REVEALED: Norwich City unveil new ticket membership scheme to replace controversial current system
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City’s revamped ticket membership scheme has been unveiled, bringing an end to months of consultation and deliberation for club bosses.
Last summer's announcement of drastic changes to how supporters could get access to tickets prompted a mixture of anger and confusion, particularly with the changes implemented a day before the Premier League fixtures were announced.
That led to fan groups uniting with a joint statement calling on City to "urgently rethink" a system they saw as a "tax on their loyalty", adding that the lack of consultation on such drastic changes had "damaged the bond between the club and the fanbase" in the wake of promotion to the top flight.
The Canaries responded by acknowledging those problems and apologising to supporters, with an initial two-hour Carrow Road summit held to meet with representatives of supporter groups, where problems with the system were discussed and suggestions for improvements were put forward.
Consultation meetings have continued to be held in recent months and while club bosses are aware that more fine tuning will be required in the years to come, it's hoped that memberships for 2020-21 will be a step forward generally - while acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all system is impossible.
There will be home, away and junior memberships, lower prices and a tiered loyalty system returns, based on games attended during the 2018-19 Championship season.
A crucial new element is the 'Match Pick', which will allow supporters to prioritise one game during the season. For example, away members desperate to go to the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium - should the Canaries remain in the Premier League - can make that their Match Pick.
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The Match Pick ensures that those purchasing an away membership will be guaranteed to get a ticket to at least one match during the season and likewise for the home membership - thanks to the priority for ticket sales being broken down into eight groups.
Based on away games attended during 2018-19, tickets will go on sale in the following order...
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- Group One - 10+ away games
- Group Two - Match Pick
- Group Three - 7+ away games
- Group Four - 4+ away games
- Group Five - 1+ away games
- Group Six - all other members
- Group Seven - season ticket holders
- Group Eight - general sale
While the Match Pick will not be a guarantee of a specific game for everyone, due to demand usually out-weighing supply for high-profile games, it is hoped that many supporters who don't get their first choice will get their second choice as understanding of the new system spreads.
So far under the current system only four away matches of this season have sold out to Premier members, which had cost £50 to purchase: the opening night trip to Liverpool, the shortest trip to West Ham, the smallest stadium at Bournemouth and next week's trip to the new Tottenham stadium.
While the team's form on the pitch can also be taken into consideration, the only other away days to not reach general sale were the Crystal Palace and Brighton games, which sold out when put to those who had bought the £35 Standard membership - both of which could be reached on the train easily for those living in Norfolk.
The priority groupings are replicated for home, away and junior ticket sales, with Carrow Road matches often being the most competitive due to having 22,000 season ticket holders - with around 1,500 currently going on general sale in the Premier League, if the visiting team claims their full allocation.
Existing members who renew by February 15 will have first access to the Match Pick system and when next season's fixtures are announced in June, fans will have the opportunity to select their preferred game on a first come, first served basis, with specific details to be supplied by the club.
Around 70pc of the club's away allocations is expected to be put to the Match Pick system, acknowledging the group of around 750 supporters who attend all away games will make up most of the priority group with 10 or more away tickets.
The cost of the home and away memberships has also been reduced, to £25 for renewals, and £35 when they go on general sale on Monday, February 17.
Junior memberships (for under-16s) will cost £25 and will combine the home and away benefits of being a member, with a home and away Match Pick, as the club continues trying to encourage the next generation of supporters to attend matches.
Junior season ticket holders can add on a junior membership for £15. This will not bring the home priority they already have access to as season ticket holders but does have benefits including being a Junior Canaries member, a unique membership pack and the chance to be a matchday mascot, with prize draws for every fixture.
While priority for 2020-21 is being decided using matches fans attended during 2018-19 - essentially overlooking the current season due to the unpopular membership scheme - the 2021-22 season priorities will be worked out from the conclusion of next season (2020-21).
City are also committing to maintaining their cap of £30 for adult home tickets which go on general sale, to match the Premier League initiative of away tickets being capped at £30. However, that has been planned on the club avoiding relegation and ticket prices will be reassessed if the club is back in the Championship.
This is due to prices varying hugely in the second tier depending on the opposition, where bigger clubs who sell out their stadium often charge more, but smaller clubs who struggle to fill their stadiums can offer cheaper tickets in an attempt to sell more to visiting clubs.
- Memberships for the 2020-21 season will be available to current members to renew from 9am tomorrow (Friday, January 17)
- Full details have been sent out with season ticket and membership renewal packs, which will include confirmation of which priority group renewing members currently fall into, and are also available at canaries.co.uk.
- The club's website will also feature an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page and ticket office staff have been briefed and will be ready to take questions over the phone on 01603 721902.