We are pleased that fans will once again not be facing real increases in the price of their Season Tickets, and that top-line prices are lower than this year. Our minimum objective was ticket price parity and that has been achieved and, in most cases, exceeded. However, we have mixed feelings about the overall packages on offer and would have expected the pricing to have been more in line with the proposals we submitted last month.
In brief, the headline developments are:
• No Season Ticket seat at Wembley will cost more than the equivalent price at White Hart Lane, accounting for the loss of two cup games. The majority will cost less
• Every Season Ticket holder will have the choice to move into a seat at the price point they prefer, starting at £695
• Up to 18,000 new Season Tickets will be opened up to the waiting list giving Bronze members the opportunity to start their Season Ticket life this summer
• Concessions for Juniors and Seniors will apply throughout the stadium
However, once the loss of two cup games, extra travel costs for many fans, and the more expensive facilities at Wembley are factored in, any reduction in the cost of attending a match for the majority of General Admission fans is negligible. We would have liked the Club to have gone further.
However, our dialogue with the Club has resulted in some significant concessions being secured from the original proposals we were presented with, demonstrating the value of those discussions.
Let’s look at the key points in more detail.
SEASON TICKET PRICING
All current Season Ticket holders taking a Season Ticket in any Level 1 (lower tier) area at Wembley will pay no more than they did this season for an equivalent Season Ticket package. The majority will pay less.
Fans will be able to choose another seat if they are not happy with their suggested seat, meaning all Season Ticket holders will be able to access the full range of price points on offer in Level 1, starting from £695.
There is also a Club Wembley option should fans wish to take that.
These reductions are welcomed. However, we feel the Club could have gone further. Throughout our discussions, the Club emphasised it wanted to take an approach that maximised attendance at our games at Wembley. This approach tied in with the highly successful pricing policy used during our European campaign this season, and with the reasoning the Club used when applying to Brent Council to secure the option to use Wembley Stadium’s full 90,000-seat capacity throughout the 2017-18 season.
While we did manage to significantly reduce the pricing originally suggested for Wembley’s South Level 1 stand for existing East Stand holders wishing to relocate to ‘equivalent’ seating at Wembley, we don’t think the current offer of a £50 reduction, once the loss of two cup games is factored in, is a particularly generous one.
We asked the Club for the full rationale behind the price points announced today, and encouraged them to clearly articulate how the Season Ticket package is comprised. This information hasn’t been forthcoming.
Match day pricing is yet to be confirmed. No figures have been shared with the Trust at this stage. Without knowing the price points for individual matches, it isn't possible to form a clear opinion on the value this Season Ticket pricing represents.
We also argued for Season Ticket holders to have a choice of seats across Level 5 (upper tier) where pricing is anticipated to be lower. The Club decided not to offer this choice outside the front sections of the South and North stands at Wembley. There is logic in keeping Season Ticket holders mainly in the lower bowl. This will ensure it’s full for most matches, which will help with the atmosphere. It also means there will be fewer relocation issues should the Club decide not to open at full capacity for some games. But it does take away from Season Ticket holders the option to purchase a potentially cheaper package.
The Club has removed the two cup vouchers from the Season Ticket package, which now covers 19 home league games only. We think this is sensible, as it gives flexibility to sell European fixtures in groups again and doesn't commit all Season Ticket holders to midweek fixtures they may not wish, or be able, to attend. The Club has deducted £50 from all Season Tickets to reflect the loss of these two cup credits. We have pointed out that we would, therefore, expect the first two cup games at home to be priced at £25 or below.
Some current Season Ticket holders will see their price for a Season Ticket at Wembley has dropped by more than £50. This additional reduction appears to be entirely random, which is again why we are asking for a full breakdown of the Season Ticket proposition.
Concessions for under 18’s and over 65’s will be available all around the stadium at the current percentage discount. Giving Juniors and Seniors the option to sit in more than just the one stand we've seen traditionally at White Hart Lane is a welcome development, and something we hope to see carried over into the new stadium.
NEW SEASON TICKET HOLDERS
We are pleased that Bronze members currently in the top 18,000 of the waiting list will be offered the chance to start their life as a Season Ticket holder at Wembley and continue that into the new stadium. We are lobbying for those Bronze members at the top of the waiting list who would prefer to wait until we're back in the new stadium to take up the option to be able to do so.
We understand the Club will be sharing more details with Bronze members in due course.
For the past three years, we have lobbied for the option of an amnesty (a sabbatical) for Season Ticket holders for the season away. We believed fans should be offered a choice. Despite initially agreeing to an amnesty in whatever temporary venue the team played in, the Club Board took this off the table last year when the option on Wembley was announced.
As reported in minutes from earlier meetings with the Club, the Club's Board had concerns about Season Ticket revenue potentially showing a dip. They also felt that, by granting a blanket amnesty, people who ‘just don't like’ Wembley would opt out for the year rather than solely those with genuine difficulties.
We continued to press the case for choice, but the option of an amnesty has not been granted for next season.
We are currently establishing whether it will be possible to offer an individual appeals process on a case by case basis and will articulate with fans as soon as the Club confirms either way.
The lack of a blanket amnesty means we now need to focus on how to practically minimise difficulties for fans who will struggle travelling to and from Wembley next season.
From the feedback we've had from fans, the biggest issue for those who will have a more difficult journey to Wembley is the midweek matches. By removing the first two home cup ties from the Season Ticket package, fans have not been asked to commit up front to an additional two matches that they may find difficult to attend. So with all cup games being sold outside of the Season Ticket package, we can focus on the league programme.
There are three scheduled rounds of midweek fixtures across a 38 game league programme. There could be more individual fixtures if games are displaced due to cup involvement later in the season. Obviously, not all of the three league fixtures will be at home. There are also Bank Holiday fixtures, including Boxing Day, when no trains are running, to consider. In addition, there is the chance that some league matches could be moved to Friday night or Monday night broadcast slots.
We will talk to the Club and with the broadcasters, following up on the work we are already undertaking with them around fixture rescheduling for TV, and ask that the number of Wembley games scheduled for a Monday or Friday night is minimised.
We will also ask the Club to register midweek transport difficulties with the Premier League when submitting their 'special request' forms before the league schedule is compiled.
Once the fixture list is out, we will take another look at the most potentially difficult games for fans to attend in more detail.
The lack of an amnesty for Season Ticket holders means it is critical there is a viable and fair resale platform. We are pushing hard for this to be taken back in house, to operate at face value only and to trigger once a section has sold out, not the entire stadium.
We will let you know as soon as we are made aware of the Club's decision on this.
We expect the full offer to members and the full match day pricing plan to be announced soon. We will update with explanations of the positions we lobbied for and our reaction as soon after those announcements are made as we can.
2 May 2017