Norwich City’s casual seats will be like Premier League golden tickets
Casual tickets to watch Norwich City in the Premier League at Carrow Road next season will be like gold dust.
The promotion-winning Canaries have smashed their record for season ticket sales yet again, with 21,883 snapped up for the 2011-12 campaign in the top flight.
The figure is 820 higher than last season’s record of 21,063.
But as few as 1,200 to 1,500 tickets per match may be on sale to home supporters on a casual basis as City play host to the elite of English football for the first time in six years.
Every spare seat is likely to be eagerly snapped up with nearly 5,000 fans already signed up as “super members”, given first priority for casual tickets.
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Chris Bailey, City’s head of stadium operations and supporter services, confirmed that they were obliged to offer 10 per cent of the 27,000 capacity at Carrow Road to away supporters under Premier League rules.
In addition, some sections – up to 500 seats in some cases – must be kept clear to segregate opposing fans, while he said the Premier League was entitled to a certain number of tickets for sponsors.
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“It is hard to give a precise figure but there could be about 1,200 to 1,500 tickets available on a casual basis,” he said.
City have yet to confirm how casual tickets will be sold – whether on a first-come, first-served basis, or the kind of ballot offered to members in their 2004-05 Premiership campaign.
Better news for those without season tickets is that the Canaries are planning to put additional seats into the stadium during the summer, while some visiting clubs may not claim their full allocation.
“We are still looking at where we can add extra seats but it will be hundreds rather than thousands,” said Bailey.
In the longer term, the City board plans more extensive work to expand ground capacity, but they have said previously they would need to be established for two years in the Premier League before any major building work.
For now, City have capped season ticket sales and 1,718 fans have joined the waiting list for new season tickets.
Supporters can join the waiting list for a deposit of �50 for adults and �10 for under-16s, with priority for any new season tickets that become available given to those on the waiting list, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Those wishing to buy casual tickets next season are being urged to join the super membership scheme for �20, with 4,668 fans already signed up.
Most of City’s season ticket-holders – 20,500 – renewed their seats before the first deadline on March 5, before they knew whether Paul Lambert’s team would win promotion.
“Tickets will be highly sought-after next season, which is good news for us, tremendous,” said Bailey. “There are two ways of looking at it. If you are buying tickets on a casual basis, it is an issue, but for the supporters who have backed us and bought a season ticket for �430, they will now be able to watch Premier League football at �23 per game.”
City’s box office boom is in contrast to many existing Premier League clubs, with a report issued at the end of last week suggesting 15 per cent of fans of top-flight sides will not renew their season tickets, and 31 per cent of non season ticket-holders will be cutting back on the number of games they attend.
According to the Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index, up to 28 per cent of supporters of champions Manchester United will not renew, while 22 per cent of fans at Arsenal, where the cheapest season ticket is �951 – �50 per Premier League game – are giving up their seats.
The report claims the average match day cost for a fan attending a game has risen from �84 to �101 over the past year because of increased ticket prices, petrol and food costs and price rises for programmes and merchandise.