With the removal of the Priority Ticket Scheme we saw another move in favour of both the day tripping fan and the corporate customer.
In the short-run this seems like a sound financial plan. The real value of the ticket isn’t what’s printed on the piece of paper, the real value of the ticket is based around the customer. For example, someone in the Priority Ticket Scheme is not likely to spend anything in the club shop, they are also not likely to spend much on food and drink and if they do feel a bit thirsty or hungry they are more than likely to get something outside the ground as it’s a cheaper alternative. This means the real value of their ticket to the club is near enough the same as the price printed on it, maybe a few Pound more if the said person feels like splashing out on a drink.
So, a regular attendees (such as someone on the PTS) ticket value to the club comes to around £40.
Now, let’s consider the value of a ticket sold in the membership exclusive ticket sale, which is now where the allocation originally given to the PTS members has gone (around 4,000 tickets). So a member isn’t a regular in most cases as they have restricted access to tickets due to not having a season ticket. This means going to Anfield is a big occasion for them as it is very rarely they go. This of course means they are more than likely to want a memento of their trip, something from the club shop perhaps. On top of this they don’t know Liverpool as a City, or at least most won’t. This means they won’t know where’s good and where’s bad to eat so they are more than likely to get something in the ground after their trip to the City. This puts the value of a members ticket much higher than that of a regulars ticket.
A member exclusive ticket, all things being equal, is worth around £100-£150 to the club when taking into account potential merchandise sales and food and drinks purchases.
Now this is all well and good in the short-run but this system of not rewarding loyalty and leaving your regular fans out in the cold doesn’t work in the long-run- ask Manchester United.
If I went on the Internet now I could find a Manchester United season ticket for a reasonable price, somewhere in the region of £600 through their official club site. That’s £100 less than ours and with no never-ending waiting list. Even with a larger stadium one of the best supported teams in the world should be able to sell all of their season tickets with excess demand on top. Why can’t they you ask? Simple, the regulars have had enough of being pushed around and treated like dirt.
Manchester United did what we are doing now a few years ago. Trying to bring in the premium customers to increase revenue per ticket, even if this was at the regular match attendees expense. Obviously the fans who used to try and get tickets for every game got to the point where they had simply had enough, they gave up on the sky high ticket prices and corprate boxes and set up a little club known as FC United of Manchester. This is very similar to what AFC Liverpool is today. A club for former regulars who feel priced out and left out, a club which is owned by the fans and has the best interest of the fans at heart.
FC United of Manchester turned out to be a huge success, with thousands following a club which was in one of the lowest leagues in English football. This took thousands of regulars away from Manchester United, whether they were season ticket holders or just those who tried to get tickets game-by-game thousands decided to watch FCUM instead. That’s why demand is so low for United season tickets, people have simply been pushed to the limits by the suit’s that run football today and they left.
AFC Liverpool is building up a name for itself among Anfield’s faithful and more and more are seeing it as a cheaper and more enjoyable alternative to going to see Liverpool FC. Many decide to follow AFC because of the owners over at Liverpool, the profit hungry Americans. Most however are just sick of being treat like the lowest of the low by a club they supported even when the stadium wasn’t packed out during the mid-90’s, when the glory-hunters were nowhere to be seen. They feel betrayed, betrayed by their own club and more and more people are choosing AFC day by day, some are just giving up football on the whole.
So, in the short-run mistreating your hardcore by stopping things like the PTS in favour of the premium daytripper market may be more profitable. But in the long-run the club may see a huge fall in demand for season tickets, which give the club vital capital during the busy summer spending period.
Take not Ian Ayre’s