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Season Ticket Prices Frozen But It Is Not Enough !
Thursday, 17th May 2018 11:31

Earlier this week we suggested that Season Ticket prices should be reduced to reflect the disappointing season we have had and to re engage with a disenchanted fan base, sadly the club do not feel the same way.

Saints have just announced that season ticket prices will be frozen for next season and although they are dressing this up with a few sweeteners including a free ticket for a home pre season friendly and 30% off of food and drink in the stadium up to 30 minutes before kick off, in my mind they have failed to realise and indeed deal with what has been a fairly high percentage of the fan base not only disillusioned with what they have been watching at St Mary's but in many cases Premier League football itself being dominated by a big six clique who seem to think the rest of the division only exists to make up the number and be feeder clubs for the,.

Last season on social media and indeed in general was full of people telling anyone that would listen that they would not be renewing their season ticket, they felt alienated from the club and that it did not communicate with them and took them for granted.

That is why I suggested that the club needed to bring back a bit of feel good factor, it needed to give something back to the fans and that meant reducing season ticket prices and encouraging the fans to renew and show that the club cared.

Sadly I don't think the club have done that by merely freezing prices and offering fans a £10 ticket to a meaningless friendly, they needed to make a bold and brash statement that mean't the fans had something to praise the club for.

A gesture of 10% reduction in renewal prices would have been something worth having, there would be no need to bring down matchday prices, just the renewal rate.

The club won't admit it publicly but season ticket renewals dropped dramatically early last summer, that contributed to the sacking of Claude Puel although they will not admit that, there was some take up after Puel had been sacked, but numbers were down.

I will say in general the club do get things right a lot of the time in terms of ticket pricing, individual ticket prices are reasonable in most areas of the ground, but any football club needs to be able to have a strong season ticket holder base and not be wondering how they are going to sell a large chunk of tickets for a raft of unattractive fixtures in the depths of winter.

They have missed a trick here, season ticket sales will undoubtedly drop for a second season running and although most games had official attendances in the season just gone of over 30,000, for many of these games there were a significant number of seats empty mainly in the Itchen/Chapel corner that weren't empty in previous seasons for games with similar attendances.

Although some could be attributed to season ticket holders not turning up, not all were and i know a fair few that missed 4-5 games or more this season because they could not be bothered going and are unlikely to renew this season and will pick and choose their games.

The popular theory in football unless you are Liverpool and Manchester United and have waiting lists for individual tickets for every game and each seat will be filled by a different foreign supporter each game desperate to spend money in the club shop , is that you have to build your season ticket base, a season ticket holder is worth £1,000 to a club like Saints when you take into account he is more likely to fall into a routine that involves buying a replica shirt and having a pint with his mates in the ground etc.

But if his seat isn't filled then that individual will perhaps only attend 10 games the following season and won't buy a shirt or spend money on food and drink etc and his worth is only £400 to the club.

That is why for a club like Saints were supply for most games is likely to exceed demand to build that season ticket holder base, have that seat full every game and concentrate on keeping supporter loyalty.

So I think the club have been a little naive and a little short sighted in their pricing structure here, to think that supporters will just renew again whatever after what they perceive as two seasons that have had a lack of entertainment and excitement could be something of an own goal and once you lose a season ticket holder it is hard to get him back.

Some of the disenchantment is out of Saints hands, they cannot help the greed of the Premier League resulting in the behaviour shown by the likes of Virgil Van Dijk turning the fans away from not just the club but football in general, but that is why they need to work doubly hard in keeping the fan base intact, I think the announcement today will only make supporters feel that the club is showing little interest in what they are thinking or how they feel.

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saintmark1976 added 11:53 - May 17
Oh well,anybody who thought that the miserable season just past would be a wake up call for the club's owners and management didn't have long to wait to be further disappointed.

Yesterday it was the chairman spouting a vacuous load of hot air and today no reduction in the price of season tickets.

Next I suppose it will be weeks of dithering over the appointment of a manager followed by weeks of inactivity in the transfer market.

In other words as far as the owners and management are concerned it's simply business as usual again.


underweststand added 11:56 - May 17
Is it enough ?. I suppose it will have to be, but if we get back to a " decent" brand of football and get back to a top 10 spot it may well be seen as money well spent - come next May.

JGH added 12:21 - May 17
If we have a strong season next year will you be advocating rises in season ticket prices for the 2019-20 season?

SonicBoom added 12:33 - May 17
I don't think they care. I read somewhere they could let us all in for free and it wouldn't make much difference. What they make from the gate is dwarfed by everything else anyway.

Saintcole7 added 12:35 - May 17
Nick, I'm one of the disillusioned band, not only with Saints but the whole Premier league ethos, there's just no loyalty/connection between clubs/fans and players any more, gave up my 2 season tickets after 30 years last summer, no contact from the Club asking why. Was going to pick and choose games but didn't bother at all, watched the live games on the TV and was able to drown my sorrows quicker than facing a 70 mile car journey home. So I'm currently lost to live football as i'm not prepared to spend my hard earn't cash on multi millionaires just looking for there next big pay cheque to go to Liverpool!

