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PurpleCanary

TICKET GRADINGS 2012-2013

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The WBA game has now been graded so an assessment can be made of how the club has used the casual ticketing system this season, with a look back at the last as well. The relevance, to cut a long argument short, is whether the club has gone for short-term financial gain at the expense of the long-term aim of attracting in the next generation of fans, and has underestimated the economic downturn, with people finding it increasing hard to justify spending money on discretionary items such as football.Because season tickets are hard to get, with a waiting list, many young would-be fans have to try to get one a casual tickets. But not only are there only about 2,500 of those, but because the club scrapped the pre-adult category they are very expensive. A 16-year-old still at school, or on the dole, is often faced with forking out £40 or £50 for 90 minutes of football.Last season (I believe all the following numbers are correct but...) we had a three-category system, with 10 A games, eight Bs and one C. Wigan from memory. Now in no universe is that a fair system. If there had been, say, one A, one C and 17 Bs you might be able to get away with it. But more than half the games in the top category and one in the bottom? No. It is a sham. Other words spring to mind but that will do.

Contrast that with the way Southampton used a three-category system this season, which equates to us in 2011-12. They announced the gradings before the season started as as far as I know have stuck to them. Their last two home fixtures, against WBA and Stoke, were scheduled to be Bs and are:
A: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United.B: Aston Villa, Everton, Newcastle United, QPR, Reading, Spurs, West Ham.C: Fulham, Norwich City, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea, WBA, Wigan.So five As, seven Bs and seven Cs, as opposed to our 10-8-1 formation.Moving on to this season, we switched to four categories, and the resulting split is:Six A*s, six As, six Bs and one C. Wigan again! Although it wasn''t strictly a C but a pre-Christmas offer and probably cheaper than a C. But, again, that is a sham. One token C? And over two seasons only two Cs but no fewer than 16 games in the top category.So at first glance it looks as if the club is carrying on regardless. However my suspicion is that the message about the economy may have filtered through to the boardroom. Early on we had QPR, West Ham and Stoke all as As. There might be an argument for West Ham, but not the other two. They had B written all over them. But in the second half of the season there have been some interesting gradings - Fulham, Southampton and Swansea might have been As, but were Bs. And the same with WBA, as the last game of the season, and the POTS award. That is  a B.So there may - only may - have been a slight move towards a fairer categorisation, and that might be more visible next season, if we are in the Premier League. But the real step the club needs to take is to reinstate the pre-adult category.

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I would imagine Purple its less about the economy and concern for fans and more about that fact that we have been struggling to sell out at the ridiculous prices being applied with most recent games going to general sale. That''s how the club rolls these days. Fans complaints fall on deaf ears but falling ticket sales and they suddenly start to react.

I guess that as long as we ultimately get to a fairer situation then perhaps it doesn''t really matter too much what the cause is but i fear a bit of damage has already been done with some fans simply not bothering to buy tickets any more due to the crazy casual ticket prices (and possibly also the number of dull games we have had for some games where tickets have been expensive). Did anyone really get value for money out of buying a casual ticket for our homes games against Fulham or Newcastle!

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[quote user="Jim Smith"]I would imagine Purple its less about the economy and concern for fans and more about that fact that we have been struggling to sell out at the ridiculous prices being applied with most recent games going to general sale. That''s how the club rolls these days. Fans complaints fall on deaf ears but falling ticket sales and they suddenly start to react.

I guess that as long as we ultimately get to a fairer situation then perhaps it doesn''t really matter too much what the cause is but i fear a bit of damage has already been done with some fans simply not bothering to buy tickets any more due to the crazy casual ticket prices (and possibly also the number of dull games we have had for some games where tickets have been expensive). Did anyone really get value for money out of buying a casual ticket for our homes games against Fulham or Newcastle![/quote]Sorry, I''m not seeing any evidence of this.As a non-season ticket holder (on the waiting list), or "plastic" [;)], I think most games do ''effectively'' sell out. And by effectively, I mean there may be a few spare single seats littered around the ground. but if I want to get 2,3 or 4 seats together (cos you know, going to the football with family or fields is much more appealing to most people), then usually the only way you can do this is to line up on Super Membership day, or hope the away team returns seats.I agree that as long as I want to go to games on my tod, then I have no problems getting a ticket. Not everyone wants to do this.Either way, if it doesn''t "sell out" due to those 20 odd seats not having bums on them for every game, I don''t see this being at the top of McNally''s problems list.

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Yep totally agree with our colonial friend!

If you want a ticket on your own (usually most with a restricted view) you will have had little issue getting one for most games.

However if for some insane reason you fancied going to a game with someone you knew, the majority of games have been effectively sell outs.

Although purple i think you''re right the shift has been slightly towards cheaper tickets, i personally think this is because the casual fan is no longer prepared to pay just shy of 50 quid to sit on his own in a restricted view seat. That desperation to see premiership games at all cost has definitely waned from last year. This has resulted in games where those 200 or so seats dotted around aren''t selling and thats 10% of your casual seats left without bottoms to warm them.

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