MySeatz: Giving back to the fans
As football fans contend with the dire economic straits of modern times tickets remain unsold and stadia, particularly across the Football League, remain empty.
One company has emerged proposing a solution that benefits all.
MySeatz aims to use people power to offer cheaper tickets for supporters and bigger attendances for clubs.
Director of MySeatz, John Henwood, said: "With football clubs having high fixed costs against the provision of a football match and the perishable nature of tickets, clubs are given a ‘use it or lose it’ scenario regarding seats.
"Co-founder and fellow football fanatic Rajesh Chengadu and I have devised a solution which would allow clubs to sell more tickets whilst not devaluing their current pricing infrastructure."
The total cost of watching a football game incorporates the price of tickets, travel, food and drink and, of course, merchandise and memorabilia.
For many people, supporting your team in this way is simply impossible given the economic strain many are experiencing.
"If ever there was a time MySeatz is relevant, then this is it," added Henwood.
So how exactly does the process work?
"From a user perspective, it couldn’t be simpler – just visit MySeatz.com and choose your club and we will email you when we have a deal for your club," said Henwood.
Once the company has created large fan networks for each team, it will then approach the clubs to negotiate deals on tickets, the criteria for which are completely at the clubs' discretion.
Having agreed the deals, MySeatz will then sell the tickets to the consumer in the form of vouchers which must then be exchanged at the clubs’ ticket office.
Crucially, clubs will select their own deal criteria but MySeatz hope to offer at least a 50% discount on standard ticket prices.
Like Groupon, which leads the market on discounted goods, MySeatz will negotiate minimum buyer agreements whilst also promising to be flexible if the clubs create their own promotions.
Attendances across the Football League have been down for some time; global financial difficulties have merely compounded them.
Last season the Championship, League One and League Two teams filled only 68.7%, 42.7% and 43.4% respectively of their stadium capacities.
“We have begun speaking with Football League clubs and, as we are located in Bournemouth, we started with AFC Bournemouth who were very positive.
“The most interesting bit of feedback from the clubs is that when they run their own promotions, they must make a blanket offer to all supporters whereas MySeatz can provide more specific deals," said Henwood.
The fact that MySeatz can quickly publish deals to fans through its network of email subscribers renders the process of selling reduced priced tickets more efficient than ever before.
“We will now approach more clubs to show them what we have to offer," he added.
Giving back to the fans
Fans seem to have reacted well to the company’s proposals.
Ian McCroft, a Derby County fan, said: "In these difficult economic times, this is the perfect answer for clubs and fans alike."
It seems that at last the fans will be given a helping hand in managing the huge cost of following their clubs.
Who knows, perhaps we will look back on the founding of this company as the day that clubs began to redress the balance and really give something back to the loyal supporters? The least we can hope for is that we start to see fuller Football League grounds up and down the country.
By Chris Smith