Steve Waggott 'encouraged' by Rovers season ticket sales

·5-min read
Rovers have exceeded the 2021/22 season ticket sales figure
Rovers have exceeded the 2021/22 season ticket sales figure

Steve Waggott says season ticket sales are tracking better than Rovers’ recent history having passed the 7,000 mark.

Rovers kept prices at £399 in the lower sections of the stadium for 2021/22 season ticket holders who were looking to renew, if bought before a ‘loyalty deadline’ which has now been extended for a second time through to the end of the month.

Tickets will then increase by £30, the same figure for any ‘new’ season ticket holders, while those bought in the Jack Walker Upper tier are also more expensive.

The club’s chief executive hit back at suggestions of slow sales, and has been encouraged by 600 supporters having opted to take up a full season ticket for the upcoming campaign who didn’t have one last term.

Waggott says a number of those will have come from the Final Five package holders, but believes the pricing is competitive, and sales healthy.

Rovers sold 8,500 season tickets in 2019/20, and reached that figure again last season, but only after strong half season ticket sales, alongside the 17-game and Final Five bundles.

Around 7,000 full season tickets were initially sold, a figure the club have now passed, with Waggott hoping for more on the back of the appointment of Jon Dahl Tomasson as head coach.

Ticketing accounts for around 20-25 per cent of the club’s revenue streams, though Waggott pointed to rising costs in all areas, including the pitch which required an additional £100,000 in funding. That shortfall continues to be made up by owners Venky’s.

Explaining the process behind the pricing decision, Waggott said: “You have to work back. We have to try and get a quantum of revenue generated from the club to then be able to go and inform the owners of what the shortfall is going to be for the season.

“In the past we’ve tried to pitch it (sales) around £4m.  That took a big whack in Covid and we’ve gradually built that up.

“I was keen for the season ticket holders who bought last season to freeze the price, that’s flying in the face of the costs that are coming at us, and there are much more being absorbed by the club and the owners.

“To try and maintain a loyalty for those who had a season ticket in 2021/22, I asked the owners that with the economic situation, that does impact on Venky’s and other businesses, so everyone suffers, but as a gesture in an area (Blackburn) that’s not one of the most affluent, could we hold the price for a period of time.

“They agreed, but then a slight increase after a set time, and we agreed on a £30 uplift.

“I’ve seen all the social media about counting the seats, we’ve sold tickets quicker this year than we’ve ever sold them.

“We’ve hit 7,000 and we’ll go higher with Jon coming in.

“I said to the owners with Jon coming in there was a buzz, a new era, could we go again with the loyalty deadline and they agreed until the end of the month.

“Let’s see whether when people have been paid again whether we will get another uplift, but the average yield is up and I look at some of the commentary and think it’s from a completely uninformed position.”

Rovers published prices in April, with the ‘loyalty’ deadline coming initially on June 4. That was pushed back a week due to the Bank Holiday period, and then extended again as the club look to take advantage of the feel-good factor on the back of Tomasson’s appointment.

Waggott revealed he has received correspondence from a number of supporters about the pricing structure, and the entry price of £399.

Asked if he expected a kick-back when the prices were revealed, Waggott said: “I think in general supporters, not just Rovers supporters, think that the club should do more to cut the prices and get more bums on seats.

“It’s a strategy, but there’s no guarantee of that.

“Our sales are purely sales, there’s no comps there, these are purely sales. If I wanted to add staff on and give them comp tickets that would take them up to a level.

“But I go on sales and then I can go to the owners and say this is the average yield, what we’re bringing in.

“We’ve all been encouraged with the uptake and the split, we’ve got over 600 new supporters being converted, mostly from the five-match package.”

Rovers are yet to announce matchday prices for the upcoming season, but it is expected they will continue with the £20 pricing level for midweek matches, with £25 for Saturday fixtures and likely increases for the derby games.

The club also plan to reintroduce the 1875 membership scheme for supporters unable to commit to a season ticket to provide discount on matchday tickets.

There have been requests for a more flexible approach to season tickets, but Waggott responded by saying: “Fans talk about doing a flexi ticket, but then you’re not getting the cash flow you need to drive the business for the next few months.

“People would then just hand-pick the games they want to come to.

“I get it when people say that they can’t come to a Tuesday night, and can’t get to all games, but we think that at just over £17 for a Championship game, I still think we’re competitively priced as a club.”

TAKE OUT A SUBSCRIPTION...

Gain unlimited access to the Lancashire Telegraph website with a premium digital subscription with a one month FREE trial

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting