Detmer: Ticket Sales Are Very Important
Thursday, 13th May 2021 17:26
Co-owner Mark Detmer has stressed the importance of ticket sales to the club with the Blues impacted by League One’s Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) to a greater extent in 2021/22.
In their first season out of the Championship the SCMP limited the Blues to spending 75 per cent of their turnover on player wages in addition to other measures to help cushion the blow.
The SCMP was replaced by the salary cap in 2020/21 but that was scrapped in February after an arbitration hearing following a challenge by the PFA. As a result, the SCMP has been reintroduced with the Blues now restricted to spending only 60 per cent of their turnover on wages, although with players who have come through the academy and are aged under 20 not included in the calculation.
Town recently announced their season ticket prices for next season as well as their refund options for 2020/21. The club say that up to now 85 per cent of existing season ticket holders - who numbered just under 9,000 last season - have put their refund towards renewing for 2021/22.
“Real football fans understand financial fair play and they understand how that relates to ticket sales and without ticket sales, you have no player wages,” Detmer said when speaking to TWTD and Blue Monday in the first podcast of what will be an ongoing collaboration.
“There were some people talking about ticket sales but a lot of that ties back to Financial Fair Play and in that we have to give Paul Cook the resources that he needs to produce the results that we expect.
“A big part of that will be contributing not only dollars to acquire the club, which has virtually no debt on it anymore, but also contributing the working capital this year, which we’ve already fully funded, so that we can go out and through transfers, loans or whatever pick up the right players on the pitch.
“Not that the players that have just completed their season were the wrong players, it’s just a matter of finding the players that fit Paul Cook’s system out on the pitch so that he can get all the resources for him to be successful in his role.”
Detmer was asked whether he’s been getting his head around the SCMP and other arcane aspects of the EFL’s rules since completing the takeover.
“I am but my knowledge is just dangerous,” he joked. “We rely on the experts to help us with that, like [incoming CEO] Mark Ashton. I only know enough to be dangerous on the topic.”
But he is aware that it has restrictions on how cash can be injected into a club: “That’s why ticket sales are very important.”
One way to add to the club’s turnover is an injection of equity, is that something which has been discussed at Town?
“At this point I don’t believe so, at least we haven’t discussed it at board level,” he said. “Again, I think we turn a lot of that over to Mark Ashton and his stewardship to help us navigate what we need to do for Financial Fair Play, and there are so many other rules associated with English football that they’re [Ashton and chairman Mike O’Leary] so well-versed in that I’m definitely not the right person to ask about it. They’ve made their careers at it. I’ll defer to them.”
On the Phoenix Rising website, 12 further co-owners are listed in addition to the Three Lions, Detmer, Brett Johnson and Berke Bakay. Might more investors be invited to come on board at Town at some point in the future?
“I think time will tell.” Detmer said. “We’ve been open, Phoenix Rising being the case study, to those that are aligned with us. Capital being part of it but also the culture, the desire to win, the amount of time, energy and effort they want to contribute as owners as well is all part of the equation.
“At a certain point, capital starts to become a commodity. That’s not what we’re looking for in a partner, we want a partner that helps us see our vision through to the goal of eventually being in the Premier League again.
“We haven’t ruled it out, I’ll say that, but right now we’re fully funded and well capitalised but at some point in the future it may make sense.”
Detmer is delighted that Ed Sheeran will be the Blues’ shirt sponsor next season: “That’s exciting news, that we’re able to partner up with Ed Sheeran and collectively his team as front of jersey sponsor. It’s a very cryptic sign [the logo which will be on the shirt] which he says will make sense soon.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled. He’s a Suffolk person and with that his support of the club has been undying as a fan.
“Driving commercial is a big part of [what we want to do] and hopefully we can bring some of that commercial we’ve learnt at Phoenix Rising and through relationships we have in the UK and even in US companies looking to go to the UK, and drive that commercial part of the revenue as well.”
Detmer says he knew that the sponsorship was in the pipeline when discussions regarding the takeover were ongoing: “We were made aware along the way. We couldn’t be more thrilled.
“Ed has such a global following and for good reason, he’s extremely talented, maybe the best songwriter of our era. I wouldn’t say ever because there were some pretty good guys, John Lennon and Paul McCartney and some others from the UK that are pretty good songwriters as well.
“Of our era, he is one of the best songwriters and I think driving commercial is equally important to having the dollars available to get the players necessary to get the results we expect.”
Photo: Blue Monday
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