From the boardroom
Chief operating officer Chris Pearlman brings fans up to date on events and progress off the pitch at Swansea City in today's edition of Jack Magazine.
Good afternoon and welcome back to the Liberty Stadium.
Firstly, a warm welcome back to South Wales to Paul Clement, his staff and everyone who has made the trip from Reading.
I wanted to take this time to update supporters on a handful of off-field items.
The first is the field itself, specifically the pitch at the Liberty. The current pitch has been in place since the stadium opened in 2005. It is a Desso GrassMaster surface that is composed of natural grass combined with artificial fibres.
The life cycle of the pitch when it was initially installed was expected to be around 10 to 12 years.
Rainy Welsh weather and lack of sunshine can make pitch maintenance challenging, especially with a very busy calendar of football and rugby fixtures.
However, the grounds staff here have done a tremendous job maintaining the playing surface and we have been fortunate to have gained a few extra years out of it.
While we are still evaluating the pitch’s condition, it is very likely it will have to be replaced this coming summer.
This is something for which we have been preparing for quite some time, and is a process which should take almost the entire summer to complete.
On the topic of the stadium, the football club has recently completed its acquisition of land adjacent to the Liberty, directly outside the Energy Check (South) Stand.
This process started back in 2012 and was necessary if we ever wanted to explore a stadium expansion and block outside development of the site.
Our away fixture against Wigan Athletic at the start of the month provided many of you with the opportunity to watch a live Swansea City league match for the first time on our website or app through the new SwansTV Live platform.
We had over 4,000 plays from more than 40 countries worldwide for the match, which 63 per cent of viewers watched on the official Swans app.
We have received some very positive feedback on the contributions to the streams over the course of the season from Swans legends Wyndham Evans, Lee Trundle and Leon Britton, as well as others who have stepped into the booth and studio.
We are particularly proud of the work that James Snaith and Sioned Dafydd Rowlands from our media team have produced for the broadcasts.
One area where we were expecting a bit of drop-off for this season because of relegation was merchandise sales.
While down slightly from last year, your support in buying team merchandise has remained very strong, with our orange and grey away kit selling particularly well and outpacing sales of last year’s away strip.
Meanwhile, the club has agreed to donate £1 to EFL sponsor Mind for each kit that is personalised with a name on the back of it.
The company’s squiggle is incorporated into the first letter of names on the back of kits to help raise awareness of their cause of promoting better mental health.
The top-selling personalised Swans kits so far this year are those bearing the names of McBurnie, Celina, Montero, Fer and Roberts.
And people are buying Swans gear around the globe. Over the course of last season, we sold our merchandise to 73 different countries worldwide.
Nevertheless, the majority of our merchandise sales (close to 70 per cent) still comes locally, from either the city centre store or right here at the Liberty.
Enjoy the match.