Writer: Matt Partridge
Date:Wednesday April 6 2011
Firstly a huge thanks to everyone who took part in the survey; 1515 of you to be precise. This provides the results with a high degree of statistical value; on some answers it provides an estimated 98% accuracy, but this varies across the survey.
These results are part of an ongoing report which will be completed in May and which will also be submitted as part of a university dissertation. Although only parts of the report will be made public, Portsmouth City Football Club, who have fully cooperated in helping answer specific questions, will be provided with the full report and statistical information. Anyone wishing to use disclosed data for academic work, or for any other reason, can only do so once full permission has been requested and granted.
Every effort has been made to produce a summary of these results as quickly as possible after the survey closed. It should be clear where assumptions and estimates have been made, but if there is any doubt then please do get in touch.
Portsmouth Football Club sold nine thousand seven hundred season tickets last season with the average early bird cost being £400 (adult). The survey suggests that the average adult season ticket holder would have been happy to pay £418 to renew their season ticket this season. Only 39% said they would happily pay an increased price for their season ticket next season. 5% of fans would not have renewed even if season ticket prices had been frozen for 2011/2012. In a follow up survey to this one (to PST Season Ticket holders only) 25% said they wouldn't be renewing their season ticket. Combining the two surveys, and analysing the data from each, an assumption can be made as follows:
- 3,783 people will definitely renew their season ticket without hesitation and the Club will reach this number quickly
- 485 people never intended on renewing their season ticket this season anyway
- 5,432 people will consider whether to renew their season ticket and at least 25% won`t renew
Based on the data, it is likely that between 6,805 - 7,857 existing season ticket holders will renew.
To calculate the number of non-season ticket holders who will buy a season ticket next season is almost impossible because the sample size of fans who might consider it is unknown. The survey suggests that fans who attend between 12 and 17 games over the course of a season would on average be prepared to buy a season ticket for next season at £352. Based on the results from this survey, a very rough estimate can be made of between, 550-1,050 season tickets being purchased by current non-season ticket holders.
Overall Season Ticket Summary:
This research predicts that between 7,355 and 8,907 season tickets will be bought this year, with a best guestimate of 8,519 being the number sold. Although it depends on the ratio of adult season tickets to concession season tickets, it seems likely that the Club will receive slightly less money from season ticket sales this year (despite the price increase) compared to sales last year.
The Club have also increased match day prices this year - so what affect will this have?
Match Day Tickets
The survey suggests that fans who attend Fratton Park over the course of a season do so an average of 7 times, currently paying £23 a match for an adult ticket. This price is set to rise next season and only 20% said they'd still attend the same amount of games with a price increase. The average price that a non-season ticket holder is willing to pay to increase the number of games they attend is just over £20. A price of £20 would result in the average fan increasing the number of games they attend from 7 to 10. Presuming that the average attending fan does still go 7 times to Fratton Park next season (paying £27), the survey suggests that the Club would actually make more money from that fan attending 10 times at £20.
Overall Match Day Ticket Summary:
The match day ticket average is obviously affected heavily by those who only attend a few games per season. The most common attendance result on this question was between 1-5 matches. Again, it's very hard to predict due to the sample size being unknown, however the survey results suggest that it is a reasonable assumption that the average attendance of 7 games will decrease next season to 5 or 6 due to the ticket price rise. With potentially some big teams coming down from the Premier League and local rivals being promoted from League One, these are bound to be the (more expensive) Category 'A' matches. Although the Club will increase their revenue for these games, it is likely that fans will be less keen to attend some of the less glamorous matches, in order to keep their personal cost under control.
Overall Attendances Summary:
With the average attendance at Fratton Park for the 2010/2011 season being just over 15,500, it is likely to be a slightly lower total for the 2011/2012 season. Based on the survey results, a dramatic drop in attendances is not expected, but there is likely to be increased variation between different categories of matches, the biggest worry being the less glamorous home games which are scheduled close to the 'Category A' matches. In these cases, match attendances could struggle to exceed the 11,500 mark. The increase in prices is also likely to damage attendances for early round Cup matches and the amount of money that fans spend on merchandise.
Two other questions were asked about what positively and negatively affects fans attending Portsmouth FC matches. The top five answers to both questions are revealed below:
Factors that would make you consider not going to watch Portsmouth play:
1) Reduced personal finances (58% of people who took the survey)
2) Ticket prices getting too expensive (54%)
3) Owners/Directors not running the Club as you'd wish (25%)
4) The Cost of Transport getting too expensive (21%)
5) Crowd Trouble increasing at Fratton Park (20%)
Interestingly, only 5% said that if Portsmouth were to be relegated to League One they'd be tempted not to go anymore.
Factors that would increase the likelihood of you going to watch Portsmouth play:
1) Ticket prices getting cheaper (52% of people who took the survey)
2) Increased personal wealth (45%)
3) Owners investing in the team (42%)
4) A re-developed Fratton Park (37%)
5) A new stadium (31%)
Promotion to the Premier League scored only 21%, which is in line with the view that fans are predominantly after value for money.
