Heather McKinlay reviews the data from the recent CAS Trust survey...
CASTrust has carried out a survey of supporters' opinions on the subject of kick-off times and dates. The survey also looked at attitudes to ticket pricing and tried to find out what people saw as the main hindrances to attending games. 684 Addicks completed the survey.
The idea of Friday football has been resoundingly rejected by fans. A clear majority of Charlton supporters (55%) say they would be less likely to attend on Friday nights than the usual Saturday afternoon matches. This is a strong rejection – especially considering that the majority of fans completing the survey are currently regular walk-up attendees and season ticket holders. In contrast, just 7% said they would be more likely to attend on a Friday.
Now, someone keen to try the idea of Friday night kick-offs might argue that the concept is aimed at bringing in new fans or making it easier for those who do not find Saturdays convenient. We’d counter that the club would need to find an awful lot of these people to fill the hole left by existing fans. Looking just at occasional fans within the survey, the number saying they would be less likely to attend Friday matches rises to 60%, so there is no evidence here of kick-off times being a deciding factor for them. In fact, the main reason given for not attending Saturday matches among this group is travel time/ distance, and this would only be exacerbated by matches switching to Friday nights. On the basis of such indisputable results, surely even a trial of Friday night football would not be a sensible business decision by the club?
Quite simply, Saturday is synonymous with football for the vast majority of our fans – 95% find Saturday at 3pm a convenient kick-off time. Traditional midweek evening matches are convenient for two-thirds of fans, Sunday kick-offs split the fan base in half, whilst Fridays are the least popular, and inconvenient for the majority.
At face value, there is some positive news for the club in that 74% of fans strongly agreed that our season tickets are good value for money, with a further 22% slightly agreeing. The vast majority were similarly in favour of the club running attendance-boosting schemes and special offers. Bearing in mind that this survey took place at the end of last year, this is an endorsement of Charlton’s long-held policy of ensuring fans are not priced out of football at The Valley. From a commercial and financial perspective, however, it maybe suggests that the club has under-priced its offering. Since this survey took place, performances on the pitch and events behind the scenes have taken a turn for the worse, with many fans now stating they will not renew for next season. The current season-ticket pricing structure and widely-held perception of good value for money leaves the Club with little opportunity to use price-cuts as a lever to promote sales for 2015/16.
Finally, we also asked what prevents fans from attending more away matches. Once again kick-off times and days are a major factor, as is cost and distance of travel. We’re a realistic bunch, though, with only 9% reporting that the likelihood of a Charlton victory was an important factor! Probably just as well, at the moment, eh?
On a different subject, three quarters of survey respondents had seen a recent copy of the Supporters’ Trust quarterly magazine, TNT. Of these, 59% rated it good and 24% excellent. The next issue will be out on 28th February – so do make sure you pick up a copy.