Newcastle United announced on Tuesday night that Mike Ashley was freezing adult season ticket prices for next (2016/17) season and knocking ‘up to 54%’ off Under 18s season tickets.
The club admitted they didn’t have all the details to release yet, which kind of suggests they were definitely trying for some easy/cheap PR points on the back of the negative story surrounding Liverpool’s ticket pricing at an enlarged Anfield next season.
In light of the extra £40m-£50m every Premier League club will receive each season as from the next campaign, it is of course a nonsense that any club would have the audacity to raise any season ticket, or indeed individual matchday ticket.
In fact, clubs should feel obliged to reduce all ticket prices for all fans, so all of can share in this glorious new era for English football…
However, going back to the case of Newcastle in particular, Mike Ashley has predictably picked up some of that easy/soft PR coverage for last night’s announcement but surely it is transparent why he has really not put the prices up?
Newcastle United haven’t sold out St James Park for 14 (FOURTEEN) months now, the last occasion being the 3-2 win over Everton on 28 December 2014, ironically Alan Pardew’s last ever match as Newcastle manager…
Ignoring everything else for a moment, if you can’t sell the ground out as it stands, why on earth would you then put your prices up and empty it even further?
It is all a bit of a myth anyway that Newcastle fans get a great deal compared to the rest of the Premier League, a handful such as Arsenal and Chelsea are stupidly priced but that is not the case elsewhere.
You only have to look at the likes of West Ham’s new stadium, their cheapest season tickets are £289 and all Under 16s season tickets are £99.
At Manchester City, when they expanded the stadium for this season, they brought in a new price strategy and started their adult season tickets at £299 to put bums on seats.
In comparison, if you decided to get a season ticket at Newcastle this current season then the cheapest (outside the family enclosure) is £525 for adults and junior tickets £250.
That lowest price band is only for a very small part of St James Park and the vast majority of season tickets start at a minimum of £578 for adults and £272 for juniors – this being the price for typical Gallowgate and Leazes season tickets.
So whilst Newcastle didn’t have the actual details last night when they took advantage for their PR hit, those typical seats in the Gallowgate and Leazes (unless you are on a long-term deal) will be £578 for adults and £147 (£272 minus 54%) for Juniors at the cheapest.
Mike Ashley will charge as much as he thinks he can get away with for all season tickets and matchday tickets.
As well as keeping ticket prices as high as possible for ordinary Newcastle fans, Ashley has all kinds of secret ticket schemes with the likes of universities/students, civil service, police etc etc where vastly discounted tickets are sold to try and keep attendances up, whilst at the same time not undermining the prospects of keep selling full price tickets to the normal fans.
Why on earth would he treat Newcastle fans any better than he treats his own staff at Sports Direct?
The only game that will be a guaranteed sellout at St James Park this season will be when Sunderland visit and surprise surprise, what happens to ticket prices then?
That’s right, they are around double what is charged for some of the hardest games to sell at St James Park.
It is demand and supply, pure and simple. If he could charge those derby day prices for every match do you honestly think he wouldn’t?!!!
Mike Ashley has ran Newcastle United into the ground year after year and only now he has seen that relegation was a very likely reality, has he been forced to spend significant amounts in the transfer windows to try and save his Premier League advertising for Sports Direct, as well as protect his asset (Newcastle United) from a potential major devaluation (a bit like the value of his Sports Direct shares recently…) in the summer.
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