Talking Point

Back in 2011 on the back of West ham v Barnsley tickets being discounted to £15 I asked David Gold on twitter How much do West Ham value their Season Ticket Holders?

His response was “Sean STH are the life blood of our football club. I was one from 1956 to 1993 we get the best seats & the best deal. DG”

Responding to another fan on twitter he said “It is cheaper to buy a ST than buying game by game plus you get to choose and keep you seat + there are STH only discounts DG”

A lot of season ticket holders I know believe their season ticket has been devalued due to ticket discounting.

It is a topic that comes up on the Supporters Advisory Board (SAB) regularly and the club have been looking at ways to add value back.

Up to recently the benefits of being a season ticket holder included: Discounted booking fees on additional match tickets,15% on additional bulk ticket purchases, 10% discount off official merchandise in store or on-line, double discount weekends, discount on away coach travel,10% discount on hospitality purchases, open day to watch the first team train and priority when buying for cup tickets and away games.

On Sunday West Ham announced some new initiatives to reward season ticket holders:

Announcing the new benefits the website said “To recognise the Hammers’ most loyal supporters, the Board have created a range of new initiatives that add further value to holding a West Ham United Season Ticket. The new perks offer unprecedented access to first-team affairs, free gifts and exclusive discounts not available to any other fan.”

David Gold, Sam Allardyce and captain Kevin Nolan will host a Season Ticket Holders’ forum on Tuesday 10th December at the Boleyn Ground.

New Year players’ forum at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet including Andy Carroll, Mark Noble and Joe Cole. Season ticket holders will be able to quiz the players on all things West Ham United and then take part in an exclusive autograph and picture session.

Sam and his coaching staff host an exclusive open training session for Season Tickets Holders at the Boleyn Ground later in the year.

As a Christmas present, the Club will also be producing a complimentary DVD of the memorable 3-0 victory at Spurs for Season Ticket Holders.

The Club will be launching a new bespoke pre-match tailored to Season Ticket Holders.

Next season, the Club’s first-team photo will become a Season Ticket Holder only affair, with supporters invited to look on from the stands, before getting photos of their own with players and staff.

Karren Brady said in a statement on the launch “As a Board, we understand the importance of the Season Ticket Holders to the Club and we are constantly striving to find new ways to ensure their commitment is rewarded. A Season Ticket at West Ham will always be the cheapest way to watch every game at the Boleyn Ground, but I know a financial saving alone is not enough. Therefore, I have personally spoken to a number of Season Ticket Holders over the past few weeks to help us devise these incentives, which are being offered as a gesture of goodwill from the Board. The support of our Season Ticket Holders will never be taken for granted, as they form an integral part of an incredibly exciting future for West Ham United.”

On the SAB the most common idea that comes up to give away free cup tickets for season ticket holders. I understand that many years ago season ticket holders used to receive 3 cup games free of charge with their season ticket. The league rules now say that 55% of the gate money in League cup and 57.5% of FA cup must be given to third parties. In the case of the League cup 45% goes to the other team and 10% goes to the football league. In the FA cup 42.5% goes to the other team, 10% to the FA Cup prize fund and remaining 5% to the FA. It doesn’t matter whether the club give away the tickets for free it would still have to pay over what would of been the face value of these tickets. If we assume 21,000 season ticket holders at £20 per ticket that’s £241,500 for each FA cup cup out to others. At 3 games that’s nearly three quarters of a million pounds.

So do season ticket holders now feel they are getting better value for their Season Tickets following the announcement or is there still more to be done?

I understand the club are looking at the possibility of a loyalty scheme where you earn points based on your spent with the club. The more your spent in the club shop, online or extra tickets you buy the more points you earn which could be redeemed later.

The SAB meets on the 20th November and I would happy to feed back anything on the current benefits or ideas for future benefits.

This week I discuss the new Season Ticket Holder incentives scheme with fellow SAB member Nigel Kahn on the West Ham podcast Moore Than Just A Podcast