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Trust: Town at Risk of Losing Generation of Fans
Tuesday, 11th Feb 2014 09:53

The Ipswich Town Independent Supporters Trust says the club risk missing out on a generation of fans due to the cost of matchday tickets.

Around 600 supporters responded to a recent Trust survey with almost half stating that “high matchday ticket prices” were a very important factor in putting them off attending games at Portman Road. Amongst those aged 30 and under that figure rose to more than 50 per cent.

For Grade A matches the cheapest adult seat costs £32, while a similar Grade B ticket is £27.50 and Grade C £21. Tickets purchased at a game are subject to a £2.50 additional charge.

Asked to name what they felt was a fair price for admission, the majority of respondents to the survey said £25 or lower.

Fans were also unhappy with the prices charged to away fans, with 90 per cent rating £32.50 – the lowest-priced seat purchased ahead of a Grade B game in the visitors’ section – as “poor” or “very poor”.

Supporters were also critical of “the ease of getting ticket information” this season with 33 per cent believing it was "poor” or “very poor”, while 43 per cent answered “poor” or “very poor” to the question “how easy has it been to buy a ticket on a matchday?”.

This summer’s controversial closure of the ticket office and ending of telephone sales was seen as significant by 26 per cent of respondents, who felt it was “very important”, however, 30 per cent believed it “does not matter”.

Alasdair Ross, the Trust’s chair, said: “This survey highlights what the club needs to do to make sure that the next generation of supporters get into the habit of spending their Saturday afternoons at Portman Road.

“Lower prices, more offers and promotions, and making it as easy as possible to get tickets, are all factors which will attract younger fans.

“We were pleased to discuss these results with the club at a recent fans’ forum, and look forward to working with the club further in identifying what should be done in response to the findings.”

Survey respondents had praise for the club’s season ticket prices, which were frozen for the third year running ahead of 2013/14, with 75 per cent of season ticket holders believing they pay a “fair price” for their seat. You can read more on the Trust’s survey on their website.

Meanwhile, the club are planning ticket promotions during the remaining months of the season with a £5 discount on seats for the Wigan fixture for those attending the Birmingham match having been announced yesterday.

Club spokesman Steve Pearce said: “While protecting the value of a season ticket we are constantly looking at promotions for matchday tickets.

“We had 'kids for a quid' against Leicester and discounted tickets for the Barnsley game, while plans are being put in place for a number of ticket promotions for the remainder of the season.”

Photo: Action Images

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SouperJim added 10:24 - Feb 11
A season ticket in the North Stand works out at somewhere around £18 per game, which is a decent price. The issue here is the comparably extortionate match day ticket cost, which is route by which future season ticket holders are won.

The ticketing policy the club are sticking to is simply far too short-term, yes we might be maximising revenue currently and giving ourselves the best chance of competing under FFP, but where will we be in say 5 years time if we are still in this division and are hemorrhaging season ticket holders?

£5 off two games isn't a promotion, it's an insult.

LancsBlue added 10:53 - Feb 11
This is a very serious worry. The club really needs to bite the bullet here and take a long term view. Supporters need to be enticed in at a young age to establish a lifelong habit. Its all very well having kids for a quid but what if the parent can't afford a ticket. I think it would be a good idea to offer substantial adult discounts "if accompanied by a child". It also needs to be recognised that large numbers of young people are in education or training until their early 20s. Concessionary admission should recognise this and not end at 18.

BlueBadger added 10:56 - Feb 11
I'm sure the fact that we've spent the last decade or so being largely mediocre, regardless of pricing has nothing to do with it.

OldClactonBlue added 10:57 - Feb 11
The pricing is one aspect, but the quality of the entertainment is the other. We had Season Tickets for over 15 years but gave them up last season because it was so uninspiring, from both teams. I've been a few times since and it doesn't seem to have improved. How many passes do you ever see strung together? Championship football isn't very good!

ketton_itfc added 11:02 - Feb 11
I would have thought there would be no one better than Marcus Evans to make the right call on the price of tickets. And maybe in terms of the "bottom line" he has got it right. However in terms of the longer term and actually supporting the team I would say his approcah is short sighted and a hinderance. Something has to be done if we are to ever push forward. 12 years of stagnation has as the Trust say has put a future generation of fans at risk. If I was the owner I would see every West Ham, Chelsea, Manure, Liverpool, Arsenal etc scarf worn around the Ipswich as potential revenue lost.

Michael11 added 11:39 - Feb 11
People simply aren't going to pay £30 a ticket for dull uninspiring football. The kids aren't going to grow up supporting Ipswich because they have no experience of going to see them play. You can't blame parents for not paying £60/£70 to take their kids to watch us play. We have the potential to get 20,000+ through the gate every week but Marcus Evans is more insistent on ripping people off. Time for a big shake up at ITFC starting with the ticket prices. Think most would agree that we should bring back telephone sales too as the website's an absolute joke which takes hours to try and purchase tickets.

GiveusanI added 11:58 - Feb 11
Very disheartening to see Portman Road half empty each week and worrying for the future as the Trust state. As supporters we should really keep the pressure up on the club to lower prices and encourage youngsters into the stands. My feeling is that only massive local opinion is going to make the Evans business-minds listen.

boysinblue added 12:08 - Feb 11
I'm a student in Bristol so only make it to a few town games per season. First time I came this season was on New Years day against Charlton with my brother. Weather was terrible but still made the trip and was SHOCKED with the £30 or so i was charged. Then we were subjected to a classic town display where we played long ball to Nouble all 2nd half and conceded a last minute equalizer. For the price of the ticket absolutely not worth it.
I love town but until but I won't be going back to PR until tickets are at a reasonable price, it's a joke that we have to pay the most in the division. Our performances do not warrant it.

brazil1982 added 12:17 - Feb 11
I live up North so have to choose my games wisely, I haven't been to PR for 2 years - mainly because of the prices.

I set a limit now on £25 for away games, meaning I can attend Wigan, BBurn, Huddersfield and Burnley. Not Leeds or Sheff Weds.
Burnley, 2nd from top, are regularly getting gates of 12,000 or below - £24 is the cheapest ticket there.

I can see no justification for "Grading" matches below the Premiership - ridiculous.

Count_Arthur added 12:22 - Feb 11
Belated sarcastic slow round of applause!

Yes, I agree, £5 of a match is rather feeble.

People harp on about the public sector only getting a small pay increase, myself and colleagues don’t get pay increases at all, but rather pay cuts!

The cost of everything is soaring, food bills, household bills, fuel, heating etc. My season ticket (& my sons) are the only luxury we have and when he turns 16 and his price jumps up then I’m not sure what we will do.

Despite the ups and downs, moans and groans and highs and lows that come with the territory of supporting any football team, Saturday afternoons are what all us Town fans live for.

As long as ITFC’s ticket prices remain as they are, or rise further, then the numbers will continue to decline.

Promotion to the Premiership, a freeze, or reduction on the current ticket prices and/or SERIOUS promotions are, in my opinion, the only way to fill Portman Road again.

Philip added 12:36 - Feb 11
No student/ YP rate = no students / YP

brendenward35 added 12:37 - Feb 11
I live in Sunderland but they have great ideas about how to get parents and kids through the turnstiles. One is to send out regular ticket offers to local football clubs offering substantial savings. We recently had over 20 kids with parents going to one game. Not a lot but if you have similar response from all the local clubs could add to the figures plus your getting to the younger fans who might eventually be the ones the club need to recruit. Whether ITFC already do this I don't know but it's a good way forward

Cakeman added 12:44 - Feb 11
The cost does not end with just the pricing of tickets.
My wife and I are both season ticket holders but we live 44 miles from the ground.
We would like to travel to home matches by train but they are simply too expensive to use. This means using the car. Two gallons of fuel plus car park ticket all adds up to an expensive day and that us without taking into account a pint or two of Adnams Finest and a Portman pie.
Even with a season ticket I reckon the cost to attend home matches to be high so heaven help those who have to pay more on the day or who are casual attenders.

PS: the cost for away fans at our ground is not acceptable. Why should they have to pay these heavy prices ?
PPS: just in case anyone picks me up on it, it is me who drives to ground and because I would have had a couple of pints, my wife who does not drink drives us home!

bournemouthblue added 13:08 - Feb 11
I've always feared this myself, given that around 15k of the stadium is empty, what is the harm in offering discounted tickets to people on low incomes under a certain age?

The recession has bitten the under 25's hard, I should know I've had the misfortune of being on jobseekers twice for long periods of time during this recession.

IamSpartacus added 13:11 - Feb 11
People that suggest season ticket prices, averaged over the season, are reasonable are missing the point- many people can't commit to every game, and once you miss a couple of games, all of a sudden the prices are not reasonable any more.

i also concur with those that question the grading of games. Does anyone that logs on to this website really go to games to see the opposition? really? Grading to see who exactly? QPR, perhaps? Super, I get to see Joey 'let me steal a phrase off' Barton.... highlight. No thanks, i go to see Ipswich. More to the point, I go to see Ipswich play well and win, so i guess that means games against the less desirable teams will result in a better outcome?

