Roses is a very big event. In fact, by student metrics, it’s absolutely enormous. 139 fixtures spread across three action-packed days, and as the home side York bore the brunt of the organisational burden. Planning began over summer, under the remit of a five-man YUSU events team including York sport president Isaac Beevor.
Money was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the main concern. Roses is what Beevor calls “a break-even event”, so the hunt for sponsorship began at the beginning of the year. “Ideally we wanted our lead sponsor secured by Christmas”, Beevor explains, but in reality it wasn’t until February that main sponsor Interserve joined the project. Pre-existing arrangements with University of York accommodation services as well as YUfund appeals topped up the pot, as did opening ceremony ticketing and merchandise sales.
Marketing was next on the list. “People are so used to social media”, says Beevor, “we wanted to put a real emphasis on physical advertising”. Campus banners and posters are nothing new, but this year for the first time staff all over campus spent the opening weeks of term in Roses-themed getups. YUSU, Nisa, estates and library staff all repped the white rose on specially manufactured Roses t-shirts.
Many fixtures were booked entire terms in advance. None of the clubs funded their own bookings, but they were responsible for finding qualified referees and submitting Roses applications. Pointed fixtures were on the programme automatically but had to apply to remain pointed, while non-pointed fixtures had to re-submit an application to be included in the lineup. A few eyebrows were raised by the absence of boxing – 2015’s curtain-raiser. “With Central Hall under construction and given other stewarding commitments”, explains Beevor, “it just wasn’t feasible”.
LUSU Activities [and Sport] Officer Jack Waller attended to the needs of travelling Lancaster fans and players – buses, sleeping areas etc. – and 600 Lancastrians stayed in York on Saturday night alone. Both SABBs paid mutual tributes at Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Leading up to the event, progress was surprisingly smooth – “I thought I should have been panicking about stuff ” Beevor commented, “but there wasn’t all that much to panic about” – and the weekend progressed with relative serenity. York’s sports teams repaid their administrator’s efforts with a comfortable final day victory.