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How much to get in? Dunno, how much have you got…? 13/09/2006

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
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The latest episode in the club’s rather fluid pricing policy this season sees Aston Villa tickets priced at £25 and Fulham, on a Monday night, down to £20.  A welcome departure from the £35 demanded for Man United and West Ham, it will be of interest to assess whether these exorbitant prices are revisited for the next high-profile fixture (probably Spurs) given the empty spaces in evidence against the Hammers in particular.

£30 seems to be about par for the course for the Premiership (not, not) on evidence so far, but a distinction needs to be drawn between what is “normal” (by this definition) and what is sustainable.  The club’s pricing policy ought to prioritise filling the stadium and, in so doing, encourage support that might last longer than however long we last in the top flight.  Charging £30 for a ticket might be “about average”, but it implies that you’re selling the Premiership (not, not) rather than selling Watford… if we’re serious about growing the club’s fanbase, then working out how much we can get away with fleecing people for doesn’t seem a very sensible way of going about it.

This isn’t intended as a pop at the club, whose decisions regarding ticketing have generally been sensible.  But there’s a line for all of us (and £45 or whatever for Stamford Bridge in November, incidentally, is way past mine), and the longer term health of clubs is at stake here.  Leeds charged a minimum of £26 for adults to see their game with Wolves on Sunday in Division Two, and attracted 16,000.  Alan Green, increasingly a favourite of BHaPPY, lamented empty spaces in the stands during whichever match he was commentating on at the weekend as if they reflected an embarrassingly poor effort by the locals, rather than the fact that for folk who actually have to pay for their tickets, football has long since taken itself beyond the point where some kind of value judgment becomes necessary.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that this week the club has announced both that the stadium will become non-smoking from next season, and that they have purchased the freehold to the Red Lion pub.  Only by having expenditure on other luxuries forcibly curtailed are many likely to be able to afford Premiership (not, not) football.

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Comments»

1. hornetboy84 - 15/09/2006

Watford have made some serious accounting errors and totally undermined an opportunity to increase the fanbase.

1. They stopped selling family STs the second we reached Div 1.
2. They capped STs at 13,500.
3. They seem pleased to have 700 on the waiting list
4. They dont seem to realise that this 700 could be as many as 2000 – I have firends who were too late to get an ST but cant be arsed to put their names down. Just their lives get in the way of being organised.

Presumable they wanted to milk these people for matchday revenue – £35 vs Man U is better than an average £18 for STs

But if these fans choose between West ‘Am and Man Poo – then its only £17.50 per seat !!

God help us for balckburn and Wigan (whats 50% of Zero again) and a legacy of crowds of only 14,000!!

Wise up Watford – put more STs up for sale. Get the kids in. Brainwash them for the future and fill the bloody ground.

Ps. If you have to have a buying profile on the database but havent yet been to a game – how do you start to become a fan and go to your first game – cos you cant until you’ve bought a ticket – but you cant until……… i give up!!!!

2. jonesey669 - 25/09/2006

This is a transcript of a visit to the ticket office on Friday 21st July and I think goes some way to explain just what Watford FC get up to (milk the supporters for every quick buck).

I ask the ticket office staff about the W Ham game :

“Sorry we have no details as to pricing or when the tickets will be available.”

AJ : Oh I’ve seen W Ham are selling their allocation of 2300 for £35 each, may I ask where the £35 price came from?

WFC : We don’t know, we have given them no details as to when, where or how much the tickets will be.

AJ : Oh it would appear strange that W Ham have such detail and clarity then. Are you sure you have absolutely no idea as to that game as it is less than a month away, and strictly speaking you should have announced the details by now.

WFC various ticket office staff : No, I’m afraid we have been given no information whatsoever.

AJ : Should I assume that tickets will be in the region of £35 then.

The ticket office manager : No

I then opined with a couple of mates that it seems WFC stopped selling season tickets in order to have 3500 (plus 2300 away tickets available on a match by match basis at potentially silly money).

It just goes to show that not only is fleecing high in their list of priorities, but trying to cover up is also up there. Its never dull in football!


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