League One rugby side Bradford Bulls is in talks with potential new stadium sponsors after announcing the end of its partnership with Provident Financial, according to Mike Crowther of the TELEGRAPH & ARGUS. The Bradford-based loans firm had provided backing to the Odsal club since '13, sponsoring the club's shirts and supporting the academy, the Bradford Bulls Foundation and the Bulls women's team during that time in addition to putting its name to the ground. The Godwin Street-based group "stuck with the Bulls through administration and relegation" from the Super League in '14 and, while the shirt sponsorship deal ended when the new Odsal club was formed following liquidation early last year, the company "continued to sponsor the ground and the main stand." Provident Financial "suffered a turbulent" '17, with CEO Peter Crook stepping down from the company in August after it had to issue a series of profit warnings (TELEGRAPH & ARGUS, 2/12).
Chelsea announced an increase in wheelchair spaces available at Stamford Bridge from the start of the '18-19 season. The club was one of those needing to fulfill a "Premier League promise" launched in '15 to reach a minimum number of spaces for wheelchair users inside its home ground. There will be provisions for 219 wheelchair spaces at Stamford Bridge, with the club promising "further improvements" once its new stadium is "built and ready for use" (SKY SPORTS, 2/12).
Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian Owner Ann Budge confirmed the club will lay a new pitch this summer -- with a £1M ($1.38M) "hybrid surface the preferred option." The existing turf was "put down a year ago at a six-figure cost but is already showing extensive signs of wear and tear, with heavy rainfall making underfoot conditions difficult." Despite costs for the new main stand "soaring" to £15M ($20.7M), the club is "keen to install a hybrid surface, which uses natural grass intertwined with artificial turf fibres" (Scotland DAILY RECORD, 2/12).