Climbing the attendance ladder by using digital ticketing

by | Jul 30, 2021

Accommodating crowds eight times greater than your average attendance comes at no bigger cost to your club when using digital ticketing.

Volunteer-run Newcastle Town placed 100th in English non-league’s average attendance table for tier four during the curtailed 2019-20 season.

But the club now has ambitions to grow its fanbase after it welcomed more than 1,000 supporters to its first pre-season friendly against neighbouring Port Vale. All supporters in attendance purchased tickets via TicketCo’s website and mobile app.

Shaun Rogers, the club’s media and marketing manager, strongly believes digital ticketing provides Newcastle Town with the answer to increasing advanced and matchday ticket sales.

Here, he explains why.

Less time consuming, more reliable

Amid a null and void 2020-21 campaign, Newcastle Town took the opportunity to re-assess its ticketing process.
The club decided selling physical tickets via its ticket office was too time consuming and costly, as well as being an unreliable and unpredictable service for supporters.

The search for its first ever digital system led Town to TicketCo – and an end to long hours spent posting tickets and manning the club office.

“We’ve removed the laborious ticketing process,” said Shaun. “Our club is run by volunteers and ticketing can be a very long process.

“In previous seasons, we would sit printing tickets off and posting them out for hours. Also, we would have to make sure someone would have to be at the ground every hour possible to sell tickets.

“Since partnering with TicketCo, we haven’t had this issue. Supporters can buy a ticket whenever and wherever they want. No supporters are left frustrated by turning up to the ground only to find the ticket office is closed, which was an issue in the past.”

Incredible sales

Digital ticketing was used by the club at its recent pre-season friendly against Port Vale.

Supporters were sent tickets with QR codes directly to their smartphones or email account. Codes were then scanned at turnstiles to allow fans entry on matchday.

An attendance of 1,066 was recorded, almost eight times greater than the club’s average crowd of 134 for the 2019-20 campaign.

“TicketCo made it so easy for us to sell tickets online,” said Shaun. “We ended up selling 1,066 tickets, which for a non-league club like ourselves is incredible.

“All online sales were so simple. We didn’t require anyone to be at the ground volunteering their time in the ticket office. Fans could go straight to the TicketCo website or mobile app and instantly purchase a ticket.

“Port Vale were very complimentary of the system. That’s when we knew we had picked the right ticketing partner.”

Digital demand

To prove digital is the way forward, Shaun volunteered five hours of his time to open the club’s ticket office one evening ahead of the big match.

Opening hours were promoted widely to give fans without access to mobile technology the chance to purchase a physical ticket. The results of Shaun’s labour came as no great surprise.

“We didn’t make a single sale,” said Shaun. “In the five hours I spent at the ticket office not one person came to buy a ticket.

“Everyone purchased their tickets online. Interestingly, in the same five-hour window we made 27 online sales. That’s the beauty of TicketCo, it’s a platform that gifts clubs and staff time they never previously had.

“We feel it’s important to keep the ticket office open for limited hours to accommodate supporters who want a physical ticket. But the results of our first trial speak volumes.”

Simple ticketing platform

The TicketCo digital ticketing platform has also proved to be a hit among ex-players of Newcastle Town.

“A number of former players have contacted me to say how great the system is,” said Shaun. “They think it’s great that a ticket can be sent directly to their phone and that it can be purchased whenever, with no stress.

“It’s reassuring for the club, too. Naturally, not every envelope would be where it should be when only physical tickets were sold. Occasionally, some supporters who had purchased tickets couldn’t gain access to the ground while we searched for their ticket.

“Furthermore, our advanced tickets can now be sold to a much wider audience, as supporters who live out of the area are no longer required to travel to our ticket office.”

Looking forward to a bright, digital, future

Shaun is adamant clubs who sell only physical tickets are losing supporters due to the time-consuming nature of the physical ticket buying process.

It means Newcastle Town can now look forward to a bright, digital, future and aim to climb the league’s average attendance table.

“It’s my ambition to drive the club forward,” said Shaun. “Because we had no online sales, last season we really struggled to sell tickets when we were able to play.

“We lost supporters because the way fans accessed tickets wasn’t smooth, time efficient or completely reliable. Now, we tick all those boxes.

“Our first game against Port Vale was an outstanding success and we were thrilled to welcome over 1,000 supporters through our turnstiles.”

Written by Shaun Reynolds

Communications advisor and expert storyteller with Fortitude Communications. A former news reporter and sports editor of five years across several UK regional titles. Experienced in photography and social media management with a passion for the outdoors.

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