For much of the last month, Rovers fans’ attention has been locked on who would be the club’s next head coach.

On the back of the unveiling of Jon Dahl Tomasson, an appointment that appears to have been met with widespread optimism, there is a new focus in town: season tickets.

It has never been far from the agenda, not least given it is arguably the one thing that affects fans most.

And right now, money is a sensitive and delicate topic, now more than ever.

Upon the release of Rovers’ season ticket details, fans were asked, in the space of six weeks, later extended to seven, to part with £399 to take advantage of the cheapest available season ticket.

That was if you wanted to sit in the lower bowl of the stadium, had a season ticket in 2021/22, and wanting to keep your original seat.

For any ‘new’ season ticket holder, or anyone renewing after the ‘loyalty’ deadline, there would be a £30 increase.

This at a time when there was uncertainty over the managerial position, and a disappointing end to the previous season.

Ticketing regularly accounts for around 20-25 per cent of Rovers’ overall income, and the importance of season ticket money cannot be overestimated.

This is cash being put into the club at a time when there are no matches.  It is fans committing to the club for the upcoming 23 home games, which the club can plan against.

Rovers themselves have strict targets set out, and falling below that figure will only put pressure on other areas, so there is of course a balance for them to strike.

The club haven’t publicised the sales figure, but uptake, judging by the seats available to purchase, appears lower than would be expected. This at a time when sales neighbouring clubs such as Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers appear to be thriving.

Yet on the back of an appointment of a director of football and head coach that has been received well, now should be the time when those who were in two minds about purchasing, may well think about doing so.

However, criticisms of the online booking system aren’t a new issue, and can often be a barrier to sale.

In a world of financial struggle, and technological advancement, these are two areas where Rovers are currently falling down on.

But it isn’t too late, and it understood that discussions over potential new initiatives and incentives have taken place.

There are of course people who have already parted with their season ticket money, and they must be factored in to whatever decision may be made.

Yet even those who have, would want as many people in the stadium, and would likely encourage any moves to do so.

Rovers have done so much positive work within the local community, to help attract new fans, award-winning schemes have been widely praised.

Yet match-going regulars must be prioritised too, not feel as though their support, and investment in the team, is taken for granted.

There has been a train of thought at the club that success is the biggest factor in attendance. If results come, so will the crowds.

Yet there has been recent proof, last November’s win over Sheffield United and the final home game against Bournemouth, whereby reduced prices can have a big say, irrespective of results.

The Blades win, where prices were reduced to an anniversary related £14.60, was watched by 17,290. This coming three days after a club record home defeat to Fulham.

More than 21,000 watched the penultimate game of the 2021/22 season against Bournemouth, the biggest crowd since promotion from League One, when tickets were reduced to £10. This coming during a run of three wins in 16.

So attending football is price sensitive. It might not be the only factor, but it is a key one.

Season ticket prices were held in 2019/20, with the hope that Rovers would reach their 10,000 sales target. Having fallen 1,500 short of that, prices have then been increased in a bid to boost revenue levels.

Yet the world is very different now, in the post-Covid era, as to what it was then.

The club have been affected by Covid, forced to play behind closed doors for 16 months and 28 consecutive home matches, but they must remember that fans have had more pressing struggles.

We have seen the benefit that an increased crowd can have, and with a new head coach at the helm, the dawn of a new era, Rovers have to see this as an opportunity.


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