Aston Villa - Villa Tickets - Catch 22
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Villa Tickets - Catch 22

Even with the best intentions you often come across a catch 22 when you take action.

This is one of those times as Villa have offered lapsed season ticket holders free tickets to the Blackburn game in order to try to lure them back to the Villa revolution.

Now to me, it makes good business sense when you aren't selling Villa Park out, to offer these incentives because even if they only tempt 5% back into the fold, it is 5% gained for no cost. Lets face it the seats would be empty and non-profit making anyway and in fact it would be 5% for a small profit with the giveaway because a) the noise at Villa Park would be louder with the extra fans cheering on the team - that can only help drive the team on b) those having free seats will still be buying programmes, drinks or food.

However, there are those who pay every year and some who struggle to afford it but never give up the faith. There are also those who follow the club no matter who is in charge, no matter what division they are in.

I'll hold my hands up - (did it for five minutes but then realised I couldn't type whilst my hands were in the air, so have had to put them down again now) - I am firmly in the camp (in the camp, not firmly camp you understand) of giving the tickets out for free to tempt customers in or back. I've suggested it before and although I can see the counter argument as below, I just think it makes pure economic sense to entice customers back, get people used to a once again full Villa Park and I enjoy the match day experience far more when we are full to the rafters. I guess the onus is now on the team to perform on Sunday because it is all well and good having those lapsed season ticket holders back for one game, but if they aren't shown that things have changed, then they'll still not be tempted to return again.

I got this sent to me the other day, I've removed the names but this was their argument which they sent to the club in complaint:

Me and my son have been season ticket holders for the past15 yrs, and last season was a bad one but we still stuck by the club, and renewed this year but we have been told that season ticket holders from last season that have virtually abandoned the club this year have been GIVEN free tickets for the blackburn game, this is totally unfair we have paid a lot of money to support the club through good times and bad, these people who pick and choose when to see the team play and this season they have not renewed are getting to see them FREE ,while we have to pay????

Villa v blackburn non loyal supporters entrance fee FREE,,,,, VILLA V BLACKBURN loyal supporters ,full price season ticket purchased ,so it stands to reason that all season ticket holders will get full refund for this game,or some sort of compensation NOT HAPPY

It certainly makes for interesting reading and I can see where his resentment comes from, but in my ever so humble opinion, I think us season ticket holders have just got to accept that in order for Aston Villa to move forward, we are going to have to try to pull back the disenfranchised and if that means we have paid and some haven't then I can live with that, I'd not really want to miss games like the lapsed season ticket holders have anyway, I like my seat too much for one thing (although my request to RAL for a cushioned seat, drinks dispenser and pop up umbrella STILL hasn't been heeded, I mean, what is with these guys!!!!?).

Lets face it, there has been scant reward for Villa fans over recent years and although I always go down there have been times where I've wondered why and I wouldn't lambaste any fan who decided enough was enough after the poor displays on and off the pitch last season. I have been disappointed with some of the attendances this season and as people have said numerous times, the main way to attract fans back is to buy the top quality players and start winning, I did however think with Martin O'Neill in charge and Randy Lerner et al at the helm, there would have been a leap of faith.

I have to be honest, I would go one further, I'd give tickets away to local schools, cub scouts and definitely local cheerleader training school students (bear with me, I live in my own world, but at least I know all the people and have a good time) as long as they all had to sit in the Lower Trinity C5. In fact, I'd go so far as to share my seat with one such cheerleader, as long as that seat was cushioned, had my drinks dispenser and afore mentioned pop up umbrella surely that isn't too much to ask?!

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday November 2 2006

Time: 9:00AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
JF: You didn't get a cushioned seat, drinks dispenser and pop-up umbrella? Strange that...I did :-)
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 09:20:00

I can understand the argument if giving away free tickets was a regular thing. But as far as I can see it is a one off to lure the fans back and give them the experience of enjoying Villa again. Am I correct in saying that these free tickets have been targeted specifically? Or have they just handed them out to anyone?
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 09:21:00

Targetted specifically to lapsed season ticket holders PaulG, makes sense to try to get them back in so they can once again catch the Villa bug!
The Fear
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 09:25:00

Jonah, you are banned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Fear
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 09:25:00

Did I mention it is a heated, cushioned seat? Seriously though. I can understand why some season ticket holders will be annoyed but, like you, I think its a good idea. As you said the seats would have been empty anyway presumably (cant see a full house against Blackburn) and if just a small percentage of those that take up the offer end up buying season tickets its good for the club
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 09:29:00

Well that's just the final straw jonah, the final straw I tells you!
The Fear
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 09:43:00

Thanks for clarifying that The Fear! I don't see a problem as long as it is not a regular thing. At least they are not targeting free loaders who can't be arsed to get a job! I've had to pay for my Blackburn ticket and I went many a match last year! A good business decsion me thinks by looking at the long term revenue potential.
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 09:49:00

Oh dear, some people will moan at anything and the answer for them is to have another 20 years of DD type rule with no incentives and no innovation. Get real. A free ticket for the Blackburn game, probably in the North Stand, does not compare with the opportunity to buy your own seat for the season where you want it, to get a discount against normal prices for the best games and to get the other benefits such as 10% off in the shop. Also you are marked out as a supporter. Every entertainment business gives away free tickets (called papering) at some point. So whinger, whoever you are, get your head out of the sand, shout for the team and hope your voice is one of many and not one of a few.
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 10:10:00

