Date:Monday December 8 2008
Queens Park Rangers this week announced their ticket prices for the Burnley game and as ever it has provoked many talking points among Rangers fans.
When the third round draw from the FA Cup paired Rangers against giant-killers Burnley, it was met with much trepidation in W12, initially in terms of the oppositions recent cup exploits, but then latterly what the Rangers board would do with regard to tickets.
When the ticket details for the R`s clash with Burnley were announced on Friday December 5, it was met with much dismay, with sections of support disappointed with the lack of reduction on regular match-day prices.
Rangers` over-inflated pricing structure has been well documented, but this latest 'deal` was providing fans a £5 relief on the regular ticket prices. This was something that the official website documented as "offering supporters substantial savings".
The club`s explanation was that this decision came in the wake of the country`s VAT changes, and stipulated that the deal would apply for "one match only" - so these 'substantial savings` aren`t expected to be seen by Rangers fans again this season.
The term 'significant` is something straight out of Alistair Campbell`s textbook, with Ali Russell sending the Rangers PR machine into overdrive once more. Sheffield Wednesday are offering a £10 discount for their game with Fulham, while Wolves fans are being charged only £15 against rivals Birmingham City - again fully £7.50 less than Rangers` substantial savings on average.
In theory it could be considered as a blessing, when you consider the tickets in the FA Cup do not come under Football League jurisdiction. Therefore the Rangers glitterati could have charged their supporters Category A prices, and may well yet if Rangers can get past the Clarets and draw a Premier League outfit.
It wouldn`t have been too much of a hardship for the Rangers owners to have lowered the price for a game that is destined to draw few numbers in W12, considering the already spiralling cost of supporting the R`s, coupled with Rangers poor FA Cup record, and Burnley`s recent cup prowess.
The game was not budgeted for at the start of the campaign, and any proceeds they make will be a profit on what they had forecast, so why not get Loftus Road reasonably full to help the club progress to the next round.
Instead prices remain virtually constant, with the cunning guise of loyalty points provoking penniless supporters into making some difficult choices with regards to the fixture.
The loyalty points scheme is intended to reward loyal supporters who travel the length and breadth of the country to follow the R`s, which on the face of it seems a good idea, with individual fixtures weighted with respect to time, date and distance.
However upon inspection of the list the Burnley game at the weekend, which is a Saturday home game at 3:00pm, is weighted higher than the R`s trip to Cardiff City on a Sunday. Likewise we saw more of the same in cup competitions as Rangers took on Carlisle United in W12. For going to this fixture, fans were granted 8 loyalty points.
Rangers will travel to Cardiff City as mentioned on Sunday February 15, and fans will receive only five loyalty points, which makes you cynical as to what reasons this scheme is being used.
The scheme thus far has been used more a marketing and promotion tool rather than rewarding fan loyalty, because Rangers chiefs have ascertained that they do not make money out of fans being loyal away from home. They are plainly more interested in trying to rake in the crowds for extra games in W12, hence the loyalty points structure in this instance.
The seven loyalty points earned for going to the over-priced Burnley fixture is higher than trips to Wolves, Derby County and Nottingham Forest, which again makes it exceedingly difficult to justify the prices in the current financial climate.
Indeed the laughable fact is that the loyal supporters who brave Turf Moor this season, will only receive ONE MORE loyalty point, a fact that one could hardly call rewarding loyalty, rather cashing in.
You may think what do loyalty points matter, we haven't needed them yet, should Rangers draw Cardiff in the play-offs you'd soon realise how frivellous the Rangers board have really been.
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