Yeovil Town Chairman John Fry has told the Western Gazette this week that he has yet to have 'great concerns' about the lower gates that have been experienced during the 2006-07 season. He feels the situation is a football-wide problem that is affecting the game as a whole and believes that other clubs are more strongly affected. Speaking to the paper he explained:
"I think these falling gates are something which has been waiting to happen for a long time. At the moment our attendances have not fallen enough to cause us great concern but we are always looking at ways to improve. It is important we market ourselves better in terms of providing services for travel to the games and making it easier to buy tickets. We did not increase prices for people like OAPS and children this season but we do understand that certain people have had to bare the brunt of that. We do hold regular customer charter meetings and ticket prices are a topic we discuss regularly."
Fry believes that where there are concerns, that the whole footballing industry should site up and take note, rather than just those at Huish Park:
"Of course falling gates are a concern and it must act as wake up call for football as a whole. At the moment people cannot afford to keep supporting their team home and away unless they are fanatics and got the money. We are based in a low-wage economy here in Somerset and the price of everything has gone up a lot recently particularly in the last 12 months. But falling gates are not just happening in one particular area, they are happening all over the country. Our attendances have been quite respectable in League One compared to others and knowing what some clubs' budgets are it is now wonder that they are in the red. Gate receipts are the biggest income stream and they are what keep most clubs afloat."
Fry claims that the football club are monitoring the situation and believe they face stiff competition from Digital Television services that show live games - somewhat at odds though with the responses Ciderspace got to this month's survey on attendances. Fry also claims that football is becoming a far more tactical sport which is taking away the entertainment factor out of games:
"At Yeovil, we have got to look at other income streams and we have to have a commercially-based environment to work in. We also have to make sure ticket prices are supplying demand and market forces will decide that at the end of the day. I can understand why people are picking and choosing their matches. They are looking for value for money. It is not just about waiting for a successful side either. I do not think that is the be all and end all. People are looking for more entertainment and a day out not just a football match. There is a lot more available to people nowadays than there ever has been. Take digital television for example. There is so much sport on the box with football matches almost every night, and that is what we are up against. I also think at League One level we have got to be more entertaining and creative in terms of our football. We are at a stage in football now where the tactical game has made it not so exciting. At the end of the day people want to be entertained."
Although the club may have some alternative research, our own survey concludes that supporters are happy with what they are seeing on the pitch this season. Furthermore of the 304 supporters who responded to our survey only one supporter admitted that they had missed Yeovil Town matches to watch live games on television. Read the first part of the survey results by following the links below.
Link: September 2006 Survey : Analysis Of Survey Results.
Link: September 2006 Survey : Statistical Results.
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