And all for the price of a ticket, changing the programme and a perfect calm

With next season’s membership tickets now on sale, I thought I’d have a look today at just how much value for money a match day ticket really offers supporters who come to watch a game of rugby at the BPA.

In all , I think there are 6 different tiers of payment, depending on the following:

Full price – £15 (£20.50)

Concession – £11 (£16.50)

Season ticket – £12 (£17.50)

Season ticket (early bird) – £11.20 (£16.70)

Season ticket  (concession) – £9 (£14.50)

Season ticket (concession/early bird) – £8.40 (£13.90)

The figure in brackets is the total outlay if you added the cost of parking your car (£3) and buying a programme (£2.50).

All I’ve done to work out the relative cost of entry for someone with a season ticket is divide the total cost of the season ticket by the number of league games (eg early bird season ticket = £168/15 = £11.20).

What is fairly clear is that anyone who is likely to  go to 11 games or more during the course of the season is better off buying a season ticket and buying it before the offer ends in mid-April. Obvious, I know, but it’s not until I set it as in this way that I realised just what good value it is – and by ‘good value’ I mean, in this context, compared to the full price of £15 for a match day ticket.

£15 reduced to £11.20 with an early bird season ticket.

32% off the cost of an adult match day ticket certainly seems good value to me, anyway.

However, from going to a fair few away games, it is clear that the basic cost of watching a game of rugby, before any concessions are included, is more than that of most, if not all, National 1 clubs.

Indeed,  the cheapest ticket to watch the Wasps play premiership rugby just across the city is also £15.

So, is the cost of watching rugby at the Butts Park Arena good value or not, given it seems expensive by comparison?

Obviously, I’m not taking into account the quality of the rugby played, although clearly that is going to have a bearing on how someone might judge exactly what  the ‘value for money’ they are enjoying is – £15 watching Hurrell and Rundle lead the line last season might be seen by many as a better return on their outlay than watching Coventry struggle to put a run of wins together this season.

That said:

for £15 a supporter can expect to get next season:

  • Entrance to any part of the ground, and the main bar area;
  • Covered seating for anyone who wants it;
  • Excellent toilet/washroom facilities;
  • A large bar/clubroom area;
  • At least two areas selling food and hot drinks;
  • Post-match entertainment (not for all games, but most);
  • Several televisions to watch internationals/football/rugby before and after the game.
In addition, if you’re a member you can also expect to benefit from
  • Reduction in the cost of entry;
  • A newsletter 3/4 times a season;
  • Memberships for the 2016/17 season will also include some ‘exciting’ discounts and offers from associated clubs and local businesses to be announced soon;
  • admittance to the members’ forum 1/2 times a season.

I have to own up to having missed the ‘exciting’ discounts that are to be made available to members and only noticed this when checking something else on the official website. It’s rather hidden away under the ‘Members’ section and seems to be a new initiative – perhaps a sign of the club moving forward as far as it’s PR is concerned under the changes in management?

It will be interesting to see what this involves but any potential discounts made available in retail outlets, gyms, cinemas etc within Coventry can only be a good thing, can’t it? I’m not sure why this hasn’t been more widely publicised, especially when a lot is presently being done to encourage members to purchase their season tickets so early, unless the club is still in negotiations with these ‘associated clubs and local businesses’.

Anyway, it gets a big thumbs up from me as of now.

The club does have very modern facilities, certainly in comparison to most of the clubs we play in National 1. Seating is comfortable and there is shelter both sides of the pitch with no distance to walk from the stand to the main clubhouse. Indeed, there is no need to leave the main stand to do so, which is much appreciated when it’s very wet or windy.

The main stand is also a little warmer than at most other grounds because the ends aren’t open which is a big plus in the depths of winter.

The Northern Echo Arena is another ground that is particularly sheltered. Darlington only charge £10 to watch and, if I remember correctly, that also includes the cost of the programme (which a number of other clubs offer in the cost of the entry ticket). The downside though is the amount of walking involved and also the fact that because it’s a 20000 seater stadium, supporters are only given access to one stand running the length of the pitch which means almost 3/4 of the ground is empty. It’s all a bit soulless, although their supporters do make a fair amount of noise!

There are a number of grounds where you have to walk quite some distance from the bar areas/clubhouse to the pitch and in winter it can get very muddy and slippery – if you’re of an age, some grounds are actually not feasible to travel to simply because of the amount of walking involved. And it can be a real pain when you have to walk a country mile at half time to get back to the clubhouse in order to go to the loo.

And talking of loos, there are grounds that offer pretty grim toilet facilities, with limited cubicles and urinals (sorry, but with no experience of those available for women it’s going to have to be male orientated here…)…at Coventry this isn’t the case and even at half time when the beer’s starting to take it’s toll, there’s never much of a queue. Definitely a big tick in the plus column for Cov.

The main bar area at The Butts seems a lot bigger than at most other grounds and although the club has to cater for far more supporters, there is more room available unless it is just before kick off or just after the game has finished. Service at the bar can be slow, but that isn’t always a problem. It’s usually quite lively with a good buzz about the place and with free entertainment often put on after the game, it’s got a lot going for it.

On match days where there is pre-match catering it can get a little claustrophobic as half the bar area is restricted access, but even then it’s quite manageable.

