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 !
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