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Crowds and Revenue
Written by Thijssenstricks on Friday, 15th Mar 2013 18:21

What has happened to crowds? Whilst watching Blackburn v Millwall the other night I was wondering where is everybody !

I myself can't get to many games due all sorts of reasons but the main one is that I just can't justify spending £25-£30 on a ticket to watch what I feel is poor standard football. I don't just mean Ipswich but the teams that I have seen come to Portman Road haven't been very good.

I know some people go to football for the social aspect, meeting friends, having a pint and the possibility of seeing a rare good game. I just don't have the money to do that.

I would just like to make the point of club owners having a look at their stadiums being half empty and thinking right I'm going to slash prices for season tickets and make it cheaper for match day tickets.

This would definitely get more bums on seats and would in turn create a better atmosphere and hopefully a better game for both set of supporters.

I'm sure with more people at the ground with cheaper tickets, clubs would benefit from money being spent in club shops, programme sales and food outlets.

There still can be corporate events which can attract money from local companies and organisations. There is money still to be made from football, but perhaps when less can perhaps mean more.

It has got a bit better with the odd promotional game, like the one coming up against Hull and I do appreciate the idea but what I'm asking for is to do it from the start of the season. One radical chairman/owner to say right I'm going to make it more affordable for the working family man to make football every home game.

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martleshamitfc added 20:37 - Mar 15
Well Said, a full stadium at 1/2 price tickets is better than a half full one, but still the same income for the club. the only downside would be season ticket holders would not be happy unless their tickets were reduced as well, but then the club would lose out.. so a catch 22 situation.

IamSpartacus added 10:49 - Mar 17
The problem is that the maths won't stack up.

You can't guarantee (or even expect) a full stadium to make up for the slashed prices- and I am in the same boat, would LOVE to go every week again but with a young family, just can't afford it.

Unfortunately clubs don't run 'for' the fans, they run for either profit, success or progression. All fans with a modicum of sense will see the benefit of having fuller stadiums (and the long term positives in enabling young supporters to get to games), but it appears those running the club are like politicians.... myopic and short termist.

When I had a season ticket for a raft of years from 1983 I wouldn't have cared if deals were offered to secure the long term future of the club. I would have realised the benefits of offering a plethora of free (or dramatically reduced) tickets to schools.

We have traded off the long term back of the Ramsey & Robson years for a long time now. We are now seeing the growing results of younger supporters not getting 'trapped' into supporting Ipswich through success and live matches, and as the older supporters have reduced, they have not been replaced by the youngest generation.

Single match deals don't work- they are teasers, but a solid dozen matches or more tends to make you a fan for life. Unfortunately, low prices for children don't work either as they have to go with adults and, yep, back in the vicious circle of high prices again.

'One radical chairman/owner to say right I'm going to make it more affordable for the working family man to make football every home game.' - totally agree, bud. Won't be Evans though. After all the 'we are cutting our cloth accordingly' quotes, cutting prices won't happen unfortunately.


Thijssenstricks added 11:30 - Mar 17
Thank you both for responding with very good comments.

After writing the blog I realised that football is competing with many other sports and social ticketing events. The price of tickets are sometimes even in comparison.

Here's just a thought though. I like my music and go to the odd gig here and there, a price for a band at the O2 arena will cost quite a bit but a ticket at the UEA to see a lesser well known band will cost a lot less.

I haven't done loads of research on this but surely prices for football should go in a similar way. Ipswich seem to have ticket prices similar to some Premiership teams without offering Premiership style football.

I actually went yesterday to the Bolton game and luckily didn't have to pay for my ticket ( genererous Uncle ). Again in support of my first blog I thought both teams were of a poor standard. The supporters around me were getting quite vocal in there anger. I now just wonder, will these people still buy season tickets next year !

Football is strange, I know I'll still go to the odd game because I'm still passionate about ITFC.

Iamsparticus, your point on offering schools tickets for free I do believe is happening at the club already. Up in the Sir Alf Ramsey stand many youth clubs are in attendance. It is a great point though. Sitting up there most of these kids don't support ITFC. But with a run of games who knows.

My points are made in frustration on not just the club but the price of everything just seems to be going up and my wage rise doesn't go anywhere near being able to afford luxuries like football tickets.

Retrohaze_blue added 19:33 - Mar 17
Enjoyed reading your blog. I often thought about maybe the club could provide one single block in each of the stands at PR, and those blocks could offer special matchday prices for hat specific area. I bet people would go more on matchdays knowing you could get into that block for a cheaper price.
Sure it may annoy some season ticket holders, but surely filling your stadium is much better than an empty one.

