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Discussion in 'England Hockey' started by FatForward, Sep 21, 2017.
No-one would have believed that part of the story if I had said MO ...
On a different tack, I believe the MO at NL games is supposed to estimate the crowd, and send in a form with this detail to EH. Do the figures ever get released?
From watching Galvanised on a Monday night, the crowds seem to me, to be in the @100 ish, with maybe a late Saturday "London derby" game getting 200-300.
Yet EH in their document about the league changes in light of the Pro League, seem to think that increased ticket sales could be a good money earner:
The income areas with most potential for growth (and margin) are ticket sales/match day income,... (my italics)
From various chats with folks from other teams, this doesn't appear a commonly held view, just wondered what other folks on here thought?
The women's games seem to have noticeably smaller crowds, which would be partially down to being played on a Saturday at normal playing times, do some of the London derbies get bigger crowds?
Yes, we do have to send an estimate of the crowd size in, @Thorney. (Bill and I reckoned 120 on Sun?) No idea what is done with the figures once they’re in EH’s possession...
@Stuart Burnside is a good person to speak to about this. Wapping did some season tickets and pay-per-entry tickets last season. Most of the complaints from what i can remember came from opposition fans rather than Wapping fans. Personally I don't begrudge paying to go and watch hockey but I suspect as you say above, not everyone agrees.
Dunno what happened with last post but: Sure happy to help @Thorney
I'm not 100% sure what the question here is, attendance?
My take is that the majority of any attendance is going to be your home gate. "Hockey neutral" gate is tiny, "local neutral" was actually not that bad and we even sold season tickets to non-hockey locals. Away gate is fairly small, and as implied there were a handful or so of angry mums who thought I personally was responsible for London parking charges and their petrol from [redacted] so how dare I charge £3 gate.
London derbies are a misnomer when talking about us, as anyone who has tried to cross London will know - Leeds / Wakey / Donnie are easier derbies than Wapping / Richmond and others. I guess the SW / W London group of clubs would count as a proper derby.
As such, our attendance is dramatically higher when the game is played at the end of the day on Sat rather than on a Sun. We sought to build a culture where our lower teams who'd played that day would then be in the crowd for a 5:30pb, usually as a precursor to some form of continued socialising. That would get us a fairly strong gate.
If you're on a Sunday, I guess you might have some juniors hang around (unlikely unless you've really engaged their parents, or made it a "thing"); or you might get some gate (as we did) by putting mixed on before it. But other than that, certainly with our demographic, it's a lot harder to persuade someone to get out of bed and down to the ground to not play and watch (a likely defeat) than it is to get them to stick around and have some beers and shout a bit after they've already played.
A couple of comments to back up what is said elsewhere. A Saturday night fixture at Holcombe, the clubhouse is packed especially when we can get men and women playing at 4pm/6pm.
We don't charge mainly because of logistics our pitch and clubhouse are next to each other it's difficult to separate visiting teams from those coming to watch the game unless we did a collection on the terrace. In this regard EG, Surbiton and Wimbledon (away games I've been to recently) have found it easier to implement because you have to walk to the pitchside. Some grumbling from away support but with the astronomical cost of replacing pitches teams really need to get smarter with raising funds.
But of course you would be making some money from those spectators spending money in the clubhouse bar right? And selling programmes (ours are free with the ticket).
Which is the position some (not you) who criticise non-asset owning clubs (like us) who charge for tickets but don’t earn off a “clubhouse” are in, and why I tend to think of them as hypocrites.
This season I’ve been to a couple of Surbiton double headers and have not begrudged paying a fiver one bit. Considering it’s a club with huge outlay for domestic and European travel, why wouldn’t you want to pay half a match fee to watch 3 hours of top class hockey and help support them maintain their level. (FYI I have no affiliation to Surbiton). Would like to see all Prem clubs charging entry fees or at least asking for donations - anything that helps up the quality of the domestic game can only be a good thing)
Make a very healthy return on the bar. The programmes which are prepared by me (and are reasonably priced at £1) really only cover the cost of producing them - we sell about 10-15 per men's game and about 5 -10 for the women.
Yes the Holcombe away games at Surbiton and Canterbury are always Saturday night and get bumper crowds and are thoroughly enjoyable (A bit of cheeky banter from the locals is also well received) - no issue paying to watch the game. We've been doing likewise on and off with Reading which is another favourite ground of mine to visit - always feel welcome at Sonning Lane.
I agree with this.
At the risk of sounding like the "Shut up and take my money!" person, more clubs should be charging an entry fee. Whether they own the pitch/clubhouse/bar is largely irrelevant - the fact is, you're going to be watching the highest level of hockey in the country.
It's irrelevant to whether the spectator should pay to watch national league hockey. However, it is highly relevant to the decision to charge.
There are many people who think that they will get a higher gate if they don't charge, which is better for bar sales, etc. I can understand that, but if that then turns into their fans taking the "we don't charge" moral high ground with those that do, well, um, no, you're making your money a different way, so wind your neck in. I mean, it's the same bs as we see elsewhere eg "boo club x pay players, we don't" from clubs that have highly remunerated coaches that happen to play first team hockey.
Some people claim this as "amateur vs professional" - I think all of it is a barrier to entry. The former is a barrier to professionalising from those that don't have their own facilities (and I would argue, therefore, did not at some point in their past have a wealthy benefactor). The latter is arguably also a barrier to those who don't have the scale to justify these type of coaching gigs, or aren't in a location where they can charge their junior players sufficiently high subs to pay coaches like that, or, say, don't have local private schools willing to part pay coach salaries, and so on. Whereas if you were paying players from gate revenues, it's a bit different.
