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Saints Ticket Price Policy Failure Sees Thousands Of Empty Seats !
Friday, 14th Sep 2018 09:23

Back in May this site called for the club to look at ticket pricing to re engage with it's supporters and make them feel more than just customers, they didn't and now look set to pay the price.

Ironic that Saints look set to pay the price given that thousands of Saints fans now look set not to do just that for the visit of Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday evening.

Back in May before season ticket prices were announced I urged the club to re engage with the supporters and cut season ticket prices, I didn't feel that they had understood the depth of bad feeling in the supporter base and that rightly or wrongly the fans felt short changed over the past two seasons and needed some feel good factor and that the club was listening.

The article published on 15th May can be read using the link below.

As we know the club did not reduce ticket prices but trumpeted the fact that prices would be "Frozen" for the fifth year running.

What they didn't comprehend was that the prices had been hiked up under the Chairmanship of Nicola Cortese and were still high, they didn't seem to realise that they needed to make a solid gesture to the fans that they understood their feelings.

Personally I felt that although the prices compared favourably to some Premier League clubs, such was the situation at St Mary's something had to be done otherwise a large proportion of fans would not renew season tickets.

The club have not given figures as to what percentage did not renew, however a look at the club's own on line ticketing system shows that it is surely far far higher than would be reasonably expected.

You can tell from the swathes of seats available when home match tickets go on sale that there where many who did not renew, speaking to supporters I know there is a frightening percentage that again did not renew.

Now for the visit of Brighton the evidence is there for all to see that the club'a failure to see what was going to happen and take action to if not prevent a situation occurring to stem the tide a bit

With only three days left to the visit of Brighton I would estimate that there are over 5,000 tickets still for sale in the home areas for Monday evening's game, that despite the club desperately trying to flog them off cheaply by asking season ticket holders to buy cheap tickets for their friends and groupon deals.

That in itself is a kick in the face to those who stayed loyal and bought season tickets, it is devaluing the benefit of having a season ticket and I know some who have already questioned whether they will renew next year, because if they are able to get the odd cheap ticket deal added to the odd game they have to miss, then they might as well not bother paying a not insubstantial sum out in advance.

Just about the only benefit it seems apart from a paltry fiver off an already overpriced replica shirt, is to those who follow the team away from home in the ticket pecking order stakes.

I.m sorry but the club is trying to shut the stable door after the horse had bolted, It was obvious to all that morale in the supporter base was at it's lowest since administration in 2009, yet no one failed to notice that and what the consequences would be, or at least if they did the powers that be who run the club refused to believe them and act decisively.

Unless there is a late late rush on tickets, this will possibly be the lowest official Premier League gate since we moved to St Mary's, the only thing that is stopping it is that there are 3,000 Brighton fans boosting the figures, if we were playing Burnley or Huddersfield there would be no question.

I don't know what the official low is for a Premier League game, the 26, 794 against Aston Villa would be a contender in only the 2nd competitive game at the new stadium back in 2001, a game also ironically a Monday night Sky TV game, I can't think of any other game with a lower crowd than that.

The gate on Monday night will be somewhere near that figure at present, but I would suggest that given the difference between the numbers of away supporters for the two games, that this game will see the lowest number of Saints fans in the stadium for a Premier League fixtures.

This should be ringing alarm bells in the boardroom at St Mary's, but those alarm bells should have been ringing loudly back in May and not silenced by the brief spell of Euphoria after achieving what had looked a very unlikely Premier League reprieve for this season.

Hopefully this will be a wake up call, overall Southampton FC is very well run as a business, there are some good people in senior positions, however perhaps they are not truly football people and lack an empathy with the fans about what their issues and concerns are.

Sometimes you have to have once stood in the freezing cold in a stadium watching a game you have just spent half a weeks wages to not only get in but get there etc, to know what football supporters think, sadly and Saints are not alone in this, too many football club boards understand business but not the minds of those they are reliant on to bring in the income.

I have been critical of Saints fans at times for not renewing season tickets and staying away after only one bad season out of the last five, I have felt that not all the excuses used have been valid, but having said that I also have to be critical of the club for not recognising and acknowledging those supporters issues and addressing them.

The season ticket announcements back in May felt like the club were paying lip service, but overall were taking the chance that if we started the season well the fans would come back to the fold, in the past that may well have been the case, but the Premier League has changed and never have so many fans of all clubs felt so disengaged from their club's, times have changed, but in this case Southampton FC like virtually all of the rest of the Premier league has not changed with them, they could and should have been pro active, but there only hope is now to be reactive, so far that has not been successful as the club's own on line ticket service shows for all to see !