Away Match Travel
The average number of away games a PFC season ticket holder attends is 6 according to the survey. A hardcore 9% of season ticket holders attend at least 15 away games a season (about 873 fans). Only 7.3% of season ticket holders don't attend any away games over the course of a season (about 708 fans). 30% of fans who attend Fratton Park over the course of a season don't go to any away matches. 50% of people who took this survey go to between 1-5 away matches per season.
The Fans and their Club
The following questions were asked in the survey (with the key answers to each also listed below).
What age are Pompey Fans? - (answers based on the survey results)
- Only 15% of Pompey fans are under 22.
- Interestingly, 46% of Pompey fans are between 33 and 52.
- Only 11% of Pompey fans are over 60.
Are Pompey Fans United?
Ironically, 42% said that there is a divide between fans and 42% said that there wasn't, with 16% unsure if a divide amongst fans existed or not.
Would you Protest?
67% of fans would be willing to protest against Portsmouth City Football Club, but only 15% would do it by refusing to attend matches. 33% would not protest, no matter what happened on or off the pitch. Interestingly, 67% of season ticket holders would be willing to protest against the Club, but a slightly lower percentage would refuse to attend than the overall fans result of 15%.
Where do Pompey Fans Live?
Well, the correct answer to this question is everywhere! 39% live on Portsea Island or have a Portsmouth post code and 17% live outside of that but within a 20 mile radius of Fratton Park. This means that at 56%, a majority of fans, live within a short distance of the stadium. 20% live between 20 miles of Fratton Park and the London region, with a further 17% spread further across the UK, and 7% abroad.
How Should Fans Best be Informed?
This question looked at how fans wanted to be kept informed by what is happening at Portsmouth City Football Club. 30% voted in favour of Management/Directors having regular meetings with fans - this was the most popular answer with local fans. 26% suggested it should be via statements and articles using the Club's official website - this was the most popular answer with the 44% of fans living outside of a 20 mile radius of Fratton Park. Fan representation at boardroom level came a close third with 20%, while local and national media scored 17%. Fan involvement at shareholder level got 7% of the votes.
How Much do you Spend on Club Merchandise?
Pompey fans tend to spend a fair amount of money on Club merchandise. According to the survey, 22% of fans spend £71 or above per year. 17% of fans spend between £41 and £50, while 13% of fans spend nothing. 41% of fans think that the merchandise the Club sells is overpriced. 21% only buy Club merchandise at Christmas and Birthdays.
What should those in charge be doing?
A huge 81% of people who took the survey want the owners and directors to bring stability back to the Football Club. 66% of fans think that the Club needs to do more to communicate with its supporters, while 51% called for more fan involvement in decisions. These were the main considerations, but improving Fratton Park, investing in the playing squad and building a new training ground, were all around the 50% mark.
I was delighted with the number of responses to the survey and the statistical analysis of the results will continue over the next couple of weeks. Details of the final conclusions and recommendations of the report will be made shortly thereafter. However, based on the analysis to date the following initial conclusions can be drawn:
- Increasing the cost of watching Pompey won't necessarily increase revenue and is likely to cause fluctuating attendances.
- With such a high percentage of fans wanting stability back at PFC, it's important that this continues to be the priority, but with transparency through varied communications wherever possible also clearly being desired by the fans.
- With the Club no longer able to rely on huge television money, and such a large number of PFC fans willing to protest, it`s important that the Club keep the fans on side and not push 'goodwill` and 'loyalty' too far.
With these results being published soon after a season ticket announcement having already been made, they clearly aren't going to have an effect on pricing for next season. However, based on these results, there are a few immediate recommendations I'd make:
1) I'd recommend either the scrapping of 'Category A' matches, or the introduction of 'Category C' (for lesser games e.g. small away attendances expected) with appropriate price adjustments. Either idea would reduce fluctuating attendances, which could help mitigate any cash flow problems caused by volatile attendances.
2) Rewards for loyalty - with season ticket holders being asked to pay more for their loyalty this should come with a reward. This could range from personal benefits such as free entry to the Victory Bar or discounts on merchandising, to higher level benefits such as improvements to the ground or guarantees that season ticket money is being invested in the playing squad.
3) The uneven age of Pompey fans combined with the fact the Club has increased the cost of concession tickets seems to be a strange decision when the Club is not operating at full capacity. This research would certainly support any scheme that encourages younger fans and I would hope for a decrease in the cost of concession tickets in the not too distant future.
4) The cost of merchandising is an issue that fans have identified through this survey. However, from talking to many fans, there is possibly a large number unaware of the current discounts that the megastore is offering, or indeed that the store is still open.
These recommendations have been sent to Portsmouth FC, as will the survey results and the final report.
Once again, thanks to everyone who took part in the survey. Regular updates of the report will be posted on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mjpartridge1) and I'll happily answer any questions about the research via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Date:Wednesday April 6 2011
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