Rovers unveil season ticket plan

HOLDING JOB: Rovers chief executive John Williams has frozen

season ticket prices



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BLACKBURN Rovers have agreed to freeze season ticket prices as part of a bold plan to entice more fans to Ewood Park next season.

Rovers' chief executive John Williams has revealed that season tickets will be frozen at 2003/04 prices when the offers are sent out next week.

And in some areas, prices will actually be slashed in a radical move that bucks the trend being set by many of Rovers' Premiership rivals.

Rovers will unveil a host of new offers aimed at increasing the number of season ticket holders, including a reduced payment direct debit scheme, junior season tickets at £70, a special family ticket, and discount off matchday magazines.

In addition, the club have also struck a deal with Travelcare, the UK's largest independent travel provider, which will entitle all season ticket holders to £50 off any holiday.

Williams hopes the strategy can help Rovers to win back the 1,500 season ticket holders they lost last season.

And he believes the overall package probably represents the best value in the Premiership, particularly at a time when certain clubs have increased their prices by up to 30 per cent.

"I think we've been more than fair," said Williams.

"We've frozen the prices and reduced many of them. There's a fantastic childrens' offer and lots of additional add-ons at a time when I think most other clubs are putting their prices up, some by considerable amounts.

"It's a tough call because in the end all the money we get in is spent on football, apart from the running costs of the business.

"You are playing volume against price and if you cut the prices or keep them low then you need the volume.

"So I hope it works. If it doesn't then we'll have made a bold initiative but it won't have worked and that will be to the detriment of us all."



Although Williams is quick to acknowledge that Rovers get a phenomenal amount of support given the size of the town's population, he is also acutely aware of the need to get more paying customers through the gates at Ewood over the next 12 months.

Last season, season ticket sales actually fell by 1,500 after a campaign in which the club had finished sixth in the Premiership and qualified for Europe.

Now the club are hoping to win back those supporters, rather than go down the route of charging existing season ticket holders even more to make up the shortfall in revenue.

"It's a customer-friendly strategy," said Williams.

"I've always wanted to resist taking more money off less people. Football clubs are often accused of taking advantage of loyal fans because it's not really a standard retail relationship. It's an emotional, heart-driven relationship and that's not something which you want to abuse.

"That's why we've decided to freeze prices and it will be a very difficult and disappointing financial outcome for us if we are not able to keep hold of the season ticket holders we've got, at the very minimum, and start to think about getting back to where we were two seasons ago.

"Whilst I'm not claiming we're the cheapest in every single area of the ground, certainly pound for pound behind the goal and with the juniors there's not a better priced offer in the league."

In certain areas of the ground next season it will be possible to buy a season ticket for the equivalent of £13.16 per game.

Junior season tickets will be available for £70, which works out at less than £4 per game.

And special family tickets (two adults and two children) will start at £33.68 per game.

Rovers will also look to soften the blow for those fans affected by fixture changes as a result of television commitments so any season ticket holders who miss two category A games will be entitled to an extra ticket for a category B game of their choice.

Season tickets will also undergo a physical change, too.

Rovers are introducing a revolutionary new electronic season ticket next season, which is designed to react to sensors at the turnstiles, with the aim of speeding up access to games.