leeds fans19,334 was the average midweek attendance for league games before Leeds United took a risk on a reduced ticket pricing initiative last night. The result was 25,532 fans through the turnstiles, 6.198 above the midweek average. An increase of over 30%.

Considering the league situation heading into last nights game, a very small away turnout and the poor quality of opposition Leeds United were facing, it’s highly likely that Elland Road would have been well below the seasonal average had it not been for GFH’s initiative.

While it’s impossible to know what might have been, I think it’s highly likely Leeds United would have been playing in front of a 17,500 attendance without the lower prices, a figure similar to the attendances of midweek games v Leicester City and Charlton Athletic earlier this season.

When you consider that Leeds United have over 12,000 season ticket holders (money long since spent by our previous owner), that would have meant only 5,000 paying fans through the turnstiles last night. Instead, GFH’s ticket pricing offer saw 13,000 paying fans descend on Elland Road.

It’s hard to know for sure whether gate receipts levelled out with more fans paying reduced prices, but if we posit a £30 average price paid by the 5,000 who would have turned up, Leeds United needed gate receipts of £150,000 to break even. £150,000/13,000 is around £11.50 per ticket, so it largely depends on the ratio of kids to adults as to whether the gate receipts held firm.

But even if Leeds United recorded a loss on the gate, it can’t have been much and it’s hard to imagine they didn’t recoup the money elsewhere. 8,000 additional fans purchasing refreshments, programmes and merchandise all adds up, while the long-term benefits of getting kids through the gates for the first time are huge, the importance of winning new fans can’t be overstated.

In an age where you’re more likely to see Chelsea and Manchester United shirts on youngsters in Leeds city centre, it was imperative that our new owners started to lure back a generation of fans lost under the previous ownership. £5 last night may seem insignificant to a club with Leeds United’s expenses, but that £5 will turn into thousands as the child nags Dad into taking him to more matches, buying him replica kits and kitting his room out in random merchandise.

Most of those 10 year old kids who paid £5 last night will be supporting Leeds United for the rest of their lives and funding this club for decades to come. The importance of youth doesn’t begin and end with the Academies, it’s just as important in the stands.

Last night wasn’t just a success in the stands of course, it was also a success on the pitch and it’s not difficult to draw a line between the two. The so often lethargic looking Leeds United side, who are often at their most unbearable in midweek fixtures, seemed to feed off the feel-good factor being generated by a lively and boisterous Elland Road crowd. It felt like everyone was pulling in the same direction, working together to inspire one another as the players put in a performance to match the efforts of the crowd.

Credit for all of this must go to GFH. They’ve received a lot of unfair criticism since taking over at Elland Road, mostly as a result of the heightened cynicism Ken Bates’ ownership left behind. It’s understandable that patience is low after so many years outside the top-flight, but it’s going to take a little longer than 8 weeks to undo 8 years of damage. This was a small step in the right direction, a step I hope to see built upon next season by a more reasonable pricing structure that encourages the next generation of fans to come along to Elland Road, whilst also rewarding those of us who have been there through thick and thin (and thinner).

Fans will have a second chance to watch ‘Leeds for less’ when the Whites host Peterborough United on March 12th. Prices start from £15 for adults and £5 for kids, full details can be found here

 

  • Anon

    Love to see positive articles like this.
    We all need to be working together to get this club back on its feet.
    The problem has never been GFH, it’s the legacy they’ve been left to deal with. Salem Patel confirmed in an interview yesterday that they’d just invested a 7 figure sum into the club.
    Lets hope the Peterborough game is nearer 30000 regardless of whether we have something to play for or not.

    MOT

    • Irving08

      It will be interesting to see from the Peterborough game if the fact that it was half term this week in Leeds accounted for the unusually large number of accompanied children and even young ‘teens. I have written to the club suggesting that they repeat the experiment for a Saturday 3pm match.

  • Jim

    I’m glad you’ve wrote about this TSS. Last night was my 5th game of the season after all the reduced priced League Cup games. I sat in the NW corner for a change and went along with my brother and a friend whose last Leeds game was ten years ago. In front of us there were 3 kids who seemed to be having a great time. I can’t normally justify spending the match prices – economic decision, nothing else. I use to have a season ticket, but simply got priced out. Anything at £20 or below I can justify spending, which was why I was there last night. It’s people like me, and the kids of course, that the club need to be targeting with a fairer pricing structure. And as you’ve said, look at the difference it made – brilliant game, great performance and a top atmosphere.

