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RabidAl

Pricing Fans In, Sustainably?

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How to get more fans to games?

'Cheaper gate prices' is the most obvious answer, but the key problems with this seem to be two-fold and inter-connected:

Habit Forming - clubs do not lower prices for a long enough period of time for potential fans to try coming along, experience some highs and lows, and get into the habit of attending matches; clubs tend to use short-term pricing gimmicks that lack credibility with fans;

Gazumping - clubs that lower prices face an initial loss of revenue, meaning that they are outbid by other clubs of a similar size on the wages of quality players; the resultant loss of league position, and possible relegation, is the major dis-incentive to lowering prices .

Both of these issues can be addressed in a sustainable way by clubs of a similar size* co-operating with each-other formally, such as creating a trade association to pool their market power. Together, they could agree to charge the same gate prices as each-other for a fixed period of 3-5 years, such as:

£10 (gate) / £150 (season) for Adults; £5 (gate) / £75 (season) for Teens, OAPs & Unemployed folk; £0 (gate) / £0 (season) for Under 13s.

These prices give the incentive for fans to come along to games, while the fixed period allows fans to form the habit of going to games. The fixed period gives credibility to the prices and stability for habit forming.

The trade association between clubs of a similar size, who are in the same financial league, generates trust between clubs; importantly, agreeing on fixed prices controls wages at a level sustainable for them and prevents them undermining one-another. Then, it's just a case of promoting their product...

*For example, all our mid-sized clubs with full-time potential:

Hamilton, Inverness, Kilmarnock, Dundee, Partick, St.Johnstone, Motherwell, St.Mirren, Ross County; Queen of the South, Raith Rovers, Falkirk, Livingston; Dunfermline, Morton, Ayr Utd, Airdrie.

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The root cause of the pricing issue is players wages.

Everything stems from that.

Any solution which doesn't deal with that is doomed to failure.

We have many clubs in the country pleading poverty whilst at the same time routinely handing over in excess of £1000 per week for someone to kick a ball.

Until that lunacy is sorted out nothing else will work.

Someone will perhaps give a seriously convincing reason why a footballer needs to be getting paid more than most teachers, scientists and engineers.

It's not even a quality issue. We pay FAR more than we did in the 90's. Is our football quality any better than then?

Edited by oaksoft

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How to get more fans to games?

'Cheaper gate prices' is the most obvious answer, but the key problems with this seem to be two-fold and inter-connected:

Habit Forming - clubs do not lower prices for a long enough period of time for potential fans to try coming along, experience some highs and lows, and get into the habit of attending matches; clubs tend to use short-term pricing gimmicks that lack credibility with fans;

Gazumping - clubs that lower prices face an initial loss of revenue, meaning that they are outbid by other clubs of a similar size on the wages of quality players; the resultant loss of league position, and possible relegation, is the major dis-incentive to lowering prices .

Both of these issues can be addressed in a sustainable way by clubs of a similar size* co-operating with each-other formally, such as creating a trade association to pool their market power. Together, they could agree to charge the same gate prices as each-other for a fixed period of 3-5 years, such as:

£10 (gate) / £150 (season) for Adults; £5 (gate) / £75 (season) for Teens, OAPs & Unemployed folk; £0 (gate) / £0 (season) for Under 13s.

These prices give the incentive for fans to come along to games, while the fixed period allows fans to form the habit of going to games. The fixed period gives credibility to the prices and stability for habit forming.

The trade association between clubs of a similar size, who are in the same financial league, generates trust between clubs; importantly, agreeing on fixed prices controls wages at a level sustainable for them and prevents them undermining one-another. Then, it's just a case of promoting their product...

*For example, all our mid-sized clubs with full-time potential:

Hamilton, Inverness, Kilmarnock, Dundee, Partick, St.Johnstone, Motherwell, St.Mirren, Ross County; Queen of the South, Raith Rovers, Falkirk, Livingston; Dunfermline, Morton, Ayr Utd, Airdrie.

You've entered the realms of fantasy there, Pike.

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Clubs have tried to reduce prices and fans didn't show up.

We will never go back to large crowds and most fans who used to go either watch games on Sky or pick and chose the big or important games.

If footballers wages were forced down somehow then maybe teams could cut prices but even then too many fans have simply gotten out of the habit and do something else now.

