Reading FC fans pay the true price for promotionBy Jonny Fordham
May 16, 2012
Promotion back to the Premier League is worth a cool £90million for Reading Football Club.
The financial windfalls from broadcasting rights and extra sponsorship revenues are extreme.
Royals are set for another huge pay day – and it seems they’re making the most of it by quickly turning to profit from fans on their return to the top flight.
Over the years the club have always been fair with ticket prices for supporters, however, they’ve scored a massive own goal by planning to charge their fans a whopping £15 to have their picture taken with the Championship trophy on the last weekend of this month.
I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I read this on the club website on Saturday morning.
Choking into my Cornflakes, I read on to discover that additional prints cost £7.50 – and to rub salt into the wounds of jubilant fans: “Supporters may like to note that it will not be possible to take your own pictures of the trophy, while for safety reasons it is unfortunately not possible to lift the trophy,” say the club.
“Did I just read that #readingfc are charging £15 to have your picture taken with the Championship trophy?!” – I tweeted – and the response I received from my followers was overwhelming.
Obviously the club are going to want to profit from their promotion, however, this latest initiative is taking supporters for granted.
Despite what the people holding the purse strings believe, football fans are not commodities.
Those fans who have cheered their side on to promotion this season and covered endless miles up and down the country, spending thousands of pounds in the process, shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege of a picture with the trophy.
“Isn’t it a bit weird getting your photo taken with a trophy anyway? It’s not yours. You didn’t win it,” argued one supporter who missed the point.
I’m sure Royals wouldn’t have equalled their club-record of 13 away league wins in the season if it wasn’t for the army of fans following them this season.
Granted, fans could attend the promotion party to see their Royals heroes lift the Championship trophy for a £1 donation to charity, but benefitting from that financially would have caused a supporters’ revolt.
Yes, season tickets are also fairly priced, but charging excessive amounts of cash for such extras seems harsh.
Sadly, everything in football has a price these days – but it doesn’t mean that clubs should be able to get away with it.
Supporters’ Trust At Reading chairman Paula Martin agreed that the price was far too steep.
She said: “STAR is disappointed that the club are charging as much as £15 to have your picture taken with the Championship trophy, but it is an indication of what being a Premier League team will mean to supporters – a much more expensive time for all.
“We would urge the club to consider making a donation to their hospice charities from the money taken.”
STAR hit the nail right on the head.
And when the Reading Post contacted the club, they issued the following statement on the situation.
They said: “The Trophy lifting event at the Stadium was rightly free for season ticket holders, around 15,000 fans were there – those who did pay £1 saw all money go to Duchess of Kent Hospice.
“Most adult season ticket holders paid just £350 for the Premier League with our early bird offer – less than £19 per game.
“Our new prices for 2012/13 are cheaper than the last time we were in the Premier League six years ago – adults £40 less and children’s season tickets as much as £135 cheaper.
“Even at our new prices adult supporters still get close to five games out of 19 free, and children get nearly 12 matches free compared to matchday prices.
“And in terms of the trophy picture day up to 10 people can have their picture taken at one time with the trophy, take away one print on the day for £15.”
Some fair points, but it still doesn’t make charging £15 a picture-perfect scenario.