|Tickets and Other Issues|
Written by TimS on Wednesday, 27th Aug 2014 20:55
I would love to think that I wrote about tickets on a Bank Holiday Monday and the article has so much impact that Town introduce a Group Ticket Bundle on Tuesday. However, I am not that sure whether God moves in such mysterious ways.
Firstly, it is good news that Town have tried to do something about tickets. Any measure is welcomed, and there may be some people who will jump at the chance to get a discount for September and October’s home games. Will it work to fill the stadium? To answer that question, I have to sincerely and realistically think about my position.
Say I did pay the money to watch last week’s Norwich game. Realistically, l would have chosen a mid-range ticket in one of the end stands. Gone are the days when I could afford a ticket in the Pioneer, Britannia, East of England Co-op or West (delete as appropriate) Stand.
I would have hardly been happy following the defeat, and annoyed by the manner of the loss. I would have raged about the defeat throughout the weekend, and gone back to work on the Tuesday. Would I have then been in the right mood to commit myself to a Group Ticket Bundle, which still totals a considerable amount of money, meaning that I would be watching Town’s current standard of football into the deep of autumn?
I live away from Ipswich and Suffolk at the moment. I would not have signed up for a Group Ticket Bundle. If I lived in Ipswich, I would not have signed. It is a bad state of affairs.
It is unlucky for Town’s high command that the next home game is due to take place on 13th September- three weeks after the morale sapping Norwich defeat. The mood of this club could change if three points come against Derby but moans fester and bad feeling lingers. The bundle initiative seems to be built on the premise that Championship football is an attractive product, and as attractive as the Premiership.
Really? This is the ITV Digital view of league football and we know what happened to ITV Digital.
The bundle may have worked at the end of the season in a play-off push, but at the present time, and in this current financial climate, this bundle is too extensive, based on wishful thinking.
A simple deal of buying a ticket for the Millwall game on Saturday 13th September and a meaningful discount on the midweek Brighton game could bring some more takers. This club has got to understand that there are many Town fans who have got out of the habit in going to Portman Road. Many Town fans seem to be disillusioned with the club. Going for the jugular with a mass ticket bundle is a hopeful but bizarre move.
In addition to simple ticket deals, I would be happy for the Town command to take an axe to the arcane ticket pricing system, the whole Grade A, B and C arrangement, the multiple ticket options often in one tier of a stand, and the ludicrous idea that you will be penalised if you buy your tickets on the day.
Have you ever read the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Town website? It makes you feel that you are signing up for a complex life assurance deal rather than buying a ticket to watch Town v Rotherham. It should not be the case that buying a ticket to watch Barcelona at the Nou Camp, which I did in 2013, is easier than buying a ticket at Portman Road.
In an era where Town seem to be plateauing in the Championship’s mid-table, it should not be difficult to buy a reasonably priced ticket to watch this club, whenever you fancy making the trip.
My uncle was a season ticket holder for over 40 years at Portman Road. He went to his last game in 2012. It was my uncle who got me interested in all things, Ipswich Town Football Club, and it was an end of an era when he decided to call it a day.
It was ended for a variety of reasons, but I can remember his increasing discontent that he felt as if he was nothing more than a cash cow being milked to death by a distant club, changed out of all recognition from the club that he could remember.
Season tickets holders need to be respected by this club. Not just as a source of revenue at renewal time. A more structured series of offers and an option to renew at an earlier time, at a heavily discounted price could help.
I would also ask the club’s marketing department to look at the way that they promote Town to fans. When I travel to work meetings in London, I often pick up a Metro to read on the Underground. Towards the sports pages, I often see a full page spread encouraging people to watch a West Ham game. The ticket pricing is easy to understand, the promotion is eye catching, and makes me seriously consider heading to Upton Park at the weekend. There is a serious emphasis to encourage children to the game with decent deals.
In advance of the Emirates Cup earlier in August, Arsenal advertised this series of games in Metro. These games were friendly fixtures. If Premiership outfits can advertise their friendly and competitive action at their grounds, why can’t Town do the same?
I may walk down the wrong streets in Ipswich, and look at the wrong media, but during my week at home last week, I did not see any advert for Norwich game tickets, or the chance tickets for Milwall and Brighton. All I saw, was a feel-good article about how local boy, Luke Hyam understood what the East Anglian derby match meant to Town fans. All good heart-warming stuff but not really going to get bums on seats at a consistent level which will bring atmosphere back to Portman Road.
I don’t want to continually write a series of ‘why-o-why’ articles about this club. I would love to write about exciting games, great players, jaw-dropping goals, a decent cup run beyond one game, and a realistic promotion push. However, there needs to be serious thought about how this club is communicating with its fans and progressing into the future. If I did not live away from Ipswich, I would consider going to the next supporters' AGM. This club cannot continue in the same way.
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