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Perhaps ‘FREE’ Should Be An Option For PSL Tickets

Something very exciting is happening in the PSL this season. We could be witnessing the return of goals to South African soccer. And with goals, come fans. And with fans come stadiums filling up.
 
What a joy it is to watch PSL football when there are goals galore flying in. The short-passing game of Kaizer Chiefs in the final third this season has been something to behold. Some of the goals that have been scored by the Amakhosi this season wouldn’t look out of place in the best football stadiums in the world. Stuart Baxter… take a bow sir. Orlando Pirates’ Kermit Erasmus and Lehlohonolo Majoro’s long-range shooting has been outstanding. Those who doubted VV’s ability to ‘free’ his players up must be eating humble pie. He has his team lighting up the PSL, game in and game out. It’s getting harder and harder for South Africa’s TV supporters to flip to the English football on the weekend because the PSL games have been that good and the action is finally demanding eyeballs again. 
 
The art of long-range shooting has made a return. All of a sudden South African players are backing themselves and I don’t want to say it too soon lest I jinx it, but I feel we could have a record-breaking season of goals if it continues like this.  
 
For those of you who have signed up on www.soccerladuma.co.za and joined the Supporters Club, you will know that the theme we are currently addressing is poor stadium attendance in the PSL. On a daily basis in Supporters Club, the supporters are telling us why they don’t go and watch live football. 
 
We’re putting together a survey that documents all the reasons given and as soon as there are enough numbers, we can go to clubs with your concerns and try to get people back in the stands.  
 
Last week we made a few phone calls to find out the average home game attendances for this season to ascertain just how bad the problem actually is. I can tell you that after contacting all 16 clubs, only three clubs were actually willing to share ‘their number’ with us.
 
Now remember these numbers have not been verified. These are simply numbers that have been given to us and so, until there is some way that figures can be officially verified, we will publish the ones we have been given.
 
The three clubs who actually chatted to us and gave us their number are:
 
Mpumalanga Black Aces
 
Average Home Attendance: 3000
 
Polokwane City
 
Average Home Attendance: 5000
 
Chippa United
 
Average Home Attendance: 7000
 
Thanks to those media and PR officers who actually took the time to talk to Soccer Laduma Supporters Club. To those who avoided us, we will keep calling until we have every club’s home game averages. 
 
What was interesting was that one of the so called ‘Big Three’ said that they have no idea about stadium attendance and that we should phone the people who run the stadium to find out. However, a common theme from those who spoke to us was that they kept going on about ‘big games’ and how well they do when a ‘big game’ comes to town.
 
When asked about their average home attendance, Abel Mohubedu, Platinum Stars’ media officer, said, “Say 4000 to 5000 average, but if you want to talk about bigger games, there’s bound to be more. That affects the average amount of people, but to be realistic, it’s between 4000 and 5000.”
 
Gordon Masondo, the Black Aces’ media liaison officer, also immediately made reference to the ‘big games’ saying, “The game against Kaizer Chiefs we had 11 400 people, but on average, roughly 3000 people.”
 
And for those who think price is not an obstacle to fan attendance, think again. Chippa United’s PR man all but confirmed that at the right price, PSL stadiums will fill up, however PSL bosses might not be happy to hear that ‘FREE’ might be the right price.
 
Lukhanyo Mzinzi, the public relations officer for Chippa United said, “Look, we can’t compare the two (last season to this season), because in Cape Town people were not paying, but here the people are buying tickets. The average is about 7000 a match.”
 
Based on these three clubs so far, we can safely say that average home attendance across these three is between four and five thousand.
 
What is sad, though, is that it’s only the so-called ‘big games’ that are the ones that clubs like to reference, and maybe therein lies the problem. A home match day should be a big game every single time the gates are opened. Yes, sure there should be more excitement when the big boys come to town, but if PSL clubs are only banking on the ‘big games’ when Chiefs, Pirates or Sundowns come to town to create a great vibe, then our soccer is doomed. The home supporter is doomed.
 
From our research for you so far, it seems we need to add ‘FREE’ as an option for the price of PSL games in order to get people into stadiums. It is also clear that too many PSL clubs are banking on the marketing efforts of the big boys of the league to get people through their gates, and frankly that’s just not good enough.
 
Shapa, Clint

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