That said, I would charge (for NL hockey) even if we did make money from the bar. What I noticed is that when you are making money from tickets it changes the way you market the game to spectators, and it changes your thought process about how much they enjoy it (value for ticket). The other thing it does is it ascribes value to your product. The psychology of it as something worth paying for is then actually quite good for marketing it to non-hockey locals. Come and watch your local team, great value, only £3 is, I think, in psychological terms actually more attractive than "the local hockey club would love some support, free entry!"
And of course, as soon as you get people outside of hockey, they realise £3 is incredible value, it's only hockey people that chisel you over pence (he says, not entirely joking).
Final thought - if you have paying spectators, that also changes your positioning with sponsors. People are paying to consume your product, it has more value, yes, I want my ad board there.
My original question was more about did anyone think EH's idea that clubs would be able to significantly grow ticket sales in future, was realistic or not. The answers, have sort of confirmed my thinking that gate receipts are mainly pretty static, yes late Saturday is the best time as you have punters already on site, but otherwise numbers are the 100-200 range and unlikely to jump significantly.
We charge £5 adults and £2 for students, I've never really noticed any grumblings from the opposition fans, some of our girls think because they don't charge, we shouldn't, however that isn't great logic on a few levels, and the travelling in the prem is way more than the north conference. We do have people who don't pay and watch through the fence, which is fine by me, there are even people who pay but still watch from outside. If in some parallel universe Jamie Dwyer was to rock up at Brooklands, I doubt that it would have much effect on the gate.
We have done the odd free game over the years, including against other Prem teams in the cup, it had no discernible difference to the actual numbers who came to watch. As Brooklands itself, is somewhat stuck out of sight in th middle of housing, and has no real passing traffic, it has proved a little difficult to advertise games cost effectively. We do hope to try and get some seating in the tiddly space between the pitch and the main cricket square -see attached pic - and maybe this might encourage a few more folks to visit, but it will never be a major earner in the EH view/scale of things - we take @£400 a game, on our 100-120 average crowd, so £3500-£4000 a year, which goes into the 1st team bucket.
For the fiver you pay, you get a glossy programme, with pictures, match reports, profiles and this week even a satirical piece on the perils of playing for "other" local teams. We are very lucky, that the printing/layout is done for free by the father of one our 2nd team players.
We don't own our bar, it is something of a franchise inside the DW fitness centre, but the more money across the bar makes it easier for the owner to try and keep proices competitive, and also more people in the bar makes for a better atmosphere for all.
Clubs should be allowed to raise money how they see fit, whether tickets or bar sales, or a combination of both, I just doubt that with the culture of "hockeys always been free" in this country, that gate money will ever be a major part of a clubs finances in the way EH envisage.
As @Stuart Burnside points out there will always be folks saying "you're doing it the wrong way, we don't do that" - and it is bs really - different methods work for different folks with different issues.
ps just remembered the only opposition person who thought charging was wrong, and that was a Canterbury person, as they didn't charge themselves, we shouldn't charge them...
Fair point about the ease of marketing / footfall. There's not much natural footfall at Lee Valley either. One thing we tried which worked a bit was to use seetickets for online ticket sales, and that then allowed us a platform to market from. That got us some of our neutral sales. It didn't work that well with away fans because our opponents often didn't pass it on. A shame, as it would have avoided the surprise some had to be charged on arrival. (Again, £3, I repeat, £3, I repeat, people turning up to games in a Mercedes from leafy affluentburbia were complaining in a cut glass accent about £3, aaaaaargggghhh am I denting your Waitrose budget, what is wrong with you people???)
I agree with you on the EH thing in part. I just don't think there is much they can do. I think the people who can get significant numbers of people spectating our game are those who run our clubs - and I think the only way you can get to that point is to treat it with an similar priority to what you do for training and playing. If you look at most of the well spectated sports, a lot of those spectators are not themselves playing regular sport, or not necessarily playing the same sport. Does anyone think about people who don't play as potential spectators (other than people's families)? I suspect not many.
Another thought - what about concentrating more games at a single location, would that help? For example South Africa's Premier Hockey League starts this weekend, with all games happening at the Randburg Astro in Joburg.
Of course, those that "don't charge" probably wouldn't want to give up the clubhouse revenues...but hypothetically if everyone had a share of the bar and of the gate, it could be possible to play multiple national league games at a single regional centre (or indeed, rotate it around host clubs), which would concentrate spectating, and arguably make it easier for umpires too.
It was chuffing freezing, and the opposition looked like they were wearing pyjamas, but Grinstead's 1-0 win was immense today.
Paddy was on great form in goal.
Roll on the indoor season!
But their ladies lost to Bowdon 1-2.
And as we go into the break 4 points covers the top five in IWHL. Tight at the top. And 4 points the bottom 5. Squeaky at the bottom.
I can confirm the coldness. Holcombe made some daft errors got 4-1 down and then played like they could have got something out of the game. If I were the coach I would take great comfort from the level of performance without key players and make a plan to drum this into the squad continuously until the outdoor season recommences. Well done Reading though.
Has anyone seen Thorney? Or is he still doing cartwheels in the Beeston carpark?
Never send messages when pissed EOM