Poor Season Ticket Sales So Far?
With the first deadline for renewals having passed on 9 March 2007, it will be interesting to hear how many fans have taken up the early renewal option.
At this stage last year, the club website (link here) announced that some 20,000 tickets had been renewed. This year, early indications and unconfirmed reports suggest that we are down to possibly anything between 10 and 14,000. This season we are supposed to have 27,000 season ticket holders. So, based on that pattern we may only end up with just over 20,000 season ticket holders in all. The pattern of the last few seasons shows that we have attracted crowds of up to 12,000 more than the number of season tickets. So we would be down to average crowds of around 32,000 on that basis.
With several Premier League clubs (including northwest neighbours Blackburn, Bolton, Everton and Wigan) slashing their season ticket prices for 2007-08, City opted to freeze prices whilst keeping the discounted renewal date as early March, a time when most fans are still counting the cost of the festive season, although did drastically reduce U16 season tickets to £95. It will be interesting to hear how many have taken up this option and whether all these previously had season tickets anyway.
Reductions from other clubs vary, with the most expensive seat at Blackburn now £399 down from £595 (average cut 25%); Bolton reducing by an average 10% making their most expensive seat £449 for early renewal; and Everton an average 10% cut. The majority of other Premier League clubs have their early renewal date as end April, a full 7 weeks after City!
It does beg the question whether MCFC have missed a trick by not cutting prices across the board, which research from fans' groups would suggest. After all, with the new TV money coming into play from next season surely the top flight clubs can afford to see a reduction in ticket prices, with the benefit of a larger crowd, better atmosphere, and fans feeling they are being rewarded for their loyal support.