For many reasons, was in the army between 73 and 92, then lived in the frozen north for a few years, then the states, now Luton, I have never had a season ticket. To be honest, under the old regime I don't think I would have bought one anyway even if I had stayed in Brum, but am now seriously thinking of buying the half season tickets for me and the missus and getting a full one next season. The times they are a changing and I have most definitely got 'the bug' again!!
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 10:10:00

And another thing on tickets, if you buy a Man Utd & Chelsea Adult ticket you get a Bolton ticket for FREE. So as season ticket holder for 15 years WHERE IS MY FREE TICKET?? (My first moan of the revolution) Sorry Randy!
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 10:11:00

As the allocation for the Chelsea game was snapped up by season ticket holders, it is only season ticket holders benefitting from the free travel. Seems like a great perk to me. Quania I understand your frustration. I hate the thought of somebody sitting next to me who has paid less than me, even though I am a season ticket holder. However for the first time in years it is good to see the club trying initiatives. When trying new ideas mistakes will be made, some people will be upset, but hopefully over time the club will identify ideas and marketing initiatives that are acceptable to the vast majority. I have already said what I would have done for the Manure - Bolton tickets. If you take 30 as a ticket price I would have done the following. The Manure game would have been charged at 45 if purchased on its own. If purchased with the Bolton (or other similar less attractive game) ticket then you would get the two games for 55 - a saving of a fiver. The Bolton ticket if purchased on its own would still be 30. This means that the club generates maximum revenue from those fans who only pick the 'big' games to come. It also means we can charge away fans the same amount (more money for the club). It also means that those fans who come regularly but who, for whatever reason, can not have a season ticket are incentivised as well. The only people paying more are those who only come to the Manure game (often Manure fans in home sections of the ground) and away fans. Seems logical to me. UTV
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 10:44:00

Fortunately buying my season tickets has never been a financial hardship to me, and maybe thats why I'm absolutely 100% in favour of giving away free seats at selected games in attempts to lure back ex season-ticket holders, bring in youngsters from schools and/or youth organisations, or just generally to fill up seats in the hope of attracting borderline supporters into the fold. I'm all for it, simply because it makes absolute sense, and in the long run will benefit the club.
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 18:30:00

What about giving some season ticket holders some free tickets to give to Villa friends. This way they feel valued, get some cudos with their mates and everyones a winner. Perhaps by application so the tickets aren't wasted. I know tons of Villa fans who may be enticed back with the offer of a ticket.
Report Abuse
02/11/2006 21:58:00

I happen to be one of those who disagree about free tickets. I fully support the one off offer to ex season ticket holders for Sundays game but only as a one off. However giving free tickets away to other fans is a marketing no no. When you allow people in for free you are effectively going against your season ticket holders. So glensider, I am pleased that the purchase of a season ticket is not a sacrifice to you. But for some people it means scrimping and saving, and going without in some areas of their life because of the passion and committment they are showing the club. If I was putting myself out in support of the club and the club started letting in fans for free, then I would not buy my season tickets for my family and myself. When you give tickets away for free, what you are effectively saying is 'the value of watching the Villa is nil'. What happens if you come to a game for free and it is rubbish. Would you then pay 30 next time. Of course not. It is about time some fans had a reality check. It is a fact of life that there will be people who can not or will not attend games. The job of the club is to encourage as many people as possible to attend and to get the most revenue possible. It is unbelievable what some people are advocatting. On one hand they want the club to spend millions in the transfer market and on the other they want fans to get in for free. If you think the free way is the best way, then try that at your local TV store. Go and tell them that you can not afford the 42' plasma but you could probably stretch to the 49 Alba portable in the corner. Then see if they offer you the plasma as a good will gesture!!!! UTV
Report Abuse
03/11/2006 09:47:00

I agree totally VOTH. In marketing terms it is vital that you do not devalue the product. Simply put, if you do not want to pay for it, then you can not have it. It is up to the club to do what is necessary to encourage more fans, to spend more money with the club. Giving tickets away free is suicide.
Report Abuse
03/11/2006 13:17:00

I can see the arguments both for and against this proposition but in my judgement it is totally wrong to give away free tickets to those that can afford them. From a survey I carried out last year the main reason why fans were not renewing was 1. Ellis was chairman and 2. Poor performances. 1. is no longer an excuse and 2. will be a problem, but a diminishing one as time goes by (hopefully). I do not believe that selling a few thousand more season tickets is a pareticularly high priority what we want is 42,000 at every home game even if we fill it with kids and/or the unemployed who can't afford to buy a ticket. The other thing that annoys me intensely is the many hundreds, if not thousands of season tickets which are wasted (ie the Fulham game) when their holders, for whatever reason choose not to attend. Surely a way can be found for someone to benefit and be able to support the team instead of having these empty seats!
Report Abuse
03/11/2006 16:16:00

Something very definitely has to be done. Attendances to date are very disappointing, but then again of course, attendances seem to be down everywhere.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 02:08:00


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