We Need To Talk About Season Ticket Memberships 2020/21

On Friday, Glasgow Warriors announced the launch of their Season Ticket Memberships for season 2020/21. Set up to deal with the fact that current restrictions don’t currently allow for spectators to attend rugby matches, the membership has three phases.

  • Phase 1 covers the period when no-one will be able to attend matches.
  • Phase 2 covers the period when socially distanced crowds will be allowed – therefore restricted attendance and almost certainly fewer than the number of Warriors’ season ticket members.
  • Phase 3 covers the period when Scotstoun returns to normal with a full crowd of 7,351 at Scotstoun.

Now this is clearly a lot more complicated than a ‘normal’ season and there was an awful lot of information. Much of the attention has focused on the membership fee of £55 in Phase 1 which comes with a number of benefits. The crucial sentence though appears to be:

“As per our commitment to freeze Season Ticket Membership prices for 2020/21, we will ensure you do not pay more in Phases One-Three than for your regular membership.”

What that means is that in the case of a Season Ticket Member paying £55 in Phase One and managing to attend every game (as would be the case for a normal year’s season ticket) they will pay the same as the 2019/20 ST price (Bronze – £215; Silver – £275; Gold – £314; Platinum – £396).

Now clearly the expectation at this stage is that it’s not going to be possible to guarantee that every Season Ticket Member can attend all 13 regular season home games (11 in the PRO14 and 2 in the Champions Cup). There may be some games behind closed doors. There may be some with socially distance crowds (probably 50% capacity – 3,675 – would be the best possible outcome but it could be as low as 1,000 punters per game).

From the available information though it’s possible to have a go at reverse engineering expenditure for both Membership and buying individual match tickets in each category and comparing the costs based on the actual numbers of games attended.

(Bear in mind this is a simplified version assuming the same ticket prices for all matches and is solely based on my assessment of the information contained in the email sent out by the club on Friday 7th August.)

From the tables above it can be seen that based on these numbers it only requires attendance at 3 or 4 games before the upfront cost of the Season Ticket Membership is covered by the savings on individual match tickets.

With two months still to go hopefully there will be some progress on attendance at outdoor mass events before season 2020/21 kicks off. There will certainly be a big push in time for the November Tests to, at a minimum, allow socially distanced crowds. At least half (possibly more) of the Warriors’ home games will take place in 2021 which leaves another 5 months to make progress towards Covid elimination and/or a vaccine that would allow for the sorts of crowds that have been seen in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Whenever it happens it’s going to be a pretty amazing feeling when match nights at Scotstoun get back to normal!

4 comments

  1. Hello topofthemoon,

    a very good analysis like most of your articles that I’ve enjoyed reading over many seasons but can I spin it slightly differently with the way I worked out my numbers as a value proposition.

    I wont muddy this conversation with price rises since I first bought my seat at Hughenden and the escalation since winning Pro12 with the promise of those funds being directed to squad maintenance / betterment. And simply look at the numbers this season for my seat.

    Last year as a Gold season ticket holder I paid £314 for 14 games I believe. Like many my first question is how much am I paying per game and that works out to be £22.43

    From the details given in the email I am led to believe, in phase 2 I have priority access to a ticket but not a guaranteed ticket. To take that argument further I’m not necessarily going to find I have access to my usual seat or a ticket in the same band (Gold) but lets assume I do.

    The email tells me ‘up to’ 50% so for my calculations I’ve suggested instead of £37, I will pay £20 – not quite but almost 50% off.

    There will only be 13 games in the season ticket this season so I constructed the table thus:

    Matches Attended Cost Cost per ticket
    0 55
    1 75 75
    2 95 47.5
    3 115 38.33333333
    4 135 33.75
    5 155 31
    6 175 29.16666667
    7 195 27.85714286
    8 215 26.875
    9 235 26.11111111
    10 255 25.5
    11 275 25
    12 295 24.58333333
    13 315 24.23076923

    So even if I could buy a ticket to each and every match at Scotstoun I can only pay £1 more for my total season than last year. Seems a fair bet for the accountant at Scotstoun he’s not going to have to pay a penny back with the ‘you will pay no more for your ticket than last year’.

    But also if I attend each and everyone game the value proposition of cost per ticket is worse. For every game I cannot attend (no spectator allowed, cannot get ticket from priority allocation) it becomes worse still. Of course that is always true when you commit to a season ticket but I have the choice of passing it to a friend such that it can be used.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks very much. Interesting to get another viewpoint!

    “But also if I attend each and everyone game the value proposition of cost per ticket is worse.”
    I think this is skewed slightly by the fact that last season was 14 games v 13 for the upcoming season. The 14th game was a friendly v Ulster. To me, that’s a bonus thrown in on top rather than a game you’re paying £20+ for. There will be 13 competitive home fixtures in both seasons.

    I accept that the way the payments are structured changes the cost per match calculation versus a traditional ST (allowing for the fact it may not be you that is able to use it every time) but given that there is no way to provide a traditional ST for 2020/21 I think the only real comparison that can be made is between the cost of an ST Membership and buying individual match tickets as these are the only options available. Unless we get to April or May without attendances you will always be better off with an ST Membership.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed I have skewed it that way, although until the conference system we would have expected a 14 home game season with Europe, and am I correct in thinking this season is 13 because of one less European group fixture or have I made that up? i.e. we could have expected 14 as it was 2 home games against Edinburgh this year?

      I was simply trying to understand value as a benchmark of last season as a long term ST holder. Times are hard for the club and supporters both, and given that the communication has confounded many and we can both reverse engineer to quite different perspectives demonstrates that there is much room for interpretation in the email you have attempted to explain.

      Like

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