The Club has decided to reduce the number of One Hotspur member on-sale windows from 19 to 7 for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign. We have concerns around the ability of Ticketmaster to deliver a platform capable of coping with the increased traffic the truncated sales windows will cause. The new system means the need for a reliable queuing system that has the confidence of members is greater than ever.
We are told that the improvements needed to implement a credible queuing system will not be completed until the end of September, after almost half of the sales windows have closed. So, for at least the first three windows, the user experience will be as erratic as it has been to date.
With the demand for tickets sky high in the new stadium, inevitably more members than not will miss out during these windows. This was already the case for games played in our new home last season; the difference now being members left waiting on the notorious ‘wheel of doom’ will potentially miss out on up to three home games in one hit, not just one.
We also have concerns around the financial impact of buying up to three matches at once and around the complexities of purchasing up to three individual games in one site visit.
The Club say they have introduced these changes to benefit fans by streamlining and improving the member experience. Yet this new system has been implemented without member consultation, without member demand and against the recommendation of their recognised fan group. In our opinion, we felt undertaking a period of consultation with One Hotspur members and delaying any changes until Ticketmaster had made essential technical upgrades would have been the most practical and sensible approach.
MATCH CATEGORIES FOR THE NEW PREMIER LEAGUE CAMPAIGN
Along with the change to the sales process, the Club has also altered the mix of Premier League match categories for the 2019/20 campaign. Historically, the 19 matches were broken down into 6 x Category A matches, 6/7 x Category B matches and 6/7 x Category C matches. While it is pleasing to see one less top-priced Category A game, it is not pleasing to see that 9 games will now be charged at the Category B rate, leaving just 5 games at the most accessible Category C price point.
We are grateful that one match has been recategorised from B to C after our meeting but consider the current split to be unbalanced. We recommended reducing three of the then ten Category B matches to Category C, which would have left the breakdown as 5 x A, 7 x B and 7 x C. The Club has recognised the issue with the new categorisation split by reducing one game from B to C, but this is the barest minimum it could have done.
We were told the new category breakdown meant season ticket holders were effectively getting a discount on the 19 league matches. Trying to position a price rise for members as a win for season ticket holders was an admirable display of PR spin but it’s not wise to try to play off one set of fans against another. And having checked our bank accounts, we’re still looking for that ‘discount’.
Make no mistake, this is a price rise. With ticket prices already the highest in Europe, and the Club boasting of the £800,000 per game it is making from fans at each home fixture, how much more will the Club feel justified in asking for?
We have sought assurances that the Club will continue with its progressive pricing policy for domestic cup matches, keeping home League Cup fixtures and FA Cup fixtures outside of match categorisation and are reassured that will be the case. We are currently awaiting a decision on pricing for Champions League matches.
TICKET EXCHANGE AND TICKET SHARE
There is some good news in that both Ticket Exchange and Ticket Share have been finessed to offer a better experience to both season ticket holders and members. We’ll monitor feedback on both platforms and continue to raise any issues with the ticketing team throughout the season.
4 July 2019