What price a season ticket?

Although it is only June, the football clubs of the U.K. are already selling their season tickets for the next season, which starts in August/September -- in fact, the lowest prices were available in a time window that closed two or three months ago.  Seeing the adverts, I wondered whether anyone had done research about the pricing of season tickets for sports teams, and multi-entry prices for clubs and facilities. 

So let's ask the question for a football team?
If the ticket to one match cost X, and there are N matches, what discount should there be for a season ticket holder?  Obviously, the season ticket should cost less than NX, but how much less?  For Exeter City, N is 23, and the cheapest season ticket is £343 (£326 if you buy it this week)

It isn't as simple as this, of course, because there are perks for having a season ticket. So the supporter needs to factor these into account when deciding whether a season ticket is a good buy or not.

Now, let's think about other kinds of season ticket. 

It costs me £2.50 for a swim in the city pool.  How much should I pay for a three-month pass?  Here, the number of times that I swim is the defining variable, and my regular use of the pool means that a pass costing £31.80 (less than 13 times the single ticket) is a bargain.  How did the pool management reach that figure?  It is priced low so as to be an incentive to people to buy a season ticket, while, on the other hand the single visit cost is perhaps high to cover the costs of administration. 

And then there are tickets like the British National Trust, where a season ticket costs about the same as entrance fees to six of their properties around the country.  Season ticket holders also receive a magazine three times a year, and a handbook, so there are incentives for loyalty.  How did the National Trust reach a conclusion about the relative costs of single entry and season tickets.  (Incidentally, visitors to Britain who plan to visit several National Trust properties could save by joining the organisation.)

And another example which I met recently is a season ticket for one tourist attraction.  In this case it was a public garden, which local people might want to return to several times in a year.  Here the season ticket was priced at just less than four times the entrance fee, and again there was a magazine and special events available to season ticket holders. 

But has anyone actually researched this topic?


  1. Hi David.
    Two points:
    1. A few years ago I was surprised by Virgin Train's pricing policy for a weekly ticket to travel Birmingham to London. It was priced at less than the cost of three daily trips - which always struck me as too much discount.

    2. Derby County are about to introduce demand-based pricing for tickets for their games. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18424590
    They still maintain that season tickets are good value. We'll have to see whether the system is too complicated for the fans to understand.

    Best wishes


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