All in all, I do think that even at £15, watching Cov does represent pretty good value for money.

Where I think it does become expensive is if you come by car and/or buy a programme. That adds an extra £5.50 to the cost of a game if you do both and that’s a significant amount (at 49%, almost half as much again if you purchase an early bird season ticket) especially when there are clubs in National 1 that don’t charge for the cost of a programme at all.

I know it won’t happen next season, but I do think when the cost of entry is next increased, including the programme in the admission price should be considered, unless the programme is given a bit of a makeover. I’m not being at all critical here, it’s fine as it, but the basic format hasn’t changed for years and you know exactly what you’re going to find in it. It’s just a bit, well, ‘samey’.

If what is happening at Cov at the moment is to become a sea-change in the transition of the club towards a more professional approach to everything it does, then maybe a small thing like a change to the programme actually would be indicative of greater things elsewhere. If the first programme come September is bigger and bolder, then it sets the tone and supporters will recognise  the change straightaway. Even before a ball has been kicked, the club is serious about moving forward. First impressions and all that…and the initial impression for many next season will be that first programme.

A couple of different articles per programme on players or the backroom staff, or even training routines, a life in the day of, the maintenance of the pitch, how the kit is chosen, laundered etc could be easily added …I’m not being flippant here, I’d really like to know who launders the kit and is it done on site, off-site, do the players get their mums to do it (okay, that was flippant) etc. Many a season in years gone by, whites turned a bluey-purple, especially when the shirts were made of cotton.

You could give one of the players the role of working with the new interns to get a structured diary of content over the 15 match day programmes  and then organise when the players to be featured would be available for interview.

A section for the younger supporters would also be appreciated, I’m sure, with quizzes and competitions and maybe the opportunity to win your favourite player’s shirt come the end of the season…

There must have been at least a couple of hundred unsold programmes at the Cinderford game (thanks, John!) given the low attendance and someone actually game round trying to sell them during the game, which is unusual. That must add to the cost…

The other thing that I think should happen, and I mentioned this on the messageboard years ago (Mark H – back to your comment yesterday!) is that programmes should be archived on the website, so if you missed a game you could  access the electronic version of the programme. It’s easy to do because in order to print the programme it would have to put into something like a ‘pdf’ document first, so saving it to file is straightforward. Mind you, you’d probably delay doing so for a couple of weeks to prevent people from making a decision not to buy a programme because it will be on the website the next day…

I’ve digressed somewhat, given this post initially started at simply looking as to whether the price of a match day ticket (£15) represents good value for money, which I’ve since said I believe it does. And at just £11.20 (or better still, £8.40 for early bird concessions), I think it’s excellent value.

There are other things that could be done to make it even better value.

For instance (and I wish this was my idea but it’s not) all members could have the match day team list sent to them on the Friday by email as a perk of membership. Such an easy thing to do but it adds a bit of a personal touch and would be genuinely useful.

And so it goes on…for every one suggestion I make, there will be a dozen that others could add. It would be great if we could set up a group of like-minded (or even not so like-minded) supporters pooling their ideas and working with the club to develop the match day experience, something which I’m not aware of the club doing up to now.

Okay, I know it might be another ‘banging your head against a brick wall’ moment, but there are people in and around the club who are receptive to new ideas and there are supporters who have their ears.

And, of course, there is soon to be a new management structure…

…I’ve no idea what the opposite of a perfect storm is – ie the  coming together of events to produce the perfect outcome.

Perhaps a perfect calm?

Whatever it is, the next few weeks could be leading up to it and with that comes the opportunity for real change.

But then again, it might just be that I continue to give myself a headache…









8 thoughts on “And all for the price of a ticket, changing the programme and a perfect calm

  1. Hi John – will pass the message on to Paul I, I’m sure it will be welcome news. Knowing my luck, by the time I reach 60 age will have been raised to 65…

  2. Go to the office speak to jo and tell her when the season starts you will be sixty and as such entitled to a concession ticket. I am sure she will take pity on you

  3. Many thanks, you have helped me greatly through my indecisive phase.

    I have decided that a short-term gain will be much better than a long-term pain. I will pay the full £168, hopefully this will be more beneficial to the club.


  4. Dear Confused of Coventry

    I see your dilemma and I feel your pain.

    However, at your age, I wouldn’t want to be waiting for anything…

    Hope this helps…

  5. Dear Mr ‘ Motivator!’

    Many thanks for your breakdown and comments on Cov’s admission’s policy. As I will be 60 in June, will I be best to wait for my concession opportunity then for a lower price, or take advantage of the reduced price before April 23rd of £168?
    I fee very dizzy trying to work out which fork in the road to take?

    Yours ‘ confused Paul’

  6. Sorry…You’re absolutely right, I did mean Cinderford…d’oh! Will amend accordingly.
    Do you know, I’d assumed it was 65…that’s a really good point. Won’t be long before I benefit from it!!!! Fair play to the club, that is very much a plus point… Thanks, John

  7. Think you meant the programme seller came round for the cindeford game.. Blaydon?
    One thing you did not mention is that concessions start at 60. Most other Nat 1 clubs start at 65 if they actually have a concession price.

Any thoughts:

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