Hi all, as promised, I am writing to the Green Army with an update on our ticketing options for the 20/21 season.
As you are all undoubtedly aware, the prospect of supporters returning to Home Park remains frustratingly distant, at this stage, with the country currently in the midst of another month-long lockdown.
It has been a challenging period to serve as CEO of a football club, but one in which I feel the entire Argyle family has pulled together to make a real difference to the region.
We are proud of our work in the community during the pandemic, with the ongoing NHS takeover of the Mayflower Grandstand, and the Argyle Community Trust’s initiative to provide hundreds of lunches to children over half-term, just two recent examples of our contribution to the city of Plymouth.
Of course, our supporters have reciprocated that commitment, through record purchases in the Argyle Superstore, generating over £50,000 through our Crowdfunder campaign, and renewing their season-tickets despite the uncertainty of fans’ return to stadia.
I know that I speak on behalf of everyone at the club when I say how grateful we are for your support, as we look to overcome the unprecedented financial impact caused by such a long period without match-day revenues at Home Park.
Supporters’ generosity of spirit and commitment to purchasing season-tickets has provided some much-needed stability at Home Park. Your support has allowed the board of directors and senior management to budget appropriately for the season ahead, which is crucial in ensuring we continue to make progress on and off the pitch.
In turn, season-ticket revenues have allowed us to fund our talented manager and his first-team staff to meticulously build a squad that is, clearly, doing us proud in Sky Bet League One.
Since I last wrote to supporters, we have been inundated with letters and phone calls from fans desperate to support the club by purchasing season-tickets for our return to Sky Bet League One - even though they knew they may not be able to attend a single game this season.
Because of the sheer demand, we are delighted to announce that we will be, from Tuesday, 17 November, allowing season-tickets for the 20/21 campaign to be purchased again – of course, the caveat remains that we do not know when supporters will be able to return to the stands.
New season-ticket holders will be entitled to an almost identical raft of benefits as those who purchased their season-ticket during the initial renewal phase. Supporters who renewed in the summer were entitled to an exclusive loyalty discount, while season-ticket purchases starting next week will be offered what was intended to be our 20/21 early-bird discount.
New season-ticket holders will receive home league iFollow passes in lieu of physical attendance, priority access when supporters are able to return to Home Park (second only to those who renewed during the close season), as well as Superstore discount, a welcome pack, and a number of other perks.
Further details on how to purchase will be made available in the next few days.
In addition, season-ticket holders, new or existing, will have their names added to a new display wall located opposite the entrance to the players’ changing room – meaning that the names of supporters who have kept us going during this crisis will be the last thing players see before taking to Home Park pitch.
Although we are grateful to have received an influx of extra ticket requests, we do understand that the landscape has shifted since season-tickets were initially made available. The economy has been devastated bv this crisis, and we appreciate that, for some supporters, the refund of a season-ticket provides a lifeline.
We made it clear when supporters purchased their season-ticket for 20/21 that we would not be offering refunds in the event that our supporters’ return to Home Park was delayed.
Despite the clear purchasing directive, we are understanding that the situation is such that some supporters may be struggling. As a values-led club, we are sensitive to the realities of the situation, and have taken the decision to make a concession.
As such, we are also presenting three options for existing 20/21 season-ticket holders, the details of which are outlined in the graphics below:
1) Keep your ticket
As promised when supporters initially purchased their season-tickets for 20/21, this group of ticket holders will retain their current season-ticket, and be first in the queue to return to Home Park when we are given the green light.
Supporters who choose retain their ticket will have their names added to the display wall, as well as reserve their seats at the same price for our 2021/22 campaign.
Supporters will continue to receive iFollow access for all behind-closed-doors home league fixtures, Superstore discount, priority ticketing, and access to exclusive offers and events.
2) Partial refund
Supporters can opt to cancel their 20/21 season-ticket, reserve their seat for 21/22.
The refund value is 75%, which accounts for, in part, a non-refundable deposit to hold the seat in Home Park for 20/21, and also for complimentary streaming passes already redeemed during 20/21. Please note that the 21/22 ticketing price will be subject to next season’s rate, and not frozen in-line with current season-ticket holders.
Supporters opting for the partial refund will also have tertiary priority for match tickets (behind existing and new season-ticket holders) once supporters are allowed to return to stadia – although these will be extremely limited.
Those who opt for a partial refund will no longer receive complimentary streaming access for the team’s home league fixtures, and iFollow passes will need to be purchased on a match by match basis, moving forward.
3) Full refund
A season-ticket refund is available for those who request it, although the redeemable figure is 90%, accounting for administrative costs and iFollow match passes already redeemed.
In claiming a full refund, supporters waive their right to retain their seat for 20/21 and beyond, and will be subject to next season’s season-ticket renewal price. iFollow match passes will need to be purchased on a game by game basis, and supporters will only be able to access match tickets once they reach general sale.
Earlier today, we contacted season-ticket holders via email to outline these new options.
For those supporters who have not provided an email address, a letter detailing the options has been sent to their registered address.
To help us process requests in an efficient manner, we ask that all season-ticket holders click here to fill out our survey.
We ask that supporters fill out this survey even if they are opting not to ask for a refund – as this provides added security for the board of directors. In the event that we do not hear from supporters before Monday, 23 November, we will assume that supporters wish to retain their ticket – guaranteeing their place at the front of the queue when crowds are allowed to return to the stadium. For any queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We ask that you help us manage the scheme in the smoothest way possible by avoiding emailing unless you have a specific query. For clarity, we will only accept formal request of refund via the survey above.
Of course, in my position as a custodian of our football club, I must echo the sentiments of our Chairman, Simon Hallett, when he says that this is an existential crisis.
Despite our best efforts, we continue to lose a significant amount of money on a daily basis while we are unable to generate revenues at Home Park.
I would not be doing my job correctly if I did not ask you to consider the implications that numbers of season-ticket refunds would have on the club’s ability to function, let alone remain competitive.
Despite the challenges we have faced during 2020, we continue to make progress towards our ambition of becoming a self-sustaining Championship-level club - but we cannot achieve that without you.