It has been announced today that season ticket prices will increase for the 2013/14 season at Grimsby Town. The cost of the cheapest adult ticket, which would seat you in the Pontoon Stand, will go up from £266 to £285 – an increase of over seven per cent. The current rate of inflation in the UK is 2.4 per cent.
On top of that, the Grimsby Telegraph has today revealed there will be a basic increase of £1 in the Pontoon and Lower Findus and £2 on adult ticket prices in the Upper Findus. The club is attempting to defend the rises by stating this is the first increase in ticket prices since the 2005/6 season. When, of course, Town finished 4th in League 2 and lost in the Play Off Final. There’s also the rationale that Grimsby have done their market research and because Braintree charge £300, it’s all OK to increase the prices. Except Grimsby Town aren’t competing with Braintree for supporters. They’re competing with Hull City and the Premier League. Incidentally you can go and watch a season of Premier League football for £395 at Hull City in 2013/14. That’s just £76 more expensive than the dearest season ticket at Blundell Park.
Disappointingly the Mariners Trust have been trotted out to front the rise and take the flack (something I hope we don’t see more of). The key line is this:
Next year’s budget is once again reliant on considerable private funding.
It’s no secret that Grimsby Town are reliant on John Fenty and without him we’d be in trouble. We know that it is all about sustainability. But there are many ways to make the balance sheet look better. You can cut your costs or you can increase your revenue. There are many ways to do both. You can cut your playing budget (which it looks like we’re doing) or you can try and get more bums on seats. The latter is hard and I blogged last week on how I think both the club and the fans can play their part in doing that. But I think taxing the loyal fans who have stayed with the club through thick and thin and penalising them for their loyalty isn’t the way to go about it. It’s the laziest way.
Will increasing ticket prices encourage floating fans to come to Blundell Park more regularly? Of course not. There’s a recession on for Christ’s sake and we live in one of the poorest parts of the country with pockets of deprivation. 7,000 people turned up to watch the Lincoln game on New Year’s Day. 16,000 went to Wembley. The supporter base is there, just don’t treat them like idiots.