How digital ticketing helps non-league clubs become self-sustaining, with Oxford City FC
Monitoring ticket sales digitally has helped non-league football clubs operate more efficiently over the festive period amid a sudden spike in crowd numbers.
In the North West Counties Premier Division, Macclesfield FC comfortably broke its attendance record when 4,353 supporters watched the club’s 2-1 victory over Winsford United on December 27.
A day later, 2,984 fans attended Solihull Moors’ National League game against Stockport County. Crowds boomed at Oxford City FC too as the club recorded its highest attendance since moving grounds in 1993.
Commercial Manager David Clark explains how digital ticketing helps facilitate fans’ smooth matchday experience and supports the club’s commercial growth in our latest feature.
Ahead of Oxford City’s Boxing Day fixture against Slough Town, staff were able to instantly monitor pre-sales in anticipation of a record crowd.
Their ambitions turned reality when 1,208 supporters attended the game with more than half of ticket sales achieved in advance of Christmas Day.
“Advance ticket sales are a huge part of our operational process,” said David. “Even on Christmas Day, we were able to quickly check how many tickets we had sold which helped us understand the number of people we would host the following day.
“To welcome over 1,200 supporters to the Velocity Stadium for a National League South fixture was a great moment and digital helped us achieve that.”
Digital ticketing not only means supporters can purchase tickets whenever and wherever they wish.
By transforming their ticket office to digital, clubs can:
- Quickly and effectively monitor pre-sales
- Plan matchdays with greater efficiency
- Save money
- Cut down on food and drink wastage
David explains: “We use live sales updates to benchmark attendances, which is really powerful.
“Understanding attendances in advance of kick-off means we can drive down costs on stewarding, catering and drink. No Non-League clubs wants wastage, and to be a self-sustaining football club it’s important we don’t waste money on things we don’t need.
“We have a strong understanding of our attendances as far as eight days before kick-off.”
Selling tickets online does not mean you are restricted to providing standard ‘adult’, ‘concession’ and ‘child’ tickets either.
Multi-match bundles, discounted rates and half season tickets can be listed too to maximise sales and revenue.
Oxford City acted quickly by establishing a one-off ticket exchange for Oxford United fans after the League One club’s game against Portsmouth was postponed due to COVID-19.
“Our ticket exchange was really popular,” said David. “Ticketing is a primary source of income for any football club on a matchday and sometimes you have to think outside the box.
“Maximising sales is important. Different ticket types encourage people to attend, and we saw this work really well for our Boxing Day fixture.”
David insists operating a digital ticket office forms an essential part of any club’s online structure, which helps organisations to grow commercially.
“Ticketing is part of our digital structure,” said David. “If a club can get its digital assets on point, it helps them grow commercially.
“Our social media channels are very energetic and engaging for supporters. Ticketing falls under that digital umbrella too, which ultimately translates to commercial success.”
Shifting buying habits
Oxford City estimate half of its supporters now purchase tickets in advance of matchdays thanks to its digital ticketing provision.
But buying habits across the UK are rapidly changing with more people opting for card over cash.
David added: “Like the general public in all walks of life, you’re going to get your early adaptors, those who take some encouragement and people who stick to their routine.
“A small chunk of our fanbase still pay on the gate, which is completely fine. But most buy their tickets in advance of kick-off which helps us to accurately forecast the number of people who will be in attendance.
“It’s simple, quick, effective and enables our supporters to buy tickets wherever and whenever they wish.”
Oxford City FC are next in action on Saturday, January 8, at home to Eastbourne Borough. To purchase your matchday ticket, click here.
Half season tickets are also on sale starting from £59. Click here to buy yours.
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