Chief Executive explains plans for 2013/14
For those who may have missed it in Saturday’s Morecambe programme, we today publish news from Chief Executive, Erik Samuelson, about a change to season ticket prices for 2013/14.
In the article below, Erik (pictured) talks about the issues surrounding the changes and efforts to encourage younger fans to support AFC Wimbledon.
There are only five weeks until the end of the season, and season ticket renewal notices will be going out next week. We’ve been hard at work in the background, preparing budgets to enable us to see what level of funding we can generate in 2013/14. At this stage the budget is far from final, but it is accurate enough to enable us to make some key decisions. One such decision is the level at which we should pitch season ticket prices, and after careful thought and a review of competitors’ prices in League 2, we have decided to make only one change to this season’s prices.
We have always offered significantly reduced prices for under-16s, and despite last year’s increase they remain among the lowest in League 2. I must admit I’ve not really given a lot of thought about why we use the age of 16 as a cut-off for a discounted price, but I’ve always assumed it’s because that is the age at which compulsory full- time education ends. So when the government announced that full- time education is to be extended to everyone up to 18, it set us thinking.
Although the definition of “full- time education” is fairly broadly drawn, covering apprenticeships, and part-time education alongside employment or self-employment, on balance we felt we ought to go with the spirit of the new requirement. We have therefore decided to increase the age at which fans can still buy, for example, a £40 terrace season ticket (that’s just £1.74 per game). The new age threshold is that you must be under 18 on 1 August 2013 to qualify for a Youth season ticket.
There’s a lot of talk about the rising average age of people attending football matches, especially in the Premier League. Our age profile is pretty good, and some years ago we introduced the Young Adult season ticket to encourage young fans to stay on after the age of 16. The YA ticket will continue to see fans through to the age of 21; after that, if you’re still in full time education, there are concession season tickets.
I do hope fans will welcome what is, in effect, a reduction in prices.
There are couple of other matters I wanted to mention about season tickets. First, now that the new Nongshim Stand has “bedded in”, I’ve noticed that it is full for almost every home game. However, a lot of the seats are being taken by on-the-day sales, and if you want to guarantee a place there you should apply for a season ticket. There are also spaces available in the family areas (Blocks N and P), but we will continue to keep some seats for sale on the day, in Blocks M (in the Paul Strank Stand) and R.
My last word on season tickets is to remind fans that you can pay for them by direct debit. We make no finance charge for this, just a small admin charge per payment – so if you are paying for a family with a single direct debit, you will be charged only once per payment. If you apply before 31 March you can spread your payments over 12 months; apply before 30 April and you will pay over 11 months; and so on. We now have over 750 fans spreading the cost of their season ticket by direct debit, so please do take advantage of this facility.
Finally, we yesterday published an important message from Matt Breach of the Dons Trust Board about the need to self-police the inappropriate behaviour of some fans. As a family club we can’t let certain types of chant or obscene or abusive language take hold. We recognise that everyone probably has a different place where they draw the line, so, to be clear, we aren’t talking about the occasional swear-word, but about things like or misogynistic chanting and abusive language. We are making sure that stewards are well briefed to be supportive of any fan who takes issue with this sort of thing, but please don’t call a steward over because the fan next to you sometimes swears – this is about far worse behaviour than that.