As far as entertainment being a reason for lower attendances, there may be a grain of fact to this. I went to the Bolton match last week and the standard of play was utterly poor. It was freezing and the game dismal but we won, so that made it worthwhile for me. That said, it was still poor, so some people might be put off.

Price-wise, my son is 7, he wants to go to more games but I can't afford them. he is the future (or hopefully part of it) of the club, but unless he gets indoctrinated, along with others his age, will they end up watching the 'TV-teams' instead? I took him and a Man Utd supporting friend of his to a game last season, I reckon I could change his friends allegiance to Ipswich as well if I took him to half-a-dozen games.... the cost makes that an issue/impossible.

Attendance-wise we are now possibly reaping what was sewn 10-15 years ago when prices went too high, young supporters weren't taken for financial reasons and now they are grown they haven't been emotionally tied to the club...

Those that can afford to go regularly now are the backbone of the club, but unless the administrators of ITFC tackle this issue soon, the fans of tomorrow will be lost.

bournemouthblue added 13:16 - Feb 11
Further to that post, I'm now fortunate to have two jobs but when you get roughly £50 a week (if you're under 25) on jobseekers allowance, there's no way you can commit £20+ a ticket every other weekend.

£10 would be about fair, which I believe is what they roughly charge for under 16's, perhaps the club should consider a discounted season tickets for those on job seekers?


bluelodgeblue added 13:17 - Feb 11
How did the scum manage a full house every match in Div 1 & the championship, it wasn't all down to good football?

bournemouthblue added 13:22 - Feb 11
I believe at one stage 60% of Norwich's season tickets were discounted

They had a policy in the past to encourage the youth to come and see games so in the future they'd continue to come and support the club, given they were their next generation of fans. It seems to have worked in fairness.

MaySixth added 13:47 - Feb 11
The club's short-sighted view on ticketing is for a reason.

MaySixth added 13:47 - Feb 11
The club's short-sighted view on ticketing is for a reason which I fear we will find out about this summer.

bournemouthblue added 13:49 - Feb 11
mysterious, do you care to elaborate MaySixth?

MaySixth added 13:50 - Feb 11
Our away fans pricing policy is simply outrageous.

Why do we charge Birmingham fans £32 when Watford charge £26 tonight and Blackpool charged £24 last Saturday?

Surely we should be on par with those clubs in terms of ticketing.

bournemouthblue added 14:33 - Feb 11
so what will become apparent in the summer which explains our short-sighted and I presume inferred greed?

blueblood_soldier added 14:55 - Feb 11
I used to write to Mr Clegg about the possibilities of Forces discounts. This would not benefit me as I'm in Germany, but with the number of serving troops we have in Colchester, Wattersham, Woodbridge etc.. now into its thousands, I know from experience that these young lads just want to watch football. Over here we go and watch German games just to get our fix. If they made it cheaper for forces then I think the lads would go and watch the town, drink and eat lots from the bars, and possibly even introduce some youngsters to the Joys of being an ITFC supporter. What harm would it do? its better than empty seats

MattinLondon added 15:09 - Feb 11
The main problem is that there is a real disconnect between the club at board level and the ordinary fan. Ipswich is not really an affluent area but the price of ticketing indicates that the MDs think that Ipswich is either Chelsea or Islington. If the prices are set at this level for Championship football one wonders how much it’ll be if we ever make the premier league.

The entertainment also doesn’t help – ok we are sixth and ok we are within sight of the play-offs but the football is dire. Defensive insipid football with little emphasis on style except for the long hoof up field. I suppose most ‘die hard’ fans will be pragmatic and think that this is a sacrifice worth making in order to gain promotion but it’ll hardly entice fans back to the ground (or stay there).

Personally I don’t think the club management really cares – they probably budget for 15,000 and this is reflected in the transfer budget of MM.

Finally there is little excitement at the ground – apathy seems to have taken over a large percentage of fans in the form of an easy come easy go mentality. I can’t be the only one who has half-forgotten half the players we have had over the last few years. Actually I struggle to recall a lot of the players the last few managers have brought or loaned in.

I don’t think that there is one reason why the attendances have dropped but it won’t be too hard to sort things out (if there was a desire to do so).

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