Update to my last post and the Oldham Athletic Golden Ticket Debate...
Just under 4000 attended the last two home games since the famous "Golden Ticket, roll-up roll-up 5 games for £15", deal was in force for League One side Oldham. This attendance is up from 2500 the previous home game. The Tranmere game at the weekend was not in the deal, apparently, but talk of it seems to have revived interest in the club and the more worrysome games were the upcoming midweek matches.
This should therefore uphold the Oldham chairman's thoughts that action was required to improve attendances. According to his records, the home game against Walsall on Valentines night (never going to be a great attendance - fancy a trip to boundary park, love?) had an attendance tantamount to just a crowd full of season ticket holders.
However, the attendances have been on the slide since christmas, but most hover in the mid 3000s anyway, so it could be a case that 14th Feb was write-off for those who pay game-by-game, and the extra thousand fans (some of whom will be away fans) will now consist of a high proportion of people who would have attended anyway, but are now getting rock-bottom prices for a few matches.
The chairman, Simon Corney, did make a few salient points, other than those of ensuring attendances stay higher than 2000 for the player's sakes. The most telling was that of: "Kids are not going to go in to school and tell their classmates that they support Oldham Athletic - or any other team in this division. They would be laughed at. It has to be United, City or one of the other big guns....It is harder than ever to get youngsters interested in our club."
The youth then, appears to be the problem. Ageing crowds is a phenomenon repeated throughout the divisions - but seemingly for different reasons. The big guns are full with season ticket holders, who have held them for years and don't want to give them up, and the system of buying tickets weeks in advance (at high prices) is surely not one to appeal to the under 16s! The lower division teams are just not fashionable enough. (Some premier league teams aren't either, I'm unfortunately looking at you, Wigan)
I am not au fait with the various prices charged for admission at League 1 and 2 games - a trip last month to the hospital next to Boundary Park in Oldham informed me of the Latics prices (and I nearly ended up in A&E rather than the outpatients after seeing them!). However, a Dagenham & Redbridge fan tweeted to say his season ticket was barely worth the early big outlay - giving just a £17 saving over the season against the price of paying game-by-game. It would be interesting to hear more comparisons - and also to hear if other clubs are offering cut-price deals - if only to see how clubs are juggling the issue of rewarding loyalty and growing attendances.
As said last week, I think these deals will become more prominent, the clubs have to do something. But, in my opinion, the comments regarding youngsters should hit home hardest - the best deals should be aimed at them, thinking of the future. However, loyalty should not be treated with complacency.