessible to all but will lay the foundations for the next generation of fan or player. By focusing on a specific age group, we’re ensuring that year on year we’ll be introducing a new batch of young fans to the sport.”
Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Bowman added: “We are excited to embark on this project with the club and look forward to working with all the primary schools in Leeds to make Project 9 the biggest success it can be.
“I believe the Leeds Rhinos Project 9 offer is unique within sport and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation will be wholeheartedly endorsing and supporting it. Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s mission is to change lives through sport and the club is supporting us in this with incredible energy and resource. The opportunity for more young people, along with their parent/carer, to enjoy the amazing spectacle of attending a match night at Emerald Headingley Stadium will provide the catalyst for delivering on our mission.
“My staff are excited to be able to make this offer available, introduce young people to the game of Rugby League, come along to our world class stadium and have a fantastic time!”
Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Rugby League talent and inclusion officer, Harvey Whiteley, will be leading the project. He commented: “I believe the Project 9 initiative is the beginning of a massive boost for not only Leeds Rhinos but Rugby League itself. I am very much looking forward to being involved in providing these fans with a second to none match day experience at the Emerald Headingley Stadium, as well as working closely with the schools.”