Early this morning, David Sullivan and David Gold penned a letter to season ticket holders and various media outlets revealing what many have long been suspecting. West Ham United will be freezing prices for all Season Ticket Holders who renew for the 2017-2018 campaign.
The Joint Chairmen announcement, pictured below, emphasized the importance to renew prior to the May 31st deadline as any seats not renewed, will be made available to the individuals on a list 55,000 names long. Of course, if you wanted to change your seats, renewing earlier will give you a higher priority.
On the surface this announcement by the West Ham board looks to be as charitable as Mother Theresa. However, to me, there seems to be a hint of desperation in this move. It’s no secret there are are bouts of empty seats that show up on television. We see it here in the US on NBC Sports every week. As my friend Pete Schlenker pointed out, the seating areas that bleed claret and blue are packed to the brim but the neutral, or more expensive seats, are occasionally empty.
Can you smell that? I think it’s... oh yes... it’s fear. Fear that season ticket renewal rates won’t be as high as they expected. Sure, it’s nice to say they have 55,000 people on a waiting list for season tickets, but that’s no guarantee they actually buy in. These letters ooze of optimism, letting the world know how great and wonderful life is in East London. The truth is, most of the season ticket holders are regular people on the street who are close enough to smell the bullshit.
There’s a reason West Ham is now offering a low interest finance option for season tickets. Previously, if you wanted to put your tickets on a payment plan, you would have to lock in a 20% (!!!) interest rate over 10 months. Out of their kind hearts, they’ve lowered that amount to 6%. You could even opt into a four month payment plan, with 0% interest.
Don’t get me wrong, this is also beneficial to fans who spend their hard earned money on season tickets to see their passion play out in front of them. But given the controversy over stadium staff, steward loyalty, fan interaction, Dimitri Payet, and the overall team performance, it’s the least they could do for one of the most loyal fan bases in England.
The club is doing what is best for itself, as well as the fans. As pessimistic as I’ve become over this past season, there is still that hope the board really is doing everything in the interest of the fan. However, when David Sullivan writes on a piece of paper that every dollar of season tickets gets invested into bettering the squad, I get a bit crazy. Does this mean if I renew my season tickets, we’ll have a first team quality right back and striker here by August? Gee whiz, sign me up!
As we reported last month, there will also be a reduction in certain price bands:
The key details for next season are as follows:
- Every Season Ticket price band will see a reduction as the Club uses increased broadcast revenue to offer dramatically cheaper tickets to its supporters
- A new entry-level Band 5 adult Season Ticket will cost just £289 – the cheapest in the Premier League
- All Season Tickets for Under-16s will be cut to just £99 – the equivalent of only £5 per game
- A family of four can buy a Season Ticket for just £776 – the equivalent of £41 per match