Sheffield Wednesday - Owls Ticket Price Increase A Sham
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Owls Ticket Price Increase A Sham

Vital SWFC forum member Compost Bin explains exactly what's wrong with the thinking on the new ticket pricing.

Wednesday have announced that ticket prices will go up 2 per game across the ground next season: according to SWFC Chairman Dave Allen, the new prices have been benchmarked against other Clubs and 'provide good value for money'.

Lets clear things up. For a start, comparing one business' prices and another is fine when talking about a pint of milk. Unless you have brand loyalty to your particular cows, the chances are you'll go where is cheapest or most convenient. Tesco and Sainsburys are competing against each other for the same custom to sell that pint of milk so prices are usually close to each other. Sheffield Wednesday are NOT competing against Leicester or Southampton for the same custom! By the same token, I doubt very much that having a value for money ticket at Hillsborough will entice Southampton fans to suddenly make them dash up from the south coast every other Saturday. Football doesn't work that way.

Wednesday fans can't shop around for the best deal or value, there's only one place to go and that's Hillsborough! If prices get too high for an Owls fan, there are no alternatives, Netto don't do football clubs. If you're out, you're out! End of story.

Further to this, aligning Wednesday with other clubs is wrong due to geographies and demographics. Without wanting to put the fair city of Sheffield down, it IS poorer than most places in the country, income for an Owls fan is less than that of a QPR fan by default, in fact much lower than most in the south. Even Leeds has an economy much stronger than Sheffield's. So 25 in Sheffield actually is worth a lot more than 25 in the south: at least it feels it! It might be 5% of a Southerner's wages, but 10% of a Sheffielder's wages.

Thirdly, there's no diversity around the ground as an incentive to attract the poorest of fans. The unemployed, those finding their feet in the world in their first jobs with low incomes and high outgoings etc, single parents and simply those who don't earn a great deal. For the cheap ticket to be just 20% lower than the top ticket means that the entire ground is out of the reach of some. Using a different analogy, would people be able to afford holidays each year if the price of a economy flight was just 20% less than first class, and the 2 star hotel was just 20% of a 5 star hotel? No, because by using such tactics you simply force people away who struggle to afford the cheapest deal, unfortunately people have limited money and must budget accordingly. When taking into account external factors such as council tax, inflation busting utility bills and general cost of living, disposable income is at its lowest for decades.

Now, 'cheap' is supposed to be 21! I'm sorry but that is not cheap at all to someone on minimum wage who's just seen the scrapping of the 10% tax rate. It's not cheap to the single mum or the bloke who dishes out the burgers in McDonalds. It's not even cheap to a middle-income person, it's a financial commitment that has to be justified and often it's hard to justify spending that sort of money for 90 minutes entertainment.

The only rivalry Wednesday have in the ticket market is for floating fans, students, neutrals etc, and that's with United. Who's had a great student ticket policy in place for years? Not us. Which city in has the highest student retention ratio in the UK? Sheffield! Put 2 & 2 together and see that they're creating fans out of thin air. How else did they manage to nearly double their gates in a matter of years while wallowing in the same division? Answer: By selling seats that would otherwise be empty anyway and increasing the chances they'll never be empty again in the future.

There'll be 15000 empty seats there on Monday. Instead of getting remaining fans to subsidise empty seats, why not take a different approach and get those seats filled and pay for themselves? Make the Kop a real place for low-income people to attend a game by taking prices down to 1990s levels. Entice the massive student population that a good day or night could be had at Hillsborough for the price of a couple of beers, not the cost of an entire night out.

The Club is so predictable and disappointing with its policies. There's no thought, no innovative ideas, no reaching out to Owls or potential Owls: just tried and tested above-inflation rises to empty Hillsborough of poorer people and bridging the difference by making those who remain pay that little bit more.

I hate what Wednesday are becoming! I hate the fact that the club I grew up with and that I was born into was a club of common working people, decent honest people that are now being forced away because their wallets don't fit in with the club.

There used to be a time when Wednesday and Owls were one and the same and breathed in the same breath: now only one is working for the good of the other and only so many Owls can fit down a one way street.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Auckland Owl Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday April 7 2007

Time: 10:17AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Good read mate, it's about time the club actually looked after its fans
Report Abuse
07/04/2007 12:17:00

I agree in general, but there is a problem that even if seats were free. we would not fill ground at moment, so the only other option is to make money from the 20,000 that turn up every week, and if we are going to have a promotion push next year, then we have to get money from somewhere. Where are the 41,000 that speant all that money going to Cardiff 2 years ago ?
Report Abuse
08/04/2007 09:41:00

Maybe not turning up because they can't afford to do that every week, hence CB's points made above. You shoot yourself in the foot by saying we can't fill it yet you acknowledge there are 41000 who went to Cardiff.. at the right ticket price we could pull a lot more than we do now.
Auckland Owl
Report Abuse
08/04/2007 11:00:00

I agree Aukland Owl to an extent, but it depends what people want. Cheap Football with a poor team because we cannot afford good players, or paying a bit more to get a team fit for the Premiership. Unfortunately the Socialists of Sheffield would rather pay less, so the end result will be mid table obscurity. Look at our team, how many are good enough for Premiership ? Maybe Brunt and Simek at a push, but we need a lot of investment to get a Promotion team, and where does the money come from ?
Report Abuse
08/04/2007 15:57:00

The cheapest Tickets for cardiff were almost 30 Aukland Owl, so why did 41,000 buy them, and yet would not come to Hillsborough for a cheap match ? We never fill the ground with Kids for a quid, and we have cup games where ticket prices are just 10 for adults, and 5 for kids for any seat in the house, and nobody ever comes.
Report Abuse
08/04/2007 15:59:00

Gate money alone won't get you a new team, as you know. Ticket pricing schemes need thought, not just 'bang another couple of quid on, everyone else has'.
Auckland Owl
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08/04/2007 21:12:00

What nobody has mentioned yet is the "other" money spent by fans: Merchandise, food and drink to name a few. How much does the average fan spend on match day at Hillsborough? It's a fine line I admit, but by reducing ticket prices to generate larger gates, you actually increase turnover and therefore profit. This short-sightedness is probably one of the reasons the Chinese consortium are now looking at buying Reading!
Report Abuse
08/04/2007 22:55:00

Can Smurf and Aukland Owl explain why when we drop ticket prices for cup games to 10 adults and 5 kids anywhere in the ground, we do not have a capacity crowd ? The facts prove that we have a hard core support of just over 20,000 so the only way to make money is raise prices for those who turn out week in week out. I don't agree with this, but lowering prices will not increase gates.
Report Abuse
09/04/2007 18:35:00

Because Cup games, often midweek, often with no chance of progression to the next round, are not as much of a draw. Imagine how many there wold be there if the price for a cup match was top dollar. Long term thinking is what's required. Smurf's point is a good one re: merch and food and drink.
Auckland Owl
Report Abuse
09/04/2007 21:57:00

I agree entirely, I am just a realist. Long term thinking won't get us promoted next year. Ultimately what gets people through the door is winning, and success. Look at the blades getting over 30,000 now because they were promoted. If we get crowds back up to 30,000 with success maybe we can freeze prices ? But how do we ger money and success now ? Food and drink are not a priority anyway. If people want to pay money for the groul they sell at Hillsborough then they do have more money than sense. I have kids who want to start coming to games, it will not be cheap, and I would much rather pay less, but on the other hand i want to be promoted next year.
Report Abuse
10/04/2007 01:52:00

As we've been saying on the forum (you should come on there mate), if you've got a shop and you want to get rid of stock that's not selling, you don't put the price up.
Auckland Owl
Report Abuse
10/04/2007 21:28:00

I agree, but that is only if the stock will sell when reduced. What I am trying to say is that if they dropped the season tickets to 200 anywhere in the ground, only the same 22,000 would turn up every week, and if the same 22,000 turn up every week, and we reduce prices, then income will drop. What I am saying is if we have a promotion chasing season next year, we will expand our fanbase, and then we can reduse prices to attract them as full time season ticket holders next year, but to do that we have to generate money now, and how do we do that immediately ?
Report Abuse
11/04/2007 01:36:00


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