KIWI78 added 11:12 - Mar 18
A good sensible blog. dont concur with all but worth the read,

When I was a kid, our local team gave free tickets to the lesser games to the schools. A great way of getting us hooked, especially for midweek games as we went on mass with our teachers.

It still the way the lesser rugby teams keep blooding the next gen fans back home.

I dont beleive ST holders would begrudge 6/7 games with lesser team resulting in free tickets to schools in midweek. I'm sure they would prefer to look long term and see the bennefit of their own kids growing up alongside fellow townies, not chelski et al.

NITFC added 13:34 - Mar 18
There seems to be a misconception that our crowds at Prortman Road were bigger in the "glory days" and that the cost of tickets is keeping people away. I am not sure that is true. Crowds in the seventies and eighties were similar to those of today, despite the vast difference in ticket prices

If you read the "what happened 10, 20, 30 years ago today" feature in the East Anglian every saturday you will see that our biggest crowds were in the George Burley era on average. This week's paper reported on a game in 1983 when we beat Nottingham Forest 2 - 0 (both goals scored by Paul Mariner). In those days Ipswich and Forest were two of the biggest teams in Europe, let alone England. Yet the attendance was still only 17,000

OK, the stadium was much smaller then, although we did get 38,010 in there one afternoon so the size of the ground wasn't the problem. I just think that the size of our club probably just about warrants 17,000 people each game with a few glory hunters turning up if we do well

The biggest change for me is that the ground is now so much bigger that it now looks empty with a crowd of 17,000 when it used to appear full

greenkingtone added 15:55 - Mar 18
I first watched ITFC in the early 70s. My son and I used to be in the Churchman's end by ten to one in order to get by the railings. The boy took a box to stand on. By this time the north stand was full and singing. Skin heads were often getting chucked over the concrete wall by the police and ejected from the ground. Sometimes there were 38,000 in for the match and it was bloody uncomfortable. The ground may have been smaller but they used to pack them in.

warkthisway added 22:29 - Mar 18
Some good points, particularly about the standard of football from visiting teams. All to often it is 10 men behind the ball, with defensive midfielders passing sideways, backwards, anything but risking a shot on goal. Bolton typified this new style of play, as did Boro. Remember Bolton 10 years ago? Blame the dont lose at any cost style for ruining the atmosphere of our once great game.

ipswichjon added 11:11 - Mar 19
Walsall do something which I think would be great on a larger scale, kids season tickets cost £46 and for each match they attend they get £1 back, so in effect if you go to all the matches as a kid its free! A brilliant way to get kids in and you'd probably make up the lost revenue in food/drink/rogram sales!

If you could expand this to adults with maybe a % returned off next season's season ticket for every game attended this would also boost the attendance!

wkj added 16:09 - Mar 20
to be fair Blackburn has been disgraced by its owners and I fully respect what must be going through most of their fans heads right now.

Thijssenstricks added 09:12 - Mar 21

What Walsall are doing is fantastic and is exactly the point I was trying to get to by doing the blog. If more clubs could do this sort of thing it would be great. I will keep an eye on Walsall's ground now on the football league show to see if their ground looks near full ! I suppose a club like them has a lot of competition for supporters with quite a few clubs around the Birmingham/ Wolves area.

MathieandMarshall added 12:45 - Mar 21
I too have been thinking the same after noticing that attendances seem to be down across the board in the Championship but also after seeing lots of empty seats at Premier League stadiums when tuning in to MOTD. I guess the recession has not helped with less disposible income (i am actually trying to decide now if to renew next season as i have a baby on the way) and also to a lesser extent the coverage of football on TV with access to so many games without leacing the house!
Would be great to see Portman Road full again. Ultimatley i guess we need to be competing at the right end of the table and playing those big games reguarly!


runningout added 10:27 - Mar 24
Man on the street finding himself at odds to support misjudged millionaires on the once great field of play..

Che added 20:06 - Mar 26
Football sold its soul to Murdoch many years ago and its slowly sucking the life out of the Football League. On top of that you have a very deep recession caused by a banking system encouraged by the same Murdoch through his media empire. People especially those with families and in low paid jobs and unemployed (which accounts for at least 40% of the population) can not afford to go. This is going to get worse over the next few years, many clubs are going to go to the wall. They will reform to be run by the fans, which may ultimately be a good thing but that is another subject.
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