The new matchday ticket prices, are they a price worth paying?

Following the news yesterday of a substantial increase in the walk-up matchday ticket prices, new writer Adam Johnson asks if these are a price worth paying?

It’s the news that no football fan wants to hear, an increase in ticket prices at their club.

When you look at the new prices, which are £19 in the Town End and £25 in the side stands for an adult, it initially brings a sour taste to your mouth. Swindon Town, League Two, should we as fans have to pay more after a season that never should have happened?

When the club announced a freeze in season ticket prices for this season back in March I was a little surprised. The club needs to bring fans back to the County Ground, and as those who go most weeks know, there is a significant number of fans swayed to attend to watch a winning side.. However, will the opportunity to greatly increase the matchday gate be gone now that Town have decided to increase prices in line with the budget it has for the coming season?

However, such a decision was necessary in order to help maintain the club’s revenue stream, an important consideration now that revenue is linked to wage capping. Jeremy Wray 11th July 2011

I’m no Apprentice to soon inherit money from Alan Sugar, but you can see the clubs purpose. It makes business sense as with the increased prices, the club are banking on knowing there will be less fans but are trying to squeeze out a similar match day income. They simply can’t afford to lose money on a match day as it is a big source of revenue. Although, will the cost be worth it if we see a championship parade through the streets of Swindon in May?

The other side of the coin however, is if Jeremy Wray wants fans in at the County Ground along with high prices in place, he can’t have both. Wray has said how it comes down mostly to an increase in the wage budget. We all know Di Canio won’t be on a mars bar a week for a wage but if the club can’t afford him, is it a price worth paying?

With Swindon reputed to be one of the more financially stable clubs, it makes it harder to understand. We are paying for the deficit suffered through relegation but then through that should come a smaller budget. The club seems to have maybe increased the budget, at least the staff, and announced plans for a price increase after the Di Canio arrival drama is over.

The inevitable consequence is you have to make up the difference somewhere else and we’ve looked at our walk-up prices and decided our base price needs to go up. That’s a base price and this club has always been recognised for coming up with various initiatives to reflect the attractions from a big game on a Saturday to a cold Tuesday night and those  initiative will continue. Jeremy Wray – Swindon Advertiser 11th July 2011

It could be that many fans are happy paying more for the big name and hopefully better results on the pitch but it is all ifs and buts. If Di Canio fails then fans will disappear, if we succeed then will the majority of fans forget about the prices and just turn up to games?

I’m not a season ticket holder but have supported the club for around 15 years and about to enter the world of adult prices after
benefiting from the reduced student rates. With that comes a higher price which is what I expect but £12 in the Town End last season to £19 is a big jump in cost. If I only watched half of the games that’s an extra £77! Some people just won’t be able to afford that added cost.

To me though, if the ticket price increase means more success on the pitch then the added costs will be brushed under the carpet. However, if Di Canio and co fail this season, the board will have lots of questions to answer with a bigger budget spent and fans out of pocket.

You can follow Adam on Twitter @adamjohno

5 comments

  • The price difference between what I paid form my season ticket back in April – £265 inc booking fee – to the price at £25 per game if I paid on the day – £575 – is unjustified. That’s a difference of £310 for the same seat in the Arkells Stand!

    The club doesn’t need to convince season ticket regulars to renew as much as they should actively promote increasing walk-up trade on the day itself. These floating supporters would choose to watch the match if:

    a) the opposition was attractive,
    b) the team was doing well in the league, and most importantly
    c) they had nothing else to do

    With many other competing leisure activities to take up a Saturday afternoon, such as cinema, bowling, particpiation sports etc don’t come anywhere near the £25 price for 1 person (yes just 1 person) for taking up 2 hours of your time.

    I know the club have already recognised they will continue to offer deals, however what everyone will remember is this high ticket price, so they will always think twice about watching Town and the Club will ultimately have to fight hard through marketing to increase attendances later in the season.

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  • I don’t think there are many people who want to pay more than they did last time for anything in life.
    But everything has become more expensive year over year – transport (trains in particular!), gas, electricity, water just to name a few basic services.

    The club has shows restraint in the last few years by not increasing ticket prices as such as other teams have. Now they do bring them more in line, also to ensure the FL rules can be adhered to.

    The article is a rather insular view on the increase from one year to the next, which is understandable if the % is a large one. The article could have done with a comparison of ticket (season tickets & single ticket) prices over a longer period as well also compared with other teams in the FL and non-league.

    As I mentioned elsewhere, the £19.00 buys you an open return train ticket to Didcot Parkway or the opportunity to see Swindon Town. Even to watch Forest Green Rovers you have to pay £15.00.

    I did a quick scan on a few websites – some which had their new prices published:

    Swindon Town: £19 / £25
    Dagenham & Redbridge: £17 / £22
    Exeter: £17 / £24
    Crawley: £16 / £19
    Wimbledon: £15 / £19
    Cheltenham: £15 / £20 (premium matches e.g. STFC +£1)
    Bradford City: £20 all stands (2010/2011 season prices)
    Accrington Stanley £13 / £15 (2009/2010 season prices)

    Although the Town prices may be a couple of quit more, I think it’s very reasonable compared to the other clubs both in terms of facilities and potential.

    The alternative is to watch and support a local non-league team which is always good fun and probably a bit cheaper…….

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  • Thanks for your feedback.

    In the end the success of the English Football League comes at a high price and that is placed upon the fans to finance through increased ticket prices. I wish I had statistics of our ticket prices over the years to run a comparison.

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  • I think the problem with the prices aren’t the one off prices but the fact you may have to pay that over a period of time every other week.

    £20 to £25 is a big difference over the course of a season even though a fiver doesn’t seem much.

    As Ron said, success comes at a price and if we achieve it then it is fine. It’s the gamble that we struggle this season and people just don’t bother coming. Sadly none of us know the answer to this.

    i’ll be there if we win most weeks paying £19 but if we are losing and struggling, even a fan like myself who can’t really afford it would struggle to justify it.

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  • The bottom line of this debate is just that, the bottom line in terms of income. There is clearly a break even point between Ticket Price v’s Revenue from Walk up Fans. I genuinely believe that the new prices will now push us over that BEP and increased prices will now result in reduce attendances. I was convinced that, prior to ticket price rises, if we had a sucessfull start to the season attendances wil rise above those seen last seaons (which were amazing imo).

    But all of this is a side issue, the real issue is not just the ticket price alone but what are the club doing to generate more support and therefore more revenue. For example there are no early bird ticket incentives (first 1,000 tickets per game offered at ST prices for example), a short term ST which entitles the supporter to have free choice of 10 games to attend, how about a free shuttle bus / coaches from surrounding areas, improved regional supporters clubs to help pull fans in from afar, buy three get one free offers, kid a quid etc etc etc. There are hundreds of ideas to increase revenue which only ever make an appearance on rare occasions.

    Personally I would open the doors FOC for the Crewe game and make sure it was a huge, professionally organised event including free pre-match entertainment (constituting more than just an Addidas van in the car park). This could include big fanfare, fireworks , Jamie Cullum to sing a couple of songs and end with a rendition of ‘Wise Men’, pack out the CG, bag that first win of the season thus ending the worst run for over 100 years. Perhaps this is a little bit romantic but why the hell not????? What do we get instead…..NOTHING!!!

    Rant over…….

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