In Phase 1, 70% of existing season ticket holders accepted their recommended seat at Wembley. In Phase 2, all but c 300 existing season ticket holders selected and purchased a seat of their choice. Phase 3 now sees the Club offer new season tickets to those in the top 18,465 of the Bronze waiting list. While we have made our view on pricing clear, we also recognise that successfully moving the vast majority of season ticket holders to new seats they are satisfied with in a new stadium is a significant achievement. We’re particularly pleased the Club has listened to fans’ preference for retaining the current block relationships and for their flexibility in accommodating specific requests throughout this migration phase. This has been a major area of discussion between us and the Club.
PHASE 3 PROCESS
The first wave of offers will go out by email, and hopefully SMS, to juniors in the top 18,465 of the Bronze waiting list who are linked by name, postal address or email address to existing adult season ticket holders. Priority will be given to enable new junior season ticket holders to sit with parents or guardians. This seems a logical step, and one which we know fans have requested.
The first full window will then open for adults and seniors in places 1 to 4,500 on the waiting list. Window 2 will cover those from 4,501 to 9,000 and so on down to window 4, with everyone up to number 18,465 on the waiting list offered a season ticket.
We pushed for an extension to the suggested duration of each window and are pleased the Club subsequently extended those as far as possible. It’s fair to say this is a tight timetable all round but we think a balance has been struck.
HANDLING THE WAITING LIST
We made our position on how we thought the Bronze list should be handled clear in the minutes of our February meeting and May meeting with the THFC Board, and in our comment piece when Phase 1 of this process opened.
We felt members who did not wish to accept the offer of a season ticket at Wembley should still be guaranteed the offer of a season ticket at the new stadium. The Club agreed with this approach at our meeting in May and indicated it would be adopted for Phase 3.
Then, less than 48 hours before Phase 3 was announced, we were told that the Club now felt the “fairest” method was to handle Bronze members in the same way they'd handled existing season ticket holders and to offer no deferment.
We disagree with this decision. Members have paid to stay on the waiting list on the understanding that it was for a ticket at our home stadium in Tottenham. While Wembley was the preferred choice for the Club’s year away from N17, we knew there would be practical difficulties for a proportion of members getting to Wembley next season.
We also disagree with the decision to offer no sabbatical for existing season ticket holders. And we disagree with the view that the offer to an existing season ticket holder to renew a season ticket is directly comparable to the offer of a new season ticket to a member on the waiting list.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRONZE MEMBERS
Bronze members in the top 18,465 of the waiting list will be offered a season ticket. If that is taken up, they are permanent season ticket holders. If they reject the offer, they maintain their place on the waiting list and will be offered another chance at a season ticket when they are next available. That complies with terms and conditions, and is the same situation as has existed previously. We believe that as circumstances have now changed, those on the waiting list should have been given the option to defer until next season.
Roughly 500 season ticket holders drop out for various reasons each season. A process called ‘churn’. It is possible there will be a limited number of season tickets available in the new stadium in addition to the usual churn, but this won't be guaranteed. So, to guarantee a season ticket in the new stadium, those offered season tickets this summer will need to take up that offer.
EASING THE BURDEN
To make the financial commitment less of a burden, we've checked the payment options. The V12 instalment finance scheme is available to spread payments over a 10-month period, interest-free (with a small set-up charge). The Club will include full details of how to apply through V12 Finance in their upcoming communications.
Also, Junior and Senior One Hotspur members offered season tickets will be eligible for concessionary pricing in every area of Wembley, priced at 40% of the full adult rate.
THFC wants to keep all season ticket holders together in Levels 1 and 2, the lower tiers. There will be limited options in Level 5, the upper tier.
We understand the desire to fill the lower tiers for atmosphere reasons, and also to give the option not to open up to full capacity for every game. But closing off the option of cheaper season tickets throughout all of Level 5 restricts choice and is regrettable, particularly when the pricing structure the Club has chosen is considered.
We will be monitoring availability as Phase 3 moves into window 4 to ensure members are not being asked to pay top prices for seats in Levels 1 and 2 and that sufficient choice is made available in Level 5.
We stressed that the interactive seating plan needs to be compatible with all browsers and that the correct prices need to be displayed when Bronze members are selecting their seats: problems which caused issues during Phase 2.
The Club tells us the interactive seating option cannot currently be made available on iOS. So fans need to use a Windows-based device that supports Flash in order to view the interactive seating plan. We are now assured this will be rectified for the first match day on-sale window of the new season.
We have also stressed that the ability to select seats in groups but pay individually, as happened in Phase 2, needs to be made available to new season ticket holders. We’re currently awaiting confirmation this will be the case.
THFC has agreed to update THST on the take up after the initial 18,465 offers have gone out. Next steps will then be agreed regarding the approach for those outside the top 18,465 One Hotspur members. This will be during w/c 26 June.
We have asked that the Club ask fans rejecting the offer of a season ticket for their reasoning, something that could inform any next steps.
Phase 4 will open in early July and those not offered a season ticket will have the option of purchasing a one season pass for Wembley only. Price and quantity available will be confirmed at the close of the Phase 3 windows.
We are still awaiting confirmation of match day pricing and the pricing for the rest of Level 5. We believe this information should have been made available as soon as season tickets went on sale. Fans are being asked to buy season tickets when the prices of the sum of its parts are yet to be determined, and this cannot be right, especially in the unique circumstances of this season.
MORE TO COME
There are still a few pieces of information on ticketing to come, and we will continue to comment on them and provide clarification where necessary. There is a lot of information to give out because of the unique circumstances we are now in, and we understand the Club does not want to overload people with detail. We would have preferred an approach that saw all the top-line information given at once so fans had an overall picture, after which detailed information could have been released step by step. The Club has opted for a different approach, so we are trying to provide as clear a picture as we can within those parameters.
We know fans still want to hear about match day pricing and the ticket exchange, among other things, and we understand announcements on these subjects are in the pipeline. As we have emphasised, all decisions are made by the Club, so we have to wait for their announcements before releasing any comment of our own.
We will be providing further comment as more information is released in the coming days and weeks.
7 June 2017