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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