Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Is the price right?

Charlton moaners have had a hard time this week in terms of their usual criticisms of selection, team tactics etc. So there has been a switch of focus to an alleged slump in season ticket sales as evidence of the ineptitude of the club's management. However, they have managed to spark off an interesting and lively discussion that has more relevance than the usual complaints about 'why does/does not Curbs start Fortune.'

In any one year, a number of season ticket holders will give up for reasons such as relocation, family or work commitments, health and age etc. There is some anecdotal evidence this year that a number of stalwarts have given up, e.g., from the West Sussex CASC newsletter. It seems that some people are still waiting to decide whether to renew with their decision being based on price and performance. And it looks like the club will face a real crunch next year when the five year season tickets run out.

The actual level of season ticket sales is commercially confidential, but it would seem that some of the higher figures that have been bandied around are exaggerated. It's an area prone to what is known as the 'individualistic fallacy', generalising from individual cases or anecdotal evidence.

One reason for not renewing seems to be that 'the magic has gone'. This is a bit odd when you think that this comment is often made by people who put up with a collection of journeymen struggling to survive in the then first division. But I guess what they really mean is that Charlton has plateaued, has got as far as a club of its size can given the current financial structure of the Premiership (which is a problem that does need to be addressed by the football authorities, but probably won't be).

What is an issue, given that we have N extra seats to sell at each game, is match pricing. Full page adverts in the Mercury for the Wigan game suggest that the price for that glamorous fixture has been set too high. Empty seats yield no revenue whereas discounted seats can bring in new fans and generate additional money through food, merchandise and programme sales.

All credit to the board then for lowering the price for Chelsea tickets compared to last season when we did not sell out for this attractive fixture.

Another bigger issue is the total cost of going to away games with declining attendance there attracting Peter Varney and the Premiership's attention last season.
On his internet radio programme, Brian Cole estimated that it cost him and his daughter £150 to go to Sunderland. Who will want to go to 'Boro on a Sunday when it is live on Sky?


Blogger beauzo said...

Interesting points well made. I suspect the club missed a trick this season in ignoring the potential for allowing us season ticket holders 1 free or significantly discounted cup game, even just the league cup. Given the paltry attendances at home cup matches and the low number of cup games in recent seasons I suggest that the chance of the project reducing revenue would be nil. The prospect (however slim) of a glamour tie at a 'bargain' price may have convinced more to renew. I also think the early renewal discount deadline has been too early in the last couple of years, especially given the repeated end of term slide in form. Coughing up nigh on £600 as soon as the season ends sticks in the craw somewhat. Those who may have been vascillating then subsequently have the further disincentive of a perceived £50 "loss" if they choose to renew after June. Credit to the club though for sending out the season tickets earlier than anytime these last 7 years. On a selection/moaning note surely no sane person is really mystified as to Mr Fortune's non-appearnce in the starting 11???

10:19 AM  
Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Good suggestions. I was being ironic about Fortune, although I have heard the comment made.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Kappacino Kid said...

With regard to away fans on top of the cost that has been illustrated away fans are treated like third class citizens or cattle. They are given the worst position in the grounds which are the last to be renovated in ground rebuilding.. note the Valley, herded through the streets by the local constabulary like some sort of terrorists or tube train users, and then they face the problems of abuse from home supporters in the mode of Birmingham and those Division two ex European Champions Forest. No wonder away following is in declene.

10:17 PM  

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