New-look passport to home games

SEASON ticket holders at Portman Road will get a completely new look passport to home matches next season.And Portman Road bosses are celebrating today as it seems that as many people have signed up for season tickets in the Nationwide League as bought Premiership tickets last year.

By Paul Geater

SEASON ticket holders at Portman Road will get a completely new look passport to home matches next season.

And Portman Road bosses are celebrating today as it seems that as many people have signed up for season tickets in the Nationwide League as bought Premiership tickets last year.

For years, season ticket holders have been sent a book of vouchers at the start of the season.

One had to be taken out for every match.

However now season ticket holders will be sent a credit card-style ticket which will be registered by turnstile operators as they enter the ground.

Most Read

Ultimately season ticket-holders may be able to swipe the card themselves, meaning some turnstiles can be unattended, freeing more matchday staff for other stewarding duties – but that is unlikely to happen during the coming season.

The new tickets will be sent out during the last week of this month and the first few days of August.

Everyone who applied for tickets by the price-freeze deadline of June 28 should have received an acknowledgement from the club, and it has moved quickly to take money from bank or credit card accounts.

"The tickets have different details according to what kind of tickets they are, and all will be sent out separately," said ticket office manager John Ford.

"That means that families won't necessarily receive all their tickets together – especially if they have applied for both adult and children's or student tickets.

"If you don't get all your tickets in the same post, don't panic," he said.

The club thinks the new cards will be more convenient for supporters than the old books – and Ipswich Town is one of the first clubs in the country to introduce the technology.

"There are a few who have these cards, but Chelsea has so far been the only Premiership club to use this technology," said Mr Ford.

"It is a technology that is advancing, and there will be improvements in future years," he added.

Applications for season tickets are still being received at Portman Road, but officials believe that the number of season tickets being bought this year will match last year's figure of 18,000.

That is very important for the club which will rely much more heavily on supporters' money in the Nationwide League – there is no lucrative television deal at present.

Three factors are believed to have encouraged people to continue buying season tickets:

The promise of more matches for the same cost as last season.

Confidence among some fans that the club will have a successful season. "I'd rather watch us hammer Gillingham than get hammered by Liverpool," said one.

The promise that if the club is promoted back to the Premiership in May, season tickets in 2003/4 will be frozen again for this year's season ticket holders.

In the Premiership gate receipts accounted for only about 20 per cent of the club's turnover, with a further 20 per cent coming from commercial activities off the field, and 60 per cent coming from the Sky Television contract.

In the Nationwide League, the proportions are roughly equal – although with the collapse of ITV Digital there is currently no television contract in place.

Analysts are confident some Nationwide League matches will be televised next season, but there is no guarantee that a deal will be thrashed out before the big kick off on August 10.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter