Monday, 9 July 2007

How much?!

Argyle have announced today that for the fourth consecutive year they are freezing the matchday ticket prices:

All areas except Mayflower Unreserved Seating:
adults: £22.00
over 65s: £15.00
under 23s: £15.00
under 16s: £6.00
a £2 surcharge is levied on all prices except under 16s if tickets are purchase on matchday

Mayflower Unreserved Seating:
adult: £18.00
over 65s: £14.00
under 23s: £14.00
under 16s: £6.00
there is no matchday surcharge on these prices

The timetable of release dates can be found here

Season ticket details can be found here

Match TicketsThere have been rumblings for sometimes that ticket prices are too expensive and are a reason for dwindling numbers. One of the debates on BBC Radio Devon's Lunchtime Phone In was regarding a caller who no longer goes to Argyle because "the ticket prices don't match the excessive hype that surrounds Argyle, they are just too expensive for such a club"

The caller was thinly disguised his disappointment at Argyle's lack of success behind his argument regarding ticket prices and in response I emailed back:

The main facts about the former supporter who left Argyle because of the ticket prices and ‘hype’ are that he is a "former supporter" and talks of "hype".
Is he only blaming prices because he is what some may term a ‘glory hunter’?

As a previous texter said, prices have been unchanged for three years – since we came into the Championship and prices are on a par (if not in some cases lower) than other Championship clubs. Argyle managed two promotions almost back to back, which had whipped up a form of hysteria amongst people as everyone wanted to be associated with the success. Now Argyle have settled into the league and they have not been constantly challenging for the Premiership – these people have slipped away. It is unrealistic for Argyle to constantly be winning all the time – that is the nature of sports.
Argyle have gone through many changes since reaching the Championship in managers and squad, each of which has brought swathes of optimism (or ‘hype’), not least with the appointment of Ian Holloway, and when they fail to deliver, we’re back to “same old Argyle”. I challenge people that they should support their team no matter what.
Blaming ticket prices is just a cop out.

But there really are two problems here: people who crave success and people who want value for money and the two-success and ticket prices-are reconcilable.

As another caller stated, that if she wanted to take her grandchildren it would cost her £55.00 a time (although where this calculation came from I'm not sure as - assuming - £15.00 senior + £6.00x4 = £39.00 bought in advance), that it seems expensive and costs do add up. But compare with a trip to the National Marine Aquarium (which recommends 1-2 hours to see everything), the same group's entrance is £31.00 but will be seen as more 'value for money' and the NMA's charitable status helps. This is where my post about the trouble with football (Small Club in Cornwall) being all about money comes in - people resent being, as they see it, "ripped off".

However if the club is to succeed (or even just stay alive) then there needs to be sources of income, and the main source outside of sponsorship, and the buying and selling of players is through tickets. Would a drop in ticket prices to attract back large gates really work if Argyle weren't in the play off positions all season? Certainly increased ticket prices with smaller crowds would never work, which is why I suspect prices have been frozen. There used to a time when there were captive audiences and companies could charge as much as they wanted because people would never have an alternative, but those days are most certainly gone for a lot of industries.

In some ways this season could be a "make or break" for Argyle - another mid-table finish may be or even a relegation may spell the end for some, where as a promotion/play off scenario would certainly blow us away. Come what may.

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