We’ve consistently argued for solutions that are as fair as possible, and that benefit the broadest range of fans. And we’re pleased that the Club has listened to what we’ve said. We’d like to briefly set out the positions we’ve argued, and our views on what’s been decided.
Given the reduced capacity next season, our main aim was to maximise the number of tickets available for One Hotspur members. This meant clawing back as many seats as possible from player and staff allocations, partners, sponsors and any other strands to put into the General Admission (GA) pot. We are pleased to learn that there will be a reduction across the board where contracts allow, including a significant drop in Thomas Cook packages.
Maximising the number of members seats available on a match-by-match basis also meant removing the multi-game package option for next season, c 500 seats per game, and proportionately reducing the Official Supporters’ Club allocation pro rata. We understand this won’t be a popular move but it is worth remembering that every OSC member is also a One Hotspur member, and therefore has access to match tickets through their own membership, as well as through their Supporters’ Club.
Sadly, this also meant removing the Bronze priority window of 1,000 seats. There are currently 52,000 Bronze members, so this was never a guaranteed route to a ticket and, with limited choice on seating around the ground, very rarely saw full take up. Nevertheless, this has reduced the value of Bronze membership in our opinion. So we argued for a reduction in price to Lilywhite level for the forthcoming campaign. A reduction from £47 to £42. The Club felt the value in a Bronze membership package was still there, and that the price differential of £5 was to maintain a place on the Season Ticket waiting list each year. We disagree with this decision and have communicated this to THFC.
After making sure the pool of tickets available for One Hotspur members was the largest it could be, we then wanted to make sure that the way those tickets were allocated would be the fairest to most supporters.
Feedback from our fans strongly indicated that Category A matches should be allocated according to loyalty points for next season. The feeling was that the fans who’ve been to the most games over the past 4 seasons should be given the best possible chance of accessing tickets for the ‘bigger’ matches at the Lane next year. Loyalty points should be used to allocate tickets when demand massively outstrips supply, and this was one of those occasions. We’re pleased the Club agrees and that the six category A fixtures plus the last home game of the season will be determined by loyalty points.
We then wanted to ensure that the mechanism by which the remaining 12/13 games at the Lane were allocated gave as many members as possible the best shot at securing a ticket. After years of complaints about the 9.30am on-sale day pinch point, the failure of the Ticketmaster platform to cope with the volume of traffic and the lack of any trust in the online queuing system, operating these matches by ballot seemed preferable. This gives every member a chance to submit an application, and to apply in groups. Securing a home ticket was an online lottery in previous seasons and we consider the ballot option a fairer method for the final season at White Hart Lane.
Retaining StubHub means the chances of people bypassing the mechanisms set out above remains, and we made the point that this was one of the main reasons we opposed the deal. We would have liked to see filters put in place to ensure those purchasing tickets from the platform had sufficient points. But after the previous changes to the model, including a price cap and an end to resale (flipping), it seems unlikely the contract will be amended further. THFC will be discussing the issue with StubHub. Our position remains that we would prefer no deals of this type were signed, and that fans should exchange tickets for face value. At least the £150 price cap that we argued for and succeeded in securing means the risk of excessive profiteering has been countered.
After the £30 away price cap was secured across the Premier League, we argued that Platinum (away) season ticket sales should be frozen. There was some indication that people were planning to buy away season tickets in order to sell on tickets at inflated prices, and we wanted to prevent fans being exploited like this. The Club agreed and has frozen Platinum sales. All current Platinum ST holders will be able to renew.
We’ll comment on arrangements for UEFA Champions League matches at Wembley as soon as THFC is in a position to make further announcements for these games.
31 May 2016