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The ticket price tightrope…

Friday 22 April 2011 by

Manchester City are in an FA Cup Final first the first time since 1981. That’s thirty years ago you know. In that same period, Watford have appeared in four Semi’s and one Final. Not bad for a club so small in comparison is it? Perhaps cash can’t buy everything after all. It can of course make life easier though, and boy, could Watford use some pocket money right now.

It was therefore going to be a tricky decision when setting Season ticket prices this year. The club is reliant on Season ticket sales as an important part of their income, but as we all know, there is life away from football and that life is becoming increasingly expensive. Making the prices appealing enough to persuade people to part with their cash, whilst also covering costs and making a profit is a financial balancing act, but with the announcement of the 2011/12 prices, it looks like our club have pulled it off.

First things first. My ticket is going to be more expensive. Such is life. Everything is more expensive. Petrol, beer, food and left sided defenders are all more costly than they were a year a go, so why should my ticket not be subject to a small rise? I’ll take it on the chin and get on with it. Look elsewhere though and it’s all good news. Families, young adults, students and Under 16’s will all be paying less for their 2011/12 Season Ticket.

I’ve gone on record as saying how pleased I am that Watford have seemingly recaptured the family ethos that has served the club so well in the past. Successful events such as the ‘At Your place’ evenings and family friendly occasions such as the pre-season open day are a clear illustration that the club know how important the next generation of fans are. The decision to cut season ticket prices for youngsters and those with children confirms this commitment to them.

It would have been easy to put in place an across the board price rise, which I’m sure is what will have happened at many other League clubs, but despite the ongoing and well publicised need for funds at Vicarage Road, in reducing prices the club have chosen to be brave, making football at The Vic accessible and affordable for the future generations of Hornets and their families.

We operate in an overcrowded catchment area – Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, and the seemingly unstoppable QPR are all options for football fans living in and around the Watford area. In offering reasonable prices, Watford may well find that families can no longer afford trips to the Emirates or Stamford Bridge. If one additional family comes to Watford instead of West Ham, the club will have succeeded.

In isolation, the price of a season ticket may seem like a relatively mundane thing to get excited or passionate about, but it’s about viewing it alongside the other initiatives the club has been involved in, looking at the prices together with the other commitments and efforts the club have made. It’s about the long term, the bigger picture. I can see it, I’m sure you can and I’m delighted to say that I think our football club sees it too. You have to live for the now, but you also have to plan for the future. After a few painful lessons, it looks like Watford are doing just that.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the season ticket prices. Will you be renewing? If not why not? Will you be buying a Season Ticket for the first time? Is there anything else the club could have done to make season tickets more affordable and accessible? Let us know what you think by leaving a message below, or dropping us an email at podcast@fromtherookeryend.com

Come on You Horns!

PODCAST 11: THE BUSINESS END IS OUT ON SUNDAY 24TH. It includes our interview with Sean Dyche, Alec Chamberlain and England fast blower Steven Finn (who also supports the horns).

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