Whilst the low turn outs against Watford and Reading were no surprise to anyone, the attendances for the visits of the two Manchester clubs must have come as a shock to the system. For the club that is, anyone who knows more than two Latics fans will know someone who has taken the “I’m not paying £35” line, and meant it.
And so it comes, that four games into the season and after representations from both L.I.S.A. and the Supporters’ Club it turns out that the the club have an Attendance Working Group and on their reccomendation have announced a review of the ticketing policy and as an interim measure, tickets for the next category A game, Liverpool on 2nd December, have been reduced in line with category B games. This means that the top price for tickets will be £30.
The move will be met with some cynicism, and there’s bound to be phrases like “token gesture” thrown around, but there really is no pleasing some people. Whether the motive is pleasing the fans or something more financial, a reduction in the ticket prices is a step in the right direction. On top of “kids for a quid” and “bring a mate for a fiver” football at the JJB is looking increasingly more affordable.
For a club supposedly in touch with its fans, and a chairman so proud of his working class roots, the question is do these initiatives go far enough? It would be nice to see the chairman take up fair pricing as his latest cause celebre. To make a statement and base a new ticketing policy based purely on getting 20,000 home fans through the gate every game.
As the Premier League novelty wears off the club will need to find new ways to continue the growth in its core fan base if it wants to become financially viable at this level. As we’ve seen already this season, that cannot be achieved on a mixture of big games and special offers. It would be a big risk, but our final thought for the day is that 25,000 fans paying £16 brings in as much of a gate as 16,000 paying £25.
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