Has it been a blunder not to make Newcastle v Burton a ‘local promotion’ match?
Or maybe the question is…is it beneath us to take advantage of the ‘local promotion’ rules?
If you weren’t aware, every club in the Championship can designate up to four matches per season as ‘local promotion’ games.
EFL Regulation 34.2.11 states:
‘Discounts or special promotions (in each case for one match only) made available to supporters of the Home Club must also be made available on a similar basis to visiting supporters provided always that each Club shall be permitted to designate four (4) Matches per Season as ‘local promotion’ Matches where this Regulation shall be deemed not to apply.
Clubs shall notify The League of the Matches so designated as and when they are designated.’
So basically, this season Newcastle United could have chosen up to four games where they dropped prices for their own supporters but still charged away fans the usual rate.
The rule was brought in to try and help clubs below the Premier League to use certain matches in an attempt to stimulate more interest and attract more fans, hoping to the prick their interest longer-term and boost regular gates.
You might ask, why would Newcastle United want to do this?
Averaging over fifty one thousand at home in the Championship and with crowds that dwarf any of the other 23 clubs.
Well, if you look at the crowds this season, there are a few that stick out – relatively speaking.
Back in August/September, Newcastle had crowds of 48,209 against Reading and 48,236 when Norwich (see image above) visited.
Both attendances some four thousand short of capacity.
Maybe surprisingly, the very lowest crowd of the season, so far, came only last month, 47,909 at the QPR game.
All three matches had two common denominators: midweek games against clubs who brought very few supporters.
On Wednesday 5 April, Newcastle host Burton and the visitors have taken a minimal 1,107 tickets – and when reading comments from their supporters, they think they will be lucky to bring even 500 fans to the game.
The atmosphere is bad enough at St James Park without the possibility/probability of four or five thousand empty seats adding to the problem.
In this final stretch of games, Newcastle need to ensure that they get every advantage possible and I think it would have been a real positive to cut the prices for this Burton match, plus possibly the Preston one that is a televised Monday night game.
The Burton game isn’t in the school holidays and with normal adult tickets starting at £27 it isn’t an easy sell to match by match supporters, especially with the Wigan home game only four days beforehand.
Newcastle had no hesitation in slashing home prices for certain matches in the Premier League when trying to fill seats as supporters rebelled against Mike Ashley’s running of the club.
It is arguable that the club wouldn’t even lose money if they managed to fill the ground for Burton at a lower price on match by match tickets.