  • Ray

    Yes good atmosphere last night and better on the field too. Looking forward to Blackburn away on Saturday which could now put us right back in the mix. My head tells me we will be close to the play offs at end of season but will probably just miss out to Brighton who have been steady all season (Think Boro will finish behind us if honest). Heart says we will finish as champs :)

  • Brighouse White

    Great article as always fella- well done & also to GFH

  • markman

    why not also allow the kids to buy discounted kids shirts in the store while they are there.

    i can remember writing to the club as a kid asking for autographs and getting a letter back with
    all squad members signatures on,including Revie and the les cocker.kept it for about 20 years until the girlfriend sent trousers with it in to the dry cleaners came back wrecked.
    literally shed a tear.girlfriend left soon after,could never look at her the same way.

  • mrbigwheels

    “What a difference a day makes”… Tremendous.

  • yorxman

    @eb9194ed0f1729b7525bb65e70944c56:disqus Agreed 100%. I know the prices have been set for a while but why would I want to pay twice as much to watch chuffing Millwall in the next home game, so bloody frustrating. That game is Category A simply because the thick cockney twats put their own bus windows through back in 2007! Hopefully GFH take last night on board and come up with a decent price plan for next season, i.e. Sat matches £20/£10, midweek same as last night

  • henrymouni

    The gamble paid off. Well done GFH!
    The important thing about last night was the team performance.
    Had it been another poor game, many of the ‘new’ fans would think twice about going again.
    Everything is about the team performance, not only the pricing.
    Fans will not keep turning up to watch rubbish.

  • MOT London

    I wasnt there as I live in London but I follow every news artcle and read all the fans forums. Lot of doom and gloom around but its great when everyone is United. Cheaper seats to get a better crowd and atmosphere and that will drive the players on. We have an outside chance and until we no longer have a chance everyone should back Leeds, NW, GFH and the players to the hilt. MOT

  • number1inyorkshire

    It clearly worked reducing the price and well done to them for doing it and if the extra noise generated a win then once again it was worth it …..However if that extra noise generated a win why aren’t we doing similar against Cardiff or in fact all the teams why do these events always have to be midweek when they are expecting a low crowd this should be now right to the end of the season too not just when they feel like it ,£10 for an empty seat is £10 gained there are currently between 10/15.000 empty seat per week 10 quid each is the break even point ….

    • TSS

      Because it doesn’t make financial sense unfortunately. It’s an idealistic fantasy with a myriad of problems.

      If there’s 15,000 seats empty, that means 25,000 have paid the usual £30~, so £750,000~ total. Sell all 40,000 seats for £10 each (the other 25,000 aren’t going to pay £30 when everyone else is paying £10), Leeds only make £400,000, losing £350,000~ total, so there’s no £10 gained by filling the previously empty seat. In reality, the club would lose money.

      You also have to consider that 12,000 fans have already paid full price for season tickets. It’s all well and good saying they can be given vouchers, but they too cost money. So let’s say Leeds give all the season ticket holders a voucher equal to the saving non-season ticket holders make on their purchase. £10 is paid by non-ST holder, ST holder is given voucher for £20, Leeds United have to pay £10 to get an extra fan in the stadium.

      I appreciate that these sums are incredibly basic and don’t take into account increased spending within the stadium, but supporters fail to realise how little retail and catering outlets make. Fans seem to think that spending £10 within the stadium means the club is £10 better off, when in reality, only about 10% of that will be profit due to the cost of sales (staff, buying the product to sell to you in first place etc…) The profit margin on selling you a ticket is vastly superior to selling you a can of Coca-Cola or a Pukka Pie, so it doesn’t offset the loss – not even close.

      Of course, there is a balance here somewhere. A more realistic and sustainable pricing structure can be introduced, but it has to be one that doesn’t lose Leeds United money on the gate because burgers and programmes won’t offset that. £15 per head isn’t sustainable long-term, never mind £10 per head. A range of £20-25 for adults is both reasonable and workable, but it’d rely on increased and sustained attendances, and when you consider how small Leeds United’s margins are, it’s a huge risk GFH would be taking. Leeds are already losing money, they can’t afford any further loss in gate receipts.

      • Tare

        First volume after that stabilising business process this is from the text book of marketing. There is now info on new owners of their plans and/or strategies so how to approach this issue? Rumours and wise ass comments in the air? Tare

      • number1inyorkshire

        The answer is funnily enough is not to sell season tickets …

        At Bradford they sell a flexicard which reserves your seat for an amount per season then you can decide the matches you want to go to but you still have the seat you want ..

