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Opinion

Newcastle v Leeds tickets – Not sure Mike Ashley raising prices to £40 is the way to sell out

6 days ago
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The Newcastle v Leeds tickets have now gone on sale.

At the moment sales restricted to members / season ticket holders, with then general sale starting on Wednesday.

The West Ham match was a real novelty, the first game at St James Park in a year and a half when all Newcastle United fans could buy tickets. A crowd of 50,673 helping to temporarily paper over the cracks after over 10,000 season tickets went unsold this summer.

The novelty swiftly wearing off though, as with only the second Premier League home match of the season, Mike Ashley saw over eight thousand empty seats at St James Park, with a crowd of 44,017.

The cheapest adult prices for both opening PL home matches (with exception of family enclosure) were £36 for Newcastle fans.

Interesting to see that Mike Ashley has reacted to the 8,000+ empty seats last time, by putting prices UP for when Newcastle v Leeds tickets go on general sale tomorrow. Instead of £36 minimum for adults (outside family enclosure), the cheapest is £40 for the game in ten days time (8pm Friday 17 September) with cheapest junior tickets (outside family area) set at £20.

Leeds is of course the closest thing we have to a derby as things stand and whilst West Ham brought 3,000 fans and Southampton 950, Leeds have taken the maximum 3,200 allocation and will surely sell out. It is over seventeen years since Leeds fans were last inside St James Park for a Premier League match, Alan Shearer getting the only goal of the game back in 2004, so they will be loving having the chance to come here for a top tier match and the night / weekend away for many of them.

Looking at the official NUFC ticketing website, on Tuesday morning I counted up 8,710 empty seats in the home sections with ten days to go, as well as an unknown number of corporate tickets that will still be available.

This match is of course live on Sky Sports on a Friday night, so it will be interesting to see how many supporters will be willing to pay £40 or more for a seat when these Newcastle v Leeds tickets go on sale.

Maybe Mike Ashley relying on older Newcastle fans who were around when Leeds was seen as a big grudge match back in the day, or possibly thinking plenty of Leeds fans will look to buy tickets in home areas with the 3,200 official allocation likely to quickly sell out. Those 3,200 official away tickets have a maximum price of £30 due to the Premier League agreed rules to encourage away travel and better atmospheres at matches.

When it comes to home match ticket sales, Mike Ashley has been pretty lucky in terms of the opposition and their relative appeal in the early months of the season, after Leeds, it is then Tottenham and Chelsea at home. Though looking further ahead it will be interesting to see how many empty seats are on show by the time Newcastle face Brentford on Saturday 20 November and then especially a cracking duo of home matches currently scheduled for Wednesday 1 December and Saturday 4 December, Norwich and Burnley the visitors.

It was of course December 2019 when Mike Ashley announced the astonishing and humiliating decision to hand out 10,000 free season tickets to fill up the massive gaps of empty seats next to his retail empire’s adverts. The owner’s ongoing presence and Steve Bruce’s tactics and football combining to drive Newcastle fans away from matches.

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