CAS Trust has received the following response from Tom Rubashow (CAFC Head of Communication) to the letter we sent last week with reference to the £1.50 charge on tickets purchased online.
It has been helpful to receive a fuller explanation although we are disappointed that the club did not think to provide this explanation before implementing the charge. We welcome the new ticketing system and we hope that it will bring about much-needed improvements. We recognise that there will be opportunities for savings on match packages during the season. We remain puzzled, however, that the charge seems to encourage fans to purchase in person or have their tickets posted to them rather than printing at home. This must create extra work for club staff. It also appears that people who print at home are subsidising those who opt for postage.
We look forward to a fuller discussion of this at the next Fans Forum.
Many thanks for your letter and your time on the phone last week on the ticketing website and transaction fee. We appreciate the feedback as always and, as mentioned, the Phase I season ticket pricing has remained frozen in part based on the feedback of you and other fans earlier in the year.
One of the priorities of our ticket office this year has been bringing in a new ticketing system. This was needed primarily because we wanted to make it easier for fans to purchase tickets. This was something that was raised at Fans’ Forum meetings and directly to our ticket office staff. It was also important to allow us to be more flexible by offering ticketing packages and initiatives that would meet supporters changing attendance patterns. Finally we wanted a system that could cope with an increase in demand, be it around big cup or play-off games or a change in ownership.
The need for a new system was clear throughout last season and while the decision for the new system had already been taken before the play-off matches against Shrewsbury Town, the difficulties fans had around purchasing tickets for both the home and away legs highlighted the need for the improved system.
In addition, again based on feedback directly, via the Fans’ Forum and on social media, we wanted a system that would reward fan loyalty and we are grateful to you and the Trust for the part you played in that fan consultation on this topic.
We now have a system which is easier for fans, can reward fans for loyalty and is more adaptable to fans’ requirements by using ticket packages and we have been pleased with the feedback we’ve been getting from those using the system.
For the improved service there is a fee to be paid to the new company we work with. We researched what other clubs do as we wanted something that was in-line. Locally, Gillingham charge 75p per ticket and Millwall charge £2 per transaction. While in our league Portsmouth, for example, charge £1 per ticket and an additional £1 for postage while Plymouth Argyle charge 75p per ticket and an additional £1 for postage. We also factored in that the average ticket purchase is more than two tickets per person thus spreading the transaction fee. Based on the costs and looking at what other clubs charge we settled on a transaction fee of £1.50, which includes postage. A transaction can incorporate all games purchased in one basket, so if you choose to purchase multiple games or multiple tickets at the same time, it is treated as one transaction.
We want to make sure we provide fans value and, unlike the previous system, the new system allows us the flexibility of multi-match packages. For example, for our home pre-season friendly games, you can get an adult ticket for each match for £16.50 (including transaction fee) rather than £20, so although you are paying the transaction fee, you are actually making a saving. There’ll be more multi-match packages announced in due course for regular season games with the intention to offer greater value as not all fans are in a position to commit to a season ticket and to save despite the transaction fee. As part of this process we’d like to work with the Fans’ Forum to identify multi-match packages that best suit the fans.
In terms of your worries around queuing on matchdays, there will still be the £3 price rise per ticket two hours before kick-off to encourage earlier purchase. In addition we hope that the value of the multi-match packages, the benefits of the loyalty scheme and the ease of the new system will encourage fans to purchase in advance. We’ll be pushing messages around this across our channels and as always any support you can offer with this is much appreciated.