The following email was sent to OxVox members on Friday 20 May 2022
In an email on 4 May we asked members to send us any comments on the season ticket pricing arrangements for 2022-3 announced by Oxford United. In parallel we asked on Twitter for approval ratings for the prices and any further comments, which attracted almost 250 replies, two thirds of which were happy with the pricing and one third less than happy. We very much appreciate the emails received from some 55 of you expressing your views. We’ll be getting round to sending individual replies to you in due course.
Each of your comments was carefully read and key points extracted by Trevor. He and Janine Bailey of the Supporters Panel (OUSP) collaboratively put together a report to the club which was sent to them on 10 May, OUSP having also received supporter feedback. The report contained some anonymised extracts from the comments, to illustrate the key points. Since then we have received comment and feedback from the club, and dialogue continues.
Some key points from the report sent to the club
- The £10 charge for a physical season ticket was disliked by many who commented, and some viewed it as excessive or a price increase ‘by stealth’. Some families with juniors were concerned that they would have a charge of £10 per family member.
- The need for a smartphone was raised and would, some wrote, discriminate against older fans and youngsters who may be less likely to own the technology.
- Many commented on practical aspects of using digital tickets. The need for a comprehensive guide was a common theme. Such a guide would dispel some concerns, for example the false impression that a mobile or wifi signal was required to access the ticket.
- Aspects of the marketing were criticised. A false narrative of a price freeze had emerged in local media. There was a lack of information on hospitality packages ie the 1893 club. Comments were received that opportunities to grow the season ticket base were being missed and that a means of an existing season ticket holder introducing a newcomer at a discount could have been introduced.
- Concerns were raised about group bookings adversely affecting some season ticket holders particularly in South Stand Lower.
In response the club has noted a number of points.
On pricing, the club did not promote a ‘price freeze’ narrative. It seems to us that whether an individual sees an increase depends partly on whether they are comparing last year’s early bird price with this year’s offer, and partly on some price adjustments to some areas. We thought a clearer comparison of like with like across the two seasons would have been helpful to fans. A small increase was acceptable to many.
The club is planning to issue a full guide on the use of digital tickets in the coming weeks, which we warmly welcome. We and OUSP have asked to review the content before it is issued, to ensure that all anticipated concerns are dealt with. We regret that it wasn’t discussed earlier and made available with the initial launch.
The club has confirmed that there will be no change to the £10 season ticket charge. We would have preferred no charge and no ticket as the default, with the option to have a card being available on request but without the additional charge. Although almost all adults under 55 in the UK own a smartphone, only 65% of over 65s use one (source: statista.com). These older fans, and juniors too young to have a smartphone, are groups that will need a physical card.
The club will also review the operation of group booking schemes and welcomes further comment on this issue.
We have also established that there will be fuller consultation with OxVox and OUSP next year before announcements are made.