From what I hear, there has been a divergence in season ticket sales across Scottish Premiership clubs, some have sold very healthy numbers while others have scarcely moved the dial. There are a number of headwinds but one particular doubt lifted yesterday – what will happen when games are played behind closed doors (BCD).
The League and Sky TV agreed that clubs will be able to sell streaming content for games played BCD to fans in numbers limited to last year’s season ticket sales. This allows clubs to bundle watch-at-home rights to BCD games with season tickets.
On top of the SPFL agreement with Sky to limit rebate on last season to £1.5m (payable over 5 years), this is a great win for Neil Doncaster. Many revenue streams will still be down at every club, watch-from-home will not fill club shops pre-match, sell food or lucrative hospitality seats, but clubs can offer fans a season ticket package.
In Scotland, season ticket sales are the most fundamental aspect of clubs’ income. Apart from a couple, who budget on income from TV, pitch hire and three bumper away crowds per season, most Premiership sides need to sell consistent numbers of season tickets to maintain existing levels of spend. This deal will allow most, including Celtic, to continue trading at something close to normal levels.
My suspicion is sales will be healthy at Celtic – it is THE season, we will all want to be there at it’s conclusion and see as much of it as possible when BCD. Hibs sales are already healthy – I think of this as the Ann Budge Bounce, Dundee United will sell numbers not seen in a decade and Motherwell will see a bounce after such a good year.
My gut feel is that Newco will sell well. If nothing else, they have played to their base in recent months. Selling the Staunch ticket may be the only option open to them after all, there’s not much appeal in ‘Be here for Celtic’s 10 season, we’re sure to finish second’. No more on their financial matters for now.
There are a clutch of clubs I expect to suffer, Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Kilmarnock. Rightsizing the player pool will be a major challenge for each.