Almost £500k in future season ticket revenue pledged to new owners
The Trust’s latest survey took place from 9th to 19th April, with the bulk of responses received in the first few days. The club’s early-bird renewal deadline was 17th April.
This was one of the Trust’s largest ever surveys, with 1,942 participating. As it was an online survey, there may be some bias towards those who are more actively engaged with the club through online and social media. It may also underestimate data from people who are decision-makers for multiple ticket purchases. Given these caveats regarding the sample, the high number of completions provide statistically robust results.
568 respondents are members of CAS Trust, with little difference between results of members and non-members unless stated. 12% of the total are female. There is a good spread of ages among respondents, with 10% under 24, 27% 25-44, 23% 45-54, 24% 55-64 and 17% 65+.
1,519 respondents are current season ticket holders, three quarters of them for more than ten years. Among those who could recall, the average price paid for a season ticket was £350.
85% of season ticketholders and 89% of non-season ticketholders are currenly protesting at the way the club is being run. A large majority (73% of season ticketholders and 83% of non) are protesting because they seek a change of ownership, with the remainder wishing the current owners would change their ways. In total, 7% are not yet protesting but considering it, while 6% are not joining in because they are not sure what the protests will achieve. Only 1% of all respondents support the current ownership, down from 2% in our January survey.
When it comes to renewals, and assuming no change of ownership, just 17% of current season ticketholders say they have renewed already or would do so by the early-bird deadline. These are slightly more likely to be new season ticketholders (1-3 years) or those with 20+ years of support. They are somewhat less militant in protesting: nevertheless, 38% still support a change of ownership and only 5% profess support for the current owners. A quarter want the owners to change their ways and the same again are unsure what the protests will achieve.
These results would suggest 2016/17 sales at the early-bird deadline may only be around 2,000. We anticipate the actual total may be a bit higher than this, given the online nature of our survey and the potential for last-minute decisions. Doubtless it is significantly down year-on-year.
19% say they probably will renew, but intend to wait a bit longer. 20% say they will probably not renew. This leaves 44% committed to definitely not renewing – a drastic loss in terms of revenue to the club.
Of current season ticketholders who have not yet renewed, 82% specifically cite their reason as actively protesting against the ownership, with a similar figure saying they are very likely to renew if there is a change of ownership. A further 12% say they would be quite likely to renew under new owners. Even 38% of non-season ticketholders say they would be very likely to purchase a season ticket under new owners, with the same again quite likely. This reinforces that damage is not only being done to the core supporter base, but the club is also alienating prospective season ticketholders, who are abstaining from such a purchase.
1,275 survey respondents have made a personal pledge to buy a season ticket under new owners – this comprises 1,052 of those who have not (yet) renewed and 223 among those who are not current season ticketholders. At the average stated above of £350 per season ticket, this equates to almost half a million in gross revenue (£446,250) pledged to new owners.