The Bared Teeth Of The Stadium Seats…
Ok, so for those of you who are not yet signed up members of the Soccer Laduma Supporters Club on www.soccerladuma.co.za, you’re missing out big-time!
Every day, all of the Soccer Laduma editors of the various platforms are engaging with you, the Soccer Laduma readers, about your favourite publication, as well as problems that you, as supporters, face regarding South African soccer.
This week you will notice that in some of the interviews we are now also including exclusive content in the Supporters Club for you. There are interviews with Mzansi’s top agents and extended interviews with the players. This week, for example, you will find an interview with Mike Makaab who talks about the business of transfers in the PSL. Walter Mokoena talks about why Masango has exploded into form for Chiefs, and ‘KG’ has a message for Shakes and SAFA. It’s a must read stuff, so head on over to Supporters Club and sign-up!
And it’s not just Supporters Club that is bursting with content. The Fan Park section on the Soccer Laduma site has had a facelift, so if you want daily updates on your team, exclusive interviews with players and coaches or just to hangout with fellow supporters and discuss your team, Fan Park is a must!
But back to the major theme we are addressing in Supporters Club… poor attendance at PSL games.
Recently, I have been talking about the poor attendance figures at PSL games of late and the first thing we are looking at is ticket prices and if it is, in fact, the barrier to attending games that we believe it to be.
For now I will not mention the names of anyone that I have spoken to because, to be quite honest, nobody really wants to associate themselves with saying the wrong thing on record when it comes to ticket prices and attendance figures.
It seems that the PSL has given PSL clubs a recommended price of R40 for tickets to league games as a guide. But everyone will notice that ticket prices fluctuate from club to club, game to game. When I asked a couple of people in the industry about this, the answer came back that it is a basic supply and demand principle – that the more people want to see a game, the more a ticket is going to cost or a club is able to ask from their supporters.
That makes sense to me, I guess, for the Soweto Derby where you are always guaranteed a full stadium. But my question is: why does it not work the other way round? What I mean by that is that clearly at R40, fans are not coming to stadiums for the other games on offer, so based on the same supply and demand theory, the tickets are far too expensive, so should clubs not drop the price below the recommended R40? Possibly, at R20, supporters would feel it’s now good value for money and the stands would start filling up. When I posed this question to certain individuals in the industry, none of them had any answers and, while it clearly made sense, they were not willing to go below what seems to be a hard-and-fast rule of R40.
It was also pointed out to me that, for the most part, after the plus minus R100 000 that it costs a club to pay for a stadium on game day, as well as the cost of the security for the event and other costs, that a club only makes about R10 to R15 on each ticket they sell.
With this in mind, I would suggest fixing the ticket price where the club breaks even. If we are honest, PSL clubs at present generally do not make money on their ticket sales, based on the info above. Their main income is from the TV deals done by the PSL, the monthly grant, team sponsors, winning tournaments or league titles, and selling players. Ticket sales are probably the last thing that they look at in terms of making money each season. So why not bite the bullet? Find the price that will get you 10 000 fans at every home game, and then build a better pricing structure thereafter.
It must be a complete nightmare for those teams without a main sponsor to try and convince a potential sponsor that they will get a return on their investment based on stadium attendance. If I’m a sponsor being asked for R40 million to put my name on the front of your jersey, the first thing I’m going to do is watch a game at your home ground. After all, that is the face of your organisation. It’s where your hard work is on display, and, for the most part, the face of most PSL clubs on match day is more of a grimace than a smile.
All you see is the bared teeth of the stadium seats. The face of South African football hardly ever fills the stands, which really is a travesty because the face of South African football can light up the world.
So again I ask South African supporters: At what price for a PSL ticket would you not miss a single game? R20, R25, R30?
Please let us know and together let’s try fill South Africa’s soccer stadiums.