The Tigers Challenge has come a long way since the first event back in 2012 with this year’s two weekend festivals welcoming over 7,000 people.
Each year, local youth rugby clubs from around the UK make their way to Butlins Minehead and Bognor Regis to take part in the biggest youth rugby festival of its kind.
The event is organised by Leicester Tigers and ESF Events who specialise in providing youth sport events. We caught up with ESF Events director Martin Young to find out just why Tigers Challenge continues to be so popular.
“ESF have been staging youth football festivals since 1989. Looking at that model, we saw an opportunity to expand into rugby union and, being a Leicestershire-based company, Leicester Tigers were the obvious and best supported club to form the perfect partnership.
“We had a base in Butlins at Minehead which was fantastic for the kids and touring parties with all the entertainment, swimming pools and fun fairs on site. In year one, we actually staged two events in Minehead and Skegness and we were blown away by the scale and popularity straight away.
“We had an aim of can we get 1,000 people down to one festival and it went way beyond that – nearly 3,000 just for Minehead alone. We switched the Skegness event to Bognor Regis in West Sussex so we could approach the teams from the south east and worked closely with the local clubs to ensure the quality of the event.
“Fast forward to 2018, we introduced the idea of merging two events to takeover the whole of Butlins Minehead over one weekend – so we had 250 teams join us and about 7,000 individuals.
“What to expect from 2019? We want to really focus on girls rugby and get more girls teams involved. We also hit capacity at Minehead this year, and there were a lot of teams that we simply couldn’t accommodate. So it’s all about involving as many clubs as we can as it’s a fantastic weekend and experience for young rugby players.”
Find out more about Tigers Challenge or to book onto next years festivals by clicking the link below.