Coronavirus Update: How Clubs can get on the Front Foot
, 2 min reading time
, 2 min reading time
Nobody knows whether supporters will be at matches when the next football season starts later this year. But there seems to be an obvious solution – and one that clubs can use to their advantage.
If you work on the basis that supporters will have to be seated – the case at the majority of grounds but not all in lower leagues – and still requiring where possible to maintain socially distancing, there is no reason why they cannot be in grounds.
Clubs would be able to sit fans in every other seat, but alternate odd and even numbers in each row to ensure nobody is directly in front of a person.
The logistics of that would enable every ground to fill around 50% of its capacity – which whilst not ideal, is certainly better than having no supporters there. And with demand for this likely to be high, it is likely season ticket holders will make up the majority of these fans.
That means that clubs have an obvious marketing opportunity. They can tell supporters that if their ground has to operate at a reduced capacity in 2020/21, it is those with season tickets who will be given priority. Then ‘members’. Many people cannot attend every match and so prefer to buy on a game-by-game basis, but surely if that meant there was a chance that they would be unable to watch their team for potentially an entire season, they would consider buying a season ticket. If not, they would at least sign up to a membership scheme where they could be in the next wave of tickets made available. It need only be a nominal fee to join, but every penny counts.
Clubs would not be misleading anyone by advertising that fact, but would instead just be getting ahead of the game and trying to steal a march on others who will instead adopt a wait-and-see approach.
Of course we all hope that grounds can be full by next year, in which case these teams will have sold more season tickets than before, but the important thing for the majority of clubs right now is getting money into the system to help them financially after a nightmare six months.
They would lose nothing by advertising this in advance and nobody would blame them for being inventive, even if grounds are fully reopen. With the plight facing many clubs right now, it may even be enough to help some survive.