If I wanted to go to Peterhead today it would cost me a small fortune, there's no way I can afford it. I've been to a few games like this only to see players makes mistakes or look like they don't even care. Willie Gibson giving our own fans the finger being a particular highlight.

Football reflects modern society, big clubs do well and smaller clubs are dying off slowly.

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The general perception of Scottish football is pretty poor and lowering the price will reinforce that perception

In the 80s everything fans want was in place, football was dirt cheap, terracing, teams other than the XOF winning and challenging, we did well in Europe and qualified for World Cups and yet average attendances were no better than they are nowadays...and in fact the attendances troughs were much lower than they are nowadays, the average was boosted by far higher peaks cuz terraces & cheap football.

What the £25 ticket and the smoke-and-mirrors *cheap* season ticket has achieved is a flat-line attendance; make the PATG price more attractive and you'd probably get back to that peaks and troughs which would scare clubs shitless, cuz a bad season means them troughs get deeper...

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Clubs have tried to reduce prices and fans didn't show up.

We will never go back to large crowds and most fans who used to go either watch games on Sky or pick and chose the big or important games.

If footballers wages were forced down somehow then maybe teams could cut prices but even then too many fans have simply gotten out of the habit and do something else now.

If I wanted to go to Peterhead today it would cost me a small fortune, there's no way I can afford it. I've been to a few games like this only to see players makes mistakes or look like they don't even care. Willie Gibson giving our own fans the finger being a particular highlight.

Football reflects modern society, big clubs do well and smaller clubs are dying off slowly.

This. Anyone who is interested, goes. Anyone who isn't, doesn't. And it's not just affordability....an issue in itself, but whywould you just keep going if you feel its just not worth it?? Its disgusting what it costs to watch not even sub standard football in this country, but while it remains one of the top per-head average attendance figures in Europe, and the flocking masses are happy to pay it, then nothing will change.

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Both of these issues can be addressed in a sustainable way by clubs of a similar size* co-operating with each-other formally, such as creating a trade association to pool their market power. Together, they could agree to charge the same gate prices as each-other for a fixed period of 3-5 years, such as:

£10 (gate) / £150 (season) for Adults; £5 (gate) / £75 (season) for Teens, OAPs & Unemployed folk; £0 (gate) / £0 (season) for Under 13s.

These prices give the incentive for fans to come along to games, while the fixed period allows fans to form the habit of going to games. The fixed period gives credibility to the prices and stability for habit forming.

The trade association between clubs of a similar size, who are in the same financial league, generates trust between clubs; importantly, agreeing on fixed prices controls wages at a level sustainable for them and prevents them undermining one-another. Then, it's just a case of promoting their product...

*For example, all our mid-sized clubs with full-time potential:

Hamilton, Inverness, Kilmarnock, Dundee, Partick, St.Johnstone, Motherwell, St.Mirren, Ross County; Queen of the South, Raith Rovers, Falkirk, Livingston; Dunfermline, Morton, Ayr Utd, Airdrie.

You think that established top flight clubs like Kilmarnock and Motherwell with average attendances in excess of 4000 should be in the same category as clubs like Airdrie who rarely reach four figures? And you think that these Premiership clubs should charge the same prices as teams in the third tier?

The price categories quoted there are ridiculous too. You'd be putting every single full-time team on that list out of business. How are Killie supposed to afford even the upkeep of our stadium if you cut our gate income by 60% or so? The logical extension of your "gazumping" argument is that if every club drops their ticket prices then the standard will reduce substantially across the board. Even more of our best players will move abroad and we'll have a substandard league with financially crippled clubs.

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The root cause of the pricing issue is players wages.

Everything stems from that.

Any solution which doesn't deal with that is doomed to failure.

We have many clubs in the country pleading poverty whilst at the same time routinely handing over in excess of £1000 per week for someone to kick a ball.

Until that lunacy is sorted out nothing else will work.

Someone will perhaps give a seriously convincing reason why a footballer needs to be getting paid more than most teachers, scientists and engineers.

It's not even a quality issue. We pay FAR more than we did in the 90's. Is our football quality any better than then?

Scottish football doesn't operate in a vacuum. We have to compete with leagues across Europe when it comes to signing players.

Having said that, I don't think we are necessarily paying more than in the 1990s. In that era, Killie had guys like McCoist and Durrant who would have been on 4 or 5 times what our current highest earner will earn.

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The general perception of Scottish football is pretty poor and lowering the price will reinforce that perception

In the 80s everything fans want was in place, football was dirt cheap, terracing, teams other than the XOF winning and challenging, we did well in Europe and qualified for World Cups and yet average attendances were no better than they are nowadays...and in fact the attendances troughs were much lower than they are nowadays, the average was boosted by far higher peaks cuz terraces & cheap football.

What the £25 ticket and the smoke-and-mirrors *cheap* season ticket has achieved is a flat-line attendance; make the PATG price more attractive and you'd probably get back to that peaks and troughs which would scare clubs shitless, cuz a bad season means them troughs get deeper...

Yea, when you think about it clubs have done an incredible job over the last 25 years at stabilising their income, they have most their income banked before a ball is kicked, something that rather positive.

For the most part we, as many point out, do a pretty good job at getting fans through the gate, both when compared to other countries and to the past. This doesn't mean we should take it for granted tho.

I think an ideal way to try and get more fans in is to attempt to bring the positives from earlier decades(alcohol on sale, terracing) and combine that with the all-seater era positives we have now in terms of modern stadia that bring family's and businesses in.

We saw a big change in a short period of who clubs try and attract but their is no reason we can't try and satisfy all. it's a shame that it took over authoritative , reactionary legislation/ rules to force long overdue investment into grounds, had clubs spent the same cash on their own accord we could of had grounds suitable for all , where clubs could of still keep their relationship with the working class fan whilst being able to offer decent facilities suitable for family's and businesses.

Even then, fan satisfaction would probably increase, but actually getting new fans would still be a struggle. Those that don't/ no longer go will find likely another excuse , because for many it isn't really a case of can't afford or not going cos they can't stand/ get a pint. They simply do not want to go, no matter what the match day experience is.

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didnt john boyle try the price reduction for a motherwell home game against celtic one time, they got a full house, but made less profit overall (including food and drink, hospitality etc) than previous games against celtic when they had their normal ticket prices

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Yea, when you think about it clubs have done an incredible job over the last 25 years at stabilising their income, they have most their income banked before a ball is kicked, something that rather positive.

For the most part we, as many point out, do a pretty good job at getting fans through the gate, both when compared to other countries and to the past. This doesn't mean we should take it for granted tho.

I think an ideal way to try and get more fans in is to attempt to bring the positives from earlier decades(alcohol on sale, terracing) and combine that with the all-seater era positives we have now in terms of modern stadia that bring family's and businesses in.

We saw a big change in a short period of who clubs try and attract but their is no reason we can't try and satisfy all. it's a shame that it took over authoritative , reactionary legislation/ rules to force long overdue investment into grounds, had clubs spent the same cash on their own accord we could of had grounds suitable for all , where clubs could of still keep their relationship with the working class fan whilst being able to offer decent facilities suitable for family's and businesses.

Even then, fan satisfaction would probably increase, but actually getting new fans would still be a struggle. Those that don't/ no longer go will find likely another excuse , because for many it isn't really a case of can't afford or not going cos they can't stand/ get a pint. They simply do not want to go, no matter what the match day experience is.

Why does anyone need an 'excuse' to not go to games. Total w**k spouted by morons. People either want to go and go or don't want to and don't. Just why the f**k does anyone think anyone else should have to justify this or provide an 'excuse'?!

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Why does anyone need an 'excuse' to not go to games. Total w**k spouted by morons. People either want to go and go or don't want to and don't. Just why the f**k does anyone think anyone else should have to justify this or provide an 'excuse'?!

OK - keep your head in the sand and see how that works out.

The OP has an interesting suggestion.

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You think that established top flight clubs like Kilmarnock and Motherwell with average attendances in excess of 4000 should be in the same category as clubs like Airdrie who rarely reach four figures? And you think that these Premiership clubs should charge the same prices as teams in the third tier?

The price categories quoted there are ridiculous too. You'd be putting every single full-time team on that list out of business. How are Killie supposed to afford even the upkeep of our stadium if you cut our gate income by 60% or so? The logical extension of your "gazumping" argument is that if every club drops their ticket prices then the standard will reduce substantially across the board. Even more of our best players will move abroad and we'll have a substandard league with financially crippled clubs.

As opposed to what we have now?

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Why does anyone need an 'excuse' to not go to games. Total w**k spouted by morons. People either want to go and go or don't want to and don't. Just why the f**k does anyone think anyone else should have to justify this or provide an 'excuse'?!

I'm in full agreement with you. Nobody has to go, nor do they have to justify it. However for some reason people do use "excuses" rather than just saying they prefer to spend their cash/time elsewhere.

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didnt john boyle try the price reduction for a motherwell home game against celtic one time, they got a full house, but made less profit overall (including food and drink, hospitality etc) than previous games against celtic when they had their normal ticket prices

He did. He also did it against some "lesser light" (if you'll excuse the expression), let fans in for a fiver or something and I think he got a pretty decent crowd but again the profit was much reduced or even non-existent and that's the crux of the problem; if clubs cut prices by 25% they need a crowd increase of 33%, if they cut prices by 50% as the OP is suggesting they need to double attendances just to stand still.

It isn't happening.

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As opposed to what we have now?

As I wrote that I knew that someone would come up with that response. Clubs are just starting to get on a sound financial footing and the standard is slowly improving with more talented youngsters being introduced. Reducing their income substantially is a great way to stop both of those things.

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Sadly there's no chance of ever getting an apertura/clausura set-up in Scotland and certainly not one where the championship and particularly the UCL slot came down to a playoff at season's end. Besides which, the likelihood of a Rangers/Celtic championship playoff probably wouldn't be over popular with Police Scotland.

Likewise, the possibility of promotion/relegation in "mid-season" would be shot down before it was ever seriously considered because "budgets".

If, what was to happen (and it is what would happen) was that the title, European places and relegation was going to be decided by an aggregate table then the whole Autumn/Spring split becomes a pointless exercise.

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The standard is "slowly improving"... compared to when, and based on what evidence exactly?

And what does the existence or not of "talented youngsters" in Scottish football have to do with that overall standard of play? If they're not as good as a 30 year old French or Dutch player, the standard is diminished by the latter's absence. Indeed the precise reason why there are so many young Scottish players (and we're not going to stretch the word "talented" loosely enough to cover the majority of those) in the game now is because clubs were too skint to go out and identify superior players from elsewhere, as they had being doing for decades to far greater success than the current shitfest.

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Scottish football doesn't operate in a vacuum. We have to compete with leagues across Europe when it comes to signing players.

If you think that Tesco have to compete with an all-night petrol station outside Gdansk for your weekly shop, sure. The number of players dropping out of Scottish or indeed UK/Ireland football to play on the Continent is however, vanishingly low. On the other hand, any Scottish club with the resources and nous could easily dredge through several leagues where the wage demands would be far lower than in Scotland, in part due to the much lower costs/standard of living, in part due to the shocking attendances found in almost every similar-sized country, and even in much larger ones like the Czech Republic.

The only significant pressure for Scottish football clubs to keep their wages as high (or low) as they are now, is the presence of direct Scottish and, on occasion, English competitors who will offer more.

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Our (Pars') crowds are about a quarter of what they were 25 years ago. In relative terms I don't think it's any dearer to pay in at the gate. We spent the best part of a decade decimating the support, driving out those who had swelled the attendances and instead pursued the 'family market'.

With the help of the Police, Taylor Report and clueless directors we turned the matchday experience from a buzzing, if edgy, tribal one where with no/little planning boys could meet up, carry on how they wanted and enjoy a bit of time away from normal life. Seats made it impossible to just casually meet up with the old crowd, and week after week people would be ejected and not bother returning.

Now our hardcore support is the people we were chasing in the 90s. Yes, pockets of 'lads' still go but if you look at the profile of the home crowd in particular there are families, old codgers but very few big groups of men.

Despite poor form/lowly position we are holding up our crowds okay as we're doing more to attract the folk we spent time driving out. It's easy to pitch up at East End, get a good few drinks at the ground and the hospitality is doing well too. The social side becomes the habit - beers with a game of football in between.

The point? Just going to watch the football can be a cold, boring, miserable experience. Generating a buzz around a game is what gets folk interested.

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