Published on Saturday 14th May, 2011 by Celtic Trust
At the second Open Meeting of the 2010-11 season, the Chief Executive of Celtic PLC, Peter Lawwell provided many of the answers to questions raised at the April meeting at which we decided to embark on a campaign around ticket pricing and kick-off times.
These two issues were identified as being two of the main issues for supporters and there is a great deal of agreement around what the problem is. However, it quickly became clear at the last meeting that there were quite a number of areas in which we did not have good quality information to allow us to identify the targets of any campaign and to specify our objectives clearly. Peter Lawwell agreed to come to speak to the Open Meeting to discuss some of these issues and provide whatever information he was able to.
Although it was scheduled to be a short meeting, it would not have been possible to have any meeting of Celtic supporters the day after the disgraceful attack on our manager at Tynecastle without discussing that issue. Peter told us now Neil was doing and discussed the Club's take on the events of the past few months and how they hoped to contribute to the solution.
We then discussed some of the questions around ticket pricing. We asked how the pricing policy is developed; how the pricing of specific games are arrived at (eg the two Cup games against Rangers); the view on concessions for both older and younger fans; the question of the Home Ticket Scheme and issues of hardship (especially with respect to the Cup games); how we price tickets for visiting fans (including concessions). Those present also put their view to Peter on these matters.
The next issue concerned kick off times which have had those who attend away matches travelling all over the country at very odd times of day and night. Over recent weeks even home games have been affected. Peter confirmed that this was due to the Television contract which the SPL has with Sky and ESPN. They have the rights to show 60 live games of their own choosing. The SPL allocate games to specific weekends and throughout the season the TV companies will indicate two or three weeks before the date what game they wish to cover and at what time it should be played. Of course as the SPL is less of a draw than the EPL we have to take the more unfavourable times. The Police have a say in this also and indeed, despite the later comments from the Chief Constable of Strathclyde, it was the police who wanted the last match vs Rangers played on Easter Sunday. The televison contract has five years more to run but there is a small window of opportunity in October of this year. If the SPL can identify a better deal between now and then they can withdraw from this contract after another one year. However to ratify any deal requires an 8:4 ratio and given the parlous financial state of most of the SPL clubs, who depend on the TV money to survive, the chances of this happening are not good. It was also noted that kick-off times such as 12.30pm and 6pm inconvenience even those who either by choice or circumstances watch the games on TV. Celtic’s preferred option would be a much reduced TV programme, cutting the number of live matches to 30 and playing as many games as possible on Saturdays with a 3pm kick-off time. As fans we wish to support the Club in getting the best deal for Celtic and there was agreement that we would work with the Club to achieve this.
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