        That way every one can then benefit if the matches are cheaper and also everyone will pay the same if they are more expensive .The only concession you get from paying would be you get the seat you want for the whole season ,which is what they should have done with the current memberships,

        With cut off point obviously of the day before so if you do not take up your seat it goes on sale and also if you pay on the day you pay more …
        most people only buy season tickets to guarantee their seat not to guarantee watching the game ….

  • Craig Sweaton

    Excellent game and I don’t mind spending that sort of cash for my daughter & I to see the team, regardless of which league we play in!
    The extra crowd definitely gave a boost to the players and made it nervy for the visitors, which is what ER was all about.
    Well done GFH, the team & dare I say it….Neil Warnock. MOT

  • Matthew

    Personally I think for low importance games(Against shit teams basically), ticket prices should be Adults £21 Kids £10. For more important games, £26 at most anywhere in the stadium for Adults and £12-15 for kids.

    No ticket price should exceed £26 for Adults and £15 for kids in my opinion next season. Offers need to be there for families for reduced cost, so a family of say 4 or 5 should get their tickets cheaper.

    GFH need to do this to get more people back in my opinion.

  • LUFCspy

    Unfortunately Leeds to not see a penny from any hot drinks, cold drinks, beers, burgers or pies. This is because back in October 2012 we was bordering on Administration thanks to uncle Ken. Leeds Signed a deal with a Catering company called Compass for £ 2 million. The deal sees that all money raised from any ‘refreshments’ goes straight to Compass. Im sure the £ 2 Million will have never entered LUFC’s bank account

    • TSS

      That’s not true, a percentage of sales still goes to LUFC.

      • LUFCspy

        I was with the director of Compass at LUFC and have been into their box. They dont expect to make any money on the deal, infact their is a strong posibility they will be losing money on this deal. The reason why they did the deal was because the Cheif Exec is a leeds fan

        • TSS

          Compass might not make money, but Leeds definitely will.

          Firstly, Leeds have already made money on the deal because they sold catering rights for a set fee.

          From here on out Leeds can ONLY make money. Compass have bought the right to run all Leeds’ matchday catering services, so they take care of staff, product and running costs, whereas Leeds merely supply the facilities. Once all money is in, a percentage of sales goes to Leeds. It’s a standard and very common arrangement, Compass run catering operations all over the UK, from airports and train-stations to arenas and football stadiums. They don’t keep getting hired by NOT making money for the companies they work with.

          Whether Compass themselves make money is largely trivial, they’re probably thinking long-term and will find a way to make it profitable eventually. They’ll also get a little exposure out of it which never hurts a company.

          The Chief Exec you speak of is Richard Cousins I’m guessing? He probably is a Leeds fan, he grew up locally.

  • spellz

    GFH Keep the ticket prices down, the attendances up and watch the wins flow as smooth as the revenue will and bring our clubs reputation back of a side not to be reckoned with, we have a fair few wins to get behind us if we have a chance this season but with performances like last nights let the promotion push commence.

    M.O.T

  • Tare

    GFHC has been a target for some people lately and frankly saying for what? Okay no xM£ in January window but still they haven’t hardly began their job. What cirka 6 months and gallows pole is waiting? If NW is getting us in POffs then we will be in PL next season. If there would be this yo-yo effect then my counter argument is that parachute payment is so massive that MCitys PL champion payment looks a little bit light weight. More resources so to say. But if not then re structure the club in long term and give time to a new manager. Blackpool was not the same outfit than in August but nevertheless not taking anything out of this victory. Tare

  • WhiteOut

    Well said. I was ten years old when my family left England for Canada. I’m now 51 years old and still a Leeds supporter. It may be a cliche, but the young are our future and getting them on board can’t be overstated.

  • Matthew

    That wouldn’t be sustainable if you’re wanting to build a promotion capable side, GFH would be unable to run the club effectively if all tickets were £15 every game. We’re more likely to see tickets between £21-28 personally next season for Adults.

    That’s good enough, it’l be the Championship average and if the armchair fans don’t want to get behind the side then, it’l be their loss.

  • David Speed

    Any thoughts on the us season ticket holders getting a discount next season as we are now being peanalised for our loyalty

  • JONTY 64

    TSS – fancy a game of tennis fella with JONTY 64 the King of Croxley Green ?

    We also need reduced ticketing at Wimbledon & Queens this year – i love tennis especially the mixed doubles.

    Billie Jean King is my all time favourite.

    MOT

  • Sunny

    Good article. Very pertinent.

    With GFH being in the investment business, I expect them to test the waters further by reducing/extending prices/benefits in areas in which the Bates administration had always shied away from.