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West Ham owners now admit they made a mistake

By Sean Whetstone

When West Ham moved to the former London 2012 Olympic Stadium in 2016 West Ham owners now admit they made a mistake when it came to the ticket pricing strategy.

Worried whether they would fill the then 52,500-capacity converted stadium they decided to sell up to 50,000 season tickets on the cheap with adults as cheap as £289 and juniors at £99. For many, season ticket prices reduced from last season at the Boleyn Ground.

Changes included a new Band 5 season ticket costing £289, the equivalent of £15.20 per game, and an under-16 season ticket priced at £99.

Adult season tickets in Bands 1 and 2 dropped slightly for the 2016-17 season, to £899 and £799 respectively, while Bands 3 and 4 dropped around a quarter to £599 and £499.

Disabled season tickets were also cut, with places in Band 4 down around 45 per cent to £250.

They successfully marketed this as ‘family affordable football’ and called all those who initially signed up as founders.

With only 26,000  season ticket holders at the Boleyn Ground almost doubling it was no small task but they did it largely due to the pricing model and even boasted a 50,000 waiting list at the time.

Pricing? They got it wrong

The problem with hindsight was that the pricing model left us far behind other London Premier League clubs we had the ambition to compete against.

In the first year of the London Stadium, the Hammers earned £28.6m from ticket sales which was only a 6% increase from the £26.9m they earned at the 34,000 seater Upton Park stadium the season before.

Last season, 2022/2024 West Ham’s ticket revenue grew to £41m largely due to our Europa League Conference cup run with many more home games.

At £41m we are poles apart from Spurs who earned £106m in ticket revenue in their latest published accounts with Arsenal at £103m and Chelsea at £76.5m with a smaller 40,000 stadium.

West Ham needs to plug that revenue gap to compete and stay within financial fair play regulations but that is hard to do without rising ticket prices and still promising family affordable football.

No one likes price rises but sadly the reality is if we want to spend more in the transfer market the money needs to come from somewhere.

Last season West Ham quietly dropped ‘founder discount pricing’ on season tickets, this coming season we are seeing above-inflation price increases and the restriction of concession discounts in the highest-priced ticket bands plus the club getting tough on those who do not attend and do not relist their seat.

As a fan base, we need to decide whether we want to pay more for our tickets to compete with the top six and challenge for Europe each season or have cheaper tickets and just be content in avoiding relegation each year and perhaps mid-table obscurity at best.

 

About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

2 comments on “West Ham owners now admit they made a mistake

  1. Did David Sullivan write this?

  2. if we want to compete at the highest level these prices have to be increased above the inflation rate so that we make ground on our london competitors

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