“Tickets Please……

Given the amazing news of our Takeover, many will feel they want to re-engage with a club they’ve walked away from. The feel good factor is spreading across the fanbase and emotions are running high about what should happen in terms of ticket availability and prices

Ticket Price Increases? 

Its been said that ticket prices going up are inevitable under the new regime. One of the benefits of Mike Ashley’s Bargain Basement Mags is that ticket prices have largely been affordable, but I believe the new regime have an opportunity to increase matchday revenue whilst ensuring football is affordable for the masses.

Home Ticket Caps:

£30 Adults £15 kids in Milburn and East Stand per game (ST cost of £513/£256.50)

£25 Adults £12.50 kids in Gallowgate and Leazes per game (ST cost of £427.50/£213.75)

Freeze ticket prices in Family Enclosure (ST Holder only area)

Domestic Cup/UEL/U Conference tickets to be half price of PL fixture if bought at least 24 hours in advance of KO

UCL Tickets to be same price as PL fixtures

Make up any shortfall in Corporate and Hospitality areas

Now for around 20,000 fans on prize freeze deals this will likely represent an increase in ST price, however there will be many fans where this will be a significant reduction for them. I don’t have the data admittedly, but putting this into place and committing to keep the prices for “seat only” tickets low will ensure continued engagement and reward for those fans who have kept their faith in the club.

As for price rises in Corporate areas, this club now has an aura of ambition around it, with passionate supporters who are United behind the side. That means these areas can charge more and be more lucrative as a result.

Loyalty Points – if it’s not broke…..? 

Those who know me through the Fans Forum will know I used to represent Members, and my main focus was how do we make sure that the system is fair for all. As a former ST Holder who accrued around 35-40 points I really like our Loyalty Point system, but I don’t think it’s fair for all. The principles are good, but I think 3 tweaks would make it fairer:

1 – Accrue points for all games attended (1 for Home and 2 for Away).

2 – Allow BOTH Members and ST Holders to accrue points.

3 – Set in a 10 year rolling period for points.

Now for full disclosure at this point, this scheme would put me on zero points currently, as I haven’t been a member for 2 years. If I’d renewed my membership in that time, I’d sit on around 110 points under this system, for context that would still put me behind a ST Holder for the last 6 years who hasn’t bought any additional tickets. This isnt about personal gain, it’s about how can we make this more fair.

I think it’s fairer than the suggestion that anyone who has walked away in the last few years could come back and “reclaim all their points” which was a suggestion made during the relaunch of NUST in 2019. It means that if someone felt they couldnt afford their Season Ticket they could become a member retaining points accrued from the last 10 years and be in a position to still accrue points until their circumstances changed. It means that if someone was as an example made redundant, they don’t have to go through a potentially degrading process to “prove their status” in order to retain their points in an “exceptional circumstance”. It means that fans could opt to become a member of they have to relocate for work, but can then still accrue points for games attended in that time.

The 10 year rule for me rewards those who have followed us through the worst of times. In the last 10 years we’ve experienced the high of a 5th place finish and a Europa League campaign, and a top ten finish. The rest of that time we’ve been a club satisfied with battling relegation and winning the championship in 2016. There will be fans who have kept their Season Ticket and rarely travel but maybe did a lot during Keegan/Robson era. These points don’t expire so they remain all these years later, and lots of these fans will take tickets for Sunderland Away or Bruges Away etc. Finally, as a general principle it’s fairer that loyalty points remain for those who continue to go rather that those who go less. I certainly travel less now than when I was unattached or a student, people have different priorities in life – but those who continue to travel rightly should continue to accrue points and be in a stronger position for those tickets.

There will be many fans who have traveled consistently regardless, and those fans wouldn’t be negatively impacted. Making these changes would give the club a reason to keep the membership scheme in place, whilst rewarding loyalty fairly. Those who go more often will end up being able to get tickets easier and that’s absolutely the way it should be.

New Season Tickets

There will be those worried about being unable to attain a Season Ticket now we’ve had this takeover and a wave of positivity is engrained in the club. If we end up over-subscribed I do think the fairest way is to review previous purchase history and prioritise purchases then waiting list criteria that way. There is no perfect formula that will please everyone. I feel strongly though that anyone who hasn’t been a member or ST Holder shouldn’t be able to reclaim old points they lost due to them leaving the club altogether.”

Jon Lane