Saturday, January 06, 2007

Open Up Your Pockets It's That Time Of Year

In the next few weeks next season’s season ticket renewal forms should be dropping through the post and wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if prices were reduced? Absurd I hear you say but why shouldn’t they?!

Next season every club in the Premiership will receive the biggest ever payment from a television deal struck with Sky but who actually reaps this benefit? Why are Sky paying the huge amount of money they do to acquire the rights to show Premiership football? Well the reason that Sky pay these huge amounts is simple – the Premiership brand is the biggest in the world. They do a brilliant job covering it and in the process they reap their rewards through advertising revenue and knock on sponsorship.

That leads us onto the next question, why is the Premiership such a sought after brand? Well, obviously the standard of football and footballers that play in the league is the main reason and with the likes of Henry, Rooney, Terry, Ballack, Drogba, Gerrard and Barton (!!) then we have some of the best footballers in the world gracing our league. However, don’t Spain and Italy also have players of this standard! For me the main reason that makes the Premiership stand out above all other leagues is the atmosphere created at the majority of the grounds and this is down to us the supporters, we play an integral part in making the Premiership what it is.

But when these huge TV and Sponsorship deals get signed do we the supporters see tangible benefits? Yes, we get to see some of the best players in the world because most of our teams can afford to compete for there signatures but as the players are reaping their rewards through higher pay packets no benefit in terms of lower admission prices are passed onto the fans, in fact in a lot of cases prices still seem to go up way above inflation.

If we use the Bundersliga as an example, their TV deal pales into insignificance when compared to the Premiership yet tickets prices in Germany are almost a third of the amount we currently pay in the Premiership, even at the top teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. As a result most stadiums are sold out every week - something of a rarity in todays Premiership!

On the down side, German clubs can’t often compete for the signatures of players like Ronaldiniho and Henry but it hasn't done their club or national teams prospects any harm as they’ve won the Champions League twice and made the World Cup final once in the time since the Premiership has been in operation.

Now getting back to our beloved club; although they can be commended, as the majority of us have not seen a rise in prices for a number of years, the downside is that last year you had to cough up by the end of February and unless you paid in cash there was a mysterious £10 booking fee – even travel agents don’t charge you that much for using your credit card!

If (or should I say when) we retain our Premiership status our Club's income next season will be significantly larger than it was this season due to the new TV deal. As supporters we all want our club to procure the better players and to retain our better players, to do this the extra TV money will be required but wouldn’t it be nice if some of the extra money coming into our Club was passed on in the form of reduced ticket prices?

We, the supporters, are the lifeblood of our Club. Our tremendous and continuing support is one of the reasons why the club exists. On a wider scale we also play our part in ensuring that the Premiership is a world leading brand and commands the sort of TV revenue it does.

We have played our part, wouldn't it be great if some of the additional TV revenue received was passed on to us? Lower season ticket prices would have a very positive effect on our Club's image with the supporters and would acknowledge publicly that our continued support is appreciated. It may also encourage some of the former season ticket holders back and tempt "first timers" to apply.

Keep the Faith

Colin Howell


At 5:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great shout , over to you Mr Mackintosh


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