The Foxes Trust and Union FS have come out strongly in condemnation at the fact that Leicester City did not consult Fans’ Groups prior to the substantial increase in fees introduced by the Club for 2019/20 for Match Tickets (Home & Away), Stadium Car Parking, Foxes Travel and other services.
The Turnover of a Premier league Club is dominated by TV Rights. The last reported accounts of Leicester City FC showed 78% (£129m) of its revenue coming from TV Rights and only 8% (£13m) coming from Ticket Sales. So only a “tiny” percentage of its “income” comes in the form of these Fees.
It was welcomed that LCFC announced that in 2019/20 season there would be a freeze on both Season Ticket renewal and new-purchase prices. It was generally thought that there would be another year of paying the same price, given the lower significance of ticket sales revenue and increased TV revenues, as stated above.
As tickets became available for pre-season friendlies however, it became apparent that LCFC were introducing increased fees per ticket purchased on line or via phone, where as previously this had been a single £1 per transaction fee. The Club have since announced that Season Ticket Holders and Members will pay £1 for all tickets purchased for all away and home cup tickets (excludes Home League Matches), all General Sales tickets for home and away will have a £1.50 charge applied. It is understood that additional fees will not apply to tickets purchased in the Fans Store (which is not a practicable option for many supporters). In simple terms – A family of four travelling on Foxes Travel would now be paying a minimum of £8 in fees for their tickets rather than £1 previously.
At this point The Foxes Trust and Union FS, along with other Fan’s Groups started to receive concerns from their Members as to what was perceived as this apparently ‘stealth’ way of increasing ticket sales income. A letter was sent to the Club asking for the rationale behind the increases and asking why no consultation took place. The Club have responded, to this letter, but with insufficient details as to the actual reasons behind their implementation and the reply is deemed unacceptable.
The two Groups accept they are unlikely to get the introduction of the fees reversed. However, they are now seeking an urgent meeting with the Club to discuss if there is any chance of the fees being restructured, as they believe there are several ambiguities in the way the fees have been implemented.
“The most disappointing aspect of this is that a joint Fans’ Group meeting has been established by Leicester City, but they chose not to consult the Fans’ Group prior to the introduction of the increased fees and structure. This is in stark contrast to other Premier League Clubs such as Everton who actively discussed these types of matters with their fan representatives or, in the case of Wolverhampton, revised fees in light of fans’ concerns.”
Alan Digby of The Foxes Trust said “Although the club in their reply admitted that this should have been better communicated, to the Fans Groups and wider fan base, the increased fees, the way they have been structured, and the timing of their introduction are extremely disappointing. The fact that the Club chose not to consult, again, on such an emotive issue is also very concerning. The reality is for those supporters who cannot make it to the Ticket Office to purchase their tickets this is in fact a £1/£1.50 increase on the price of the ticket, as Away tickets are capped at £30 under the Premier League agreement, are LCFC not breaking that cap, for those supporters? We, also accept the club has to charge for this service, to cover its costs, but an increase of this size, is not acceptable and is indeed a “stealth tax” on those Fans’ who wish to use the internet or phone, mainly, not out of choice but necessity”
Union FS Statement “As the new season approaches, there is a sense of anticipation about what we can achieve on the pitch and a general consensus that the forthcoming season will be a positive one. However, whilst we see positive change on the pitch, we fail to see this off it. As ticket prices were announced we welcomed the price freezes but what we didn’t welcome was the greedy transaction fees for every single ticket purchased. In an era where finances in Football Clubs are at an all-time high Union FS do not see the logic nor the fairness in implementing yet another charge on the match going fan. In physical numbers a family of 4 would be paying £8 for the pleasure of buying tickets and travel through the football club, this charge remains if these tickets were printed in a fan’s own home. This is not acceptable. The football club are quick to play the rhetoric of how important our overall support is but once again all we see is a lack of consultation or responsibility for their actions. The wider supporter groups believe that, nobody is above criticism”
The Football Supporters Association (FSA) said "This is important work by Foxes Trust and the issue of hidden costs has been discussed by fan groups on our Premier League network.
The FSA successfully campaigned for an away price cap and keeps a close on eye on anything that increases matchday costs such as transaction fees or membership schemes.
Ticket prices are of fundamental importance to fans – some matchday costs are optional but if you can't afford a ticket, you can't watch your team.
This will be on the agenda in our formal discussions with the leagues and Foxes Trust will play a central role in those discussions."
Both Union FS & The Foxes Trust strongly encourage the club to engage with their fanbase and reconsider. Match-going supporters are more than just revenue streams and football without fans is nothing.