Fans Meeting with Southampton Football Club Thursday evening 15th October Report from Mick and Terry
Meeting virtually attended by Terry Trevis and Mick Strickland. via Teams.
On the agenda were the following items:
1. Problems with £35 vouchers for season ticket holders
2. Season ticket holder’s refunds for 2020/21 season
3. Fans returning to grounds
5. Premier League Big Picture
The Club was well aware that the discount vouchers for season ticket holders had problems but were now mainly sorted. There had been problems with the software. While 8,000 people had taken advantage of the offer, SFC would be looking again at those who were unable to do so.
This then expanded into the issue with shirts and sponsors.
All shirts will be replaced (you can keep the old ones).
New shirts will not be manufactured by Under Armour (UA) as they were not able to produce the shirts with new sponsors in time for Christmas, so an alternative manufacturer was found which was approved by UA, and will be available at the end of November.
SFC were very upfront in explaining what happened to LD shirts.
Final design for new shirts normally agreed well in advance, and the first copies of this season’s shirt were available to the club in November 2019.
The Club only found out about LD Sports going out of business on 2nd August.
LD were built on a business model of selling content which mainly was to come from Saints. But with Covid there was no content to sell so they went under. The LD shirts were made in Taiwan where they have a staff of 300.
A new sponsor was found within a week of losing LD. SFC said that while a betting sponsor was not ideal, and Katrina was not keen, the decision was made as it was the only option available in a tight timeframe.
The Club will be announcing an initiative regarding problems with gambling.
2. Season Ticket Refunds
All season tickets refunds for Spurs have been completed. There were issues which have now been resolved with approximately 400 customers (3-4%). West Brom refunds should all be completed shortly. The refunds for the next two home games will be refunded in one transaction.
About 12% of 2020/21 season ticket holders chose not to enter a ballot for any tickets available for any games we may be able to attend with restricted capacities. SFC will be sending another bubble questionnaire in November.
Around £8k of 2019/20 season ticket refunds were donated to Saints Foundation
3. Fans Returning to Grounds
If supporters are allowed to attend SFC will try to allocate seats in the same zones as the individuals season ticket, but most unlikely to be the same seat.
Currently, the average number of supporters in bubbles is 2.1. If necessary SFC will revisit numbers allowed in bubbles should government regulations change, and will give people the chance to change numbers in a bubble before being placed in action.
Turnstiles would not be used to enter ground, but fans would show tickets at points further away from Stadium as they do for concerts.
Most of the ground is fine to deal with fans and comply with COVID restrictions, but extra toilets are required for Itchen Stand.
SFC said that fans could be accommodated inside grounds, but the government were concerned about crowds travelling on public transport.
Essentially, Saints feel they are ahead of the game as regards how they would allow fans back in grounds, and should the green light be given, they could implement and plan to organise tickets immediately.
4. Pay Per View (PPV)
SFC were not very keen on the PPV scheme but, on balance, decided to vote for it. They had little option as Sky/BT will not keep showing games for free, so this was the only (legal) way to let fans watch. The original thinking was that watching games for free would be short term, but this did not happen.
It is unknown at the moment how the PPV monies will be distributed and if any will come to Saints. Basically, the Premier League have sold the product to Sky/BT and the Club have no control in this.
The £14.95 fee for PPV was set by the broadcasters and clubs had no input in the price set.
Saints are currently losing £3m a month and have in total lost £22m due to Covid so far. They had to pay £12m back to broadcasters for 2019/20 because of the break, so any additional income whilst losing season ticket money via refunds is welcome.
5. Premier League Big Picture
Martin Semmens described the Manchester United/Liverpool Big Picture plan as utter nonsense and disastrous. No benefit for Saints whatsoever.
The Club knew nothing about the Big Picture until Sunday when it appeared in the newspapers.
The club were very open, honest and clear in answering questions, and meeting was very productive.