Guest Blog: The utter pointlessness of Hull City’s ticketing policy

February 23, 2015
Opinions expressed by guest contributors to this website and forum do not necessarily reflect the views of Hull City Supporters’ Trust.

Guest contributors the Yorkshire Orange fanzine get out their calculators to question whether City’s current ticket pricing structure makes financial sense. HCST fully supports the Football Supporters Federations’ calls for all football clubs to lower ticket prices. Find out more here.

Much has been debated in recent months with regards City’s current ticket pricing structure. Whilst it is only fair to point out that an adult can indeed watch Premier League football for just £16 in Hull, they could also the following week be charged a frankly ridiculous £50 for the same seat.

Hull City have approximately 16,000 season card holders for the 2014/2015 season, which leaves approximately 8,000 tickets on sale per game. City have priced 6 games at £50 this season. The Manchester City game is so far the only fixture to have taken place with said price. The game attracted 22,000 fans (and chants of “£50? You’re ‘avin a laugh” I may add). Based on this figure, the club made £300,000 in ticket sales. Using this as a yardstick for future £50 fixtures, City would thus receive £1,800,000 in ticket sales for the 6 category a games. Still with us? Good.

6,000 (tickets sold) x £50 = £300,000 x 6 (category a fixtures) = £1,800,000

Working on an average from games played so far, below are the figures for both category b and c games for the season.

6,000 (tickets sold) x £35 = £210,000 x 7 (category b fixtures) = £1,470,000

7,000 (tickets sold) x £16 = 112,000 x 6 (category c fixtures) = £672,000

There is one major flaw in the above calculations however. They are based on all tickets sold being of the adult variety. They are, of course, not. We simply have no way of knowing how many tickets sold are adult/OAP/junior etc, therefore all we can be sure of is that the profits stated above become even smaller with concession tickets factored in. The above figure is thus the very maximum one could hope to make from said ticket prices. Based on the figures above, by charging £50 instead of £16, Hull City – over the course of an entire season are making a maximum extra profit of £1.1 million, a figure which could be far less.

To put this in perspective, Hull City charging an adult £50 for 6 games of the season as opposed to £16 means that if we’re lucky, come the end of the term, the club can purchase one Caleb Folan.

This is a football club that received (according to this article) £67 million last season, merely for being a Premier League side, with the fees set to rise even further in the coming seasons.

The article can only give a ballpark figure/guesstimate of just what City’s 2014/2015 pricing structure means to the club coffers, but what it can definitely do is highlight the figures’ absolute insignificance to the club’s overall income.

The time has surely come to unite and attempt to change a farcical ticketing policy that angers and alienates both home and away fans – the former being the lifeblood of English football.

A key point is that ticket prices cannot be altered depending on whether they are going to home or away fans for the same fixture. This is a Premier League ruling. Therefore, City’s £50 tickets may indeed force the non City-supporting KC day trippers to pay top dollar to see the Gerrard and Hazard’s of this world, but it also means travelling Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool etc fans also have to pay the same, all for having the audacity to follow a successful, fashionable football club. This is simply wrong.

Bafflingly, some people are intent on defending City’s current policy, displaying a repugnant attitude of “if people will pay it, let them” (as oppose of course to being a soft get and having the opinion a football club should make games as cheap as possible for the community it serves). To their credit, the club have acknowledged they need to review the pricing structure for next season; below is my suggestion of a sensible way forward.

I’d set league ticket prices across the board at £25. A reasonable(ish) figure which I would imagine folk would be prepared to pay to watch Hull City in the top flight of English football. Using an educated guess of this price receiving a gate of 23,000, Hull City would make £175,000 a game and £3,325,000 over a season.

7,000 x £25 = £175,000 x 19 (home fixtures a season) = 3,325,000.

According to my approximate figures above for the current structure, Hull City will receive £3,844,000 over the course of this season in ticket sales.

I hope by now my point is clear. £50, and even £35 tickets are a pointless exercise, creating only a slight, and wholly insignificant profit over a reasonably-priced one strand ticketing policy.

I would hope I would not have to go into detail and explain why a £50 ticket to watch 90 minutes of football in a northern city renowned for hardship is ludicrous. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t agree that in a world where £5 billion contracts are being handed out and Hull City are involved, that pricing local and loyal away fans out for a few extra quid that wouldn’t even cover Yannick Sagbo’s annual salary is required.

If you’ve gotten this far and the maths/English wasn’t too baffling then thank you for reading.

Yorkshire Orange says No To Hull Tigers and Yes To Affordable Ticketing.