QPR1st Supporters’ Trust is asking the club to clarify season ticket arrangements, and plans for the future following a statement by club co-chairman Tony Fernandes that the publicised 30 per cent increase in season ticket prices will not take place.
The statement came in a wide-ranging interview with Clive Whittingham, published on Loft for Words last week.
We would welcome a U-turn on such a punitive increase, but supporters need clarity on the club’s plans – is a steep increase on the cards for future seasons?
Tony Fernandes says the season ticket price increase will not be 30 per cent once the loyalty window closes, but the QPR website today continues to say “General sale prices will not be released until after this season ends, and will be a minimum of 30% higher than the prices listed in the Renewal Loyalty Window.”
The immediate issue is that supporters cannot make informed decisions on when to buy season tickets if they are not told how much they will cost after the window. We urge the club to clarify this as a matter of urgency. Even the most profit-motivated supermarket has to show the usual full price when they make claims about price reductions.
He says the fans consultative committee (meeting on Wednesday) will discuss “this year’s policy and we’re looking at ways of easing the burden.” But, the issue is not just one for this year’s policy. Presumably the increase for 17/18 will form the basis for ticket prices in 18/19.
We will be asking what the policy is going forward. How will the club be deciding how big the price rise will be? What percentage of income do they see coming from the tickets in future years? The club must have figures in mind – will they tell us what they are and why? We are asking for the transparency that Tony Fernandes has promised in the interview.
The need to ask these questions is given more urgency given that the co-chairman said both that he wants to reduce ticket prices, but also that ticket revenue was likely to become “vitally important”; “We have to change the mindset, ticket revenue could become extremely important to us”, “A lot of QPR’s problems stem from owners having to pump money in constantly, because we can’t generate enough money from Loftus Road”, he said.
We welcome the co-chairman’s comment in the interview that “it’s best to be transparent” and we hope that translates into the club sharing concrete information about its plans for the future.
We believe the co-chairman should have a change of heart when it comes to taking part in fans’ forums. He was critical of these – saying these only reached “40 or 50 people”. In fact, there may be that number in the room but the forums are watched by a much larger group of supporters through the website either live or later. As chairman Tony Fernandes last took part in a fans’ forum in May 2014, a successful event where he was seen to be listening to and responding to questions from supporters. It’s a great opportunity for him to communicate.
Finances and infrastructure
Also welcome are the co-chairman’s comments that the club is working towards living within its means, that progress is being made on a new training ground and stadium, on improvements to scouting and youth development, and we hope further progress is made on these.
Thanks go to Clive Whittingham and Loft for Words for the interview, which can be found here: