Sea­son tick­ets for lo­cal foot­ball are a guar­an­tee for suc­cess, as well as a seat

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

FOR A league that pur­ports it­self to be the best on the African con­ti­nent, the Premier Soc­cer League (PSL) still has a long way to go be­fore it reaches world class stan­dards.

This much was brought to light dur­ing a trip to both Eng­land and Spain last week where I at­tended a num­ber of matches.

Granted, just about every fan will know that in terms of what tran­spires on the pitch we are miles be­hind most. But that is not only where we are lack­ing.

For a num­ber of years we have lamented the poor at­ten­dances at our sta­di­ums, with many blam­ing the poor fare dished out on our fields as a rea­son.

Lately though, it has be­come clear that the live broad­cast of matches is a big con­trib­u­tor to fans not go­ing to matches. Af­ter all, why should I spent an af­ter­noon at the sta­dium for one match when I can stay at home, have a braai with mates and watch no less than four, if not more, live games rang­ing from the PSL, via EPL, to La Liga.

Aware of the tele­vi­sion threat, the English re­strict live tele­vi­sion to the ex­tent that only the 3pm matches are shown, and even then it is on pay-per-view tele­vi­sion that is not ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one. And that in­vari­ably forces the fans to go to the sta­di­ums.

An­other way, which I’ve long ad­vo­cated for here but which – as with many of the sug­ges­tions I, and most of my col­leagues in the soc­cer in­dus­try, have been prof­fer­ing for year – al­ways falls on deaf ears, is sea­son tick­et­ing.

No doubt our club bosses, most of whom are well trav- elled, know that clubs in Eng­land – and most of Europe – sell sea­son tick­ets to their fans. That way, there is a guar­an­teed pres­ence of fans at the sta­di­ums, for home matches in par­tic­u­lar.

Of course the dif­fer­ence here is that while clubs in Eng­land own sta­di­ums, ours here lease from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

The ad­van­tages of sea­son tick­ets are nu­mer­ous. For one, the fans will not have to fork out money every week­end to go to a game as they would have ‘died’ once at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.

An­other pro for sea­son-tick­et­ing is that each fan has a guar­an­teed seat­ing place. Such an ar­range­ment will go a long way to­wards al­le­vi­at­ing the risks of stam­pedes.

When you know you are go­ing to find your seat wait­ing for you, as is the case in the EPL and La Liga, you will al­ways go to the right gate and never be hur­ried to get into the venue any­where, and as quickly as pos­si­ble, so you get the ‘best seat’.

An­other im­pres­sive as­pect from the trip was to see how the sta­di­ums over­seas were fam­ily friendly, with dads bring­ing their young sons and even daugh­ters to the matches – con­fi­dent in the knowl­edge that they are un­likely to have to pro­tect their kids from rowdy or dagga-smok­ing fans.

Of course they have hooli­gans and ul­tras, but those ones have their des­ig­nated area in the sta­di­ums and just about every fan knows not to go there. In any case, those seats be­long to those loud, crazy fans through­out the sea­son.

Kaizer Chiefs went the sea­son tick­ets route a num­ber of years back when they used to play at the Jo­han­nes­burg Sta­dium and the sys­tem worked like a charm. Surely it is about time they and the rest of the PSL went this route.

It just makes sense.

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