LordDZLucan added 12:52 - May 17
Yes, I'm surprised that they haven't prioritized increasing the fanbase. I think it's time the club published a Vision of where we're going as a club. We can't let the gap between us and the Top 6 grow any more for otherwise it's going to be dull, dull, dull.

Sanguin added 13:05 - May 17
Supply and demand, people will still pay those prices. If they don’t like it then then can vote with their feet. Perhaps a season ticket at a different club?

Not many people have heard of them but there’s a small town club less than 20 miles from Southampton where season tickets are only £369 for an adult. The club is called ‘Portsmouth’ but has the nickname ‘Pompey’ which I think is adorable, it’s like what a two year old who can’t quite say the club’s full name would say. Any takers?

SaintBrock added 13:11 - May 17
That Sanguin is a good idea although I doubt many will relish Fart-on Park for a day out. Stamford Bridge or The Emirates is a different kettle of fish.

WestEndBoy added 13:14 - May 17
Unfortunately season ticket holders don't seem to be the desired fan base anymore. Day trippers and foreigners spending big money on the odd game Seem to be the priority.

1teeminants added 13:16 - May 17
They have really ballsed up here. They are either really stupid or they just don’t care enough about the fans. I know many regular season tkt holders that aren’t bothering to renew . They were considering not renewing anyway but this has sealed it. Shambles.

saintjf added 13:19 - May 17
I have just renewed my season ticket by clicking the box on the email they sent. As it was the same price as last year I just went ahead on the basis that it has to better value than last year.....optimistic or what.
I do feel a bit of a mug when I think about it but I don't believe it is an entirely rational decision and it is probably best not thought about too much.

davenbennett added 13:45 - May 17
I renewed my season ticket. Prices have been held for a number of years. I think that unless the price of a season ticket was drastically cut, it would not not make much difference to take up. If somebody is broke, then paying £600/700 is a lot of money, esp for a family. BUT so would £300/350. It will be interesting what happens when they decide to put prices up. That might see a fall, esp if we have had a bad season.

ItchenNorth added 14:08 - May 17
I think WestEndBoy has hit the nail on the head. Day tripper and tourist have crept into the stands at Southampton since our return to the Premier League: it’s a show or an event to these people. The demographic of the fans has changed massively since the inception of the Premier League and each huge TV deal. Mind you many football fans from England wouldn't bat an eye lid that when on holiday in Spain for example: that they'd buy a ticket to see Barcelona play ! Same difference, just on a smaller scale at Saints.

Back to the point however: I’m happy that prices have been frozen yet again but understand why many wanted a price drop. It was never going to happen though.

My business model would be based on increasing the stadium to say 42,500 (an extra 10K), Safe Standing once permitted (with the lowest ticket price in this session) and balance the cost of all season ticket and match day ticket prices so that everyone’s ticket is reduced: yet the stadium full. It’s simple maths: get more fans in but each paying less, a full stadium, a better atmosphere, yet club still makes same money on tickets as they would if they had 30k paying current prices. The club still gains through increased match day hospitality, match day catering and club shop revenue due in increased match day crowds. You only have to look at the German model to see this working. It's a no brainer for me.

Braveheart added 15:17 - May 17
My annoyance is with the dangerous practice of standing at away games. There would be more people interested in going to away games if this practice were stopped. I am 70 years old, I cannot stand for 90 mins. I can't sit down because ignorant supporters in front of me stand. So much for Saints in the community.

SaintBrock added 19:23 - May 17
With Bournemouth and Brighton in the PL, it seems very unlikely we have enough marginal fans from outlying districts to fill a 42000 seating stadium. When PL football was a rare visitor to the south coast maybe yes but it didn't happen because even then people were not convinced.

SaintBrock added 19:27 - May 17
Which in a nutshell Braveheart is why I also stopped going to away games many years ago. Being forced to stand in a crowd of non-stop obscenity chanters is not one's ideal way of spending a Saturday afternoon.

1970 added 19:57 - May 17
The owners and board have no interest in the fans concerns at all its only when the season tickets go on sale that a statement to the fans comes out and that is so b***ocks and laughable its not funny, add to that the odd mid season statements from the two 'ratners' that are running our club to international news sources and the like then they think we wont find out, the comments about taking pride in what sh***pool achieve is disgraceful but it doesn't stop there does it, I think the fans are saying that they don't believe saints want to keep there players in fact they encourage there sale which was another ratner moment from ralph in that smack in the face statement he came out with yesterday,
I said to this scouse t**t at my work that was ribbing me for being there little feeder club, and that was if the shoe was on the other foot and sh**epool bred players just for saints to take and then go on and challenge the top teams for all the trophies would they get 32k into anfield every week, no they wouldn't and ralph and all the other numpties in our club know that so they will sell who they want and price the tickets how they want simple.

Letiss7 added 08:32 - May 18
By the mere fact that season ticket prices have been frozen, in actual real terms this represents a reduction by the rate of inflation. As inflation is running at between 2-3% then prices have been reduced. Do not shoot the messenger but this is a fact.

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