Photo: Action Images

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darthvader added 09:45 - Sep 14
Twenty is plenty. It's obscene the amount the true ordinary fan is expected to pay, the thing is we will be get stick for the empty seats.

I remember when the price went up from a fiver to 8 quid, I even thought then how am in going to afford that ongoing ?? .

20 for a league game behind the goal and corners is affordable and up to 30 for the centres , there wouldn't be a spare seat,and more beer, hotdogs and magazines sold would boost the coffers .

saintjf added 09:59 - Sep 14
Good article. I have taken a loan out to pay for two season tickets. It is a lot of money to find. Taking two people to one game is not cheap either. The atmosphere at the ground is now a lot better than most of last season and it may well be that those who decided they had had enough might return. However most of us do not have a large amount of disposable income so it is a big decision to fork out for a season ticket and if you do have a tight budget you will probably pick your games carefully.

warrens76 added 10:29 - Sep 14
I know more Saints fans who do not go anymore than do...Nick states the club have good people in senior positions, well if my Chairman called our business small, kept lying to the customers, talked double dutch and showed such disrespect to long standing clients he would be out the door.

Let me tell you Nick the summer of 2104 told me EVERYTHING i needed to know about how far out of their depth the senior management were and also what the real game was..

This ticketing cockk up is only to be expected, this lot could not even organise an open training session without leaving many youngsters in tears......

We lurch from one self made crisis to another...indeed like a house of cards one disaster follows another, would the VVD fiasco have happened if we did not have the selling club label, would the loss of thousands of fans who simply see SFC for what it is.

For 5 glorious years I tasted something that has been missing since the 80's, potential, we had something unheard of ambition it was tangible, it was in the air, now it's a massive hangover knowing the party ain't ever coming back....pricing is an issue but it is a secondary symptom to the misery so many long term fans feel at the clubs ownership and methodology....dream stealing never goes down well.

SanMarco added 10:32 - Sep 14
And also there was that stuff about PL clubs not even needing the income from gates. Why then not have a policy that ensures a full ground and is fair to season-ticket holders? As Nick says it seems one of the only advantages in having a season-ticket is the away ticket pecking-order.

SanMarco added 10:34 - Sep 14
Don't think any of us will be around for the summer of 2104 warren - is that when Cortese is coming back?

helpineedsomebody added 12:13 - Sep 14
1 does the club still give 600 free season tickets to its employees

2 twenty pounds per person then every one can become season ticket holders

3 kids under 21 £3 + they must buy a programe

4 50+ £10+ must puchase a programe

5 nick & co who produce the UIS & all the fans after each game who make time to comment on the match FREE YES FREE.

6 match day stewards £5 per person per home game all money to be sent to GOSH away stewards FREE.

7 any fan who has been a season ticket holder for 30years FREE


saintmark1976 added 15:04 - Sep 14
"Overall Southampton F C is very well run as a business".Strange comment Nick given that by your own admission they can't even get a simple thing such as ticket pricing correct. Maybe it's a deliberate policy on their part in order that the stadium is never full for every game thus justifying not needing to increase ground capacity?

BoondockSaint added 15:06 - Sep 14
Cortese will be driving a DeLorean.

dwayne_dibley added 18:41 - Sep 14
Saints FC is a commercial organisation providing 19 + entertainment events to CUSTOMERS. If you do do not want to participate then spend money elsewhere. Do you have a problem with John Lewis putting up prices?

StRipper added 20:29 - Sep 14
I think thar is exactly it SaintMark1976
The clubs policy has been to supress attendances through pricing as they have no intention of spending money on the club that doesn't deliver immediate profits..The whole bull shit from Ralph about not filling the ground has been spouted since he joined but they have done nothing to change that. As much as the football is at last heading in the right direction, the club seriously have to do something about their eternal machinations of how else to fleece their own fans

warrens76 added 14:18 - Sep 15
StRipper, what would our attendances have been if the project was continued....I hazard to guess up to 45k for top 6 games, 40k for middle t'others and 36k for small fry..average +40k..commercial income and sponsorship doubled, merchandising trebled.corporate twice as good, twice the size and 25% of it twice the price..result 70-100 million a year more that's a lot of wages!

StRipper added 22:39 - Sep 17
Agree with that Warren but would require significant investment at the outset, that seems our owner isn't currently willing to make

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