Season tickets, streaming, new training ground and East Stand development on the agenda during Blackpool's fans' forum
Blackpool FC board members Ben Mansford and Brett Gerrity met recently with fan representatives to discuss a wide range of topics.
Season ticket sales, the club’s streaming offering and plans for the academy were among the subjects of discussion during the structured dialogue meeting, which was held on Monday, July 12.
Supporters in attendance were also given an update on the club’s ambitious plans for a new training ground, as well as the potential East Stand development.
Here’s a flavour of what was discussed, as revealed by the club’s minutes...
We will have to work on local guidance but if full stadiums are to return from next Monday we believe the EFL will indicate we need to return to the status quo which will make it difficult to stream live games on a Saturday domestically. For overseas fans they have always had full seasonal access via the club streaming platform. We are making huge strides in our BFC platform. We are still waiting for full guidance and need the EFL to confirm what we can and can’t do domestically. From an overseas point of view, we believe they will still be able to stream the games. We are trying to take the club in the right direction and when we are ready we will keep everyone updated, but we are planning on making a number of improvements on our digital offering. There will be more announcements in the next few weeks.
EFL did a few things unbeknown to us. We are currently on with improving the professionalism of the club, but don’t want to be drawn on this as we have to announce things at the right time and in the right manner. Once we have a lot more clarity from Government, then we hope we will get more clarity from the EFL and once that has been received we can tell fans more. Wish we could say a lot more but so much unknown at the moment with the pandemic etc. Hopefully in the days and weeks ahead we can tell fans how we are planning to grow ourselves.
Season ticket sales
Confirmed the club are delighted with season ticket sales so far. Season tickets are the much-needed finance to help clubs through the difficult summer months and on the back of the Covid pandemic, it just shows how far the club has come in the last two years. At this current moment in time in the region of 7,500 season tickets have been sold which is fantastic from where we were two years ago when Simon bought the club and we are still gaining new season ticket holders every day. The club would like to thank the supporters for their support so far. It was confirmed that the figure of 7,500 does not include corporate sales, Martin Booker is selling those separately so there will be a few more to be added to that figure. There has been a good take up on corporate sales.
Concern regarding finance option for season tickets
There is a very, very small number of providers in this area who are properly regulated and have the appetite to take this business on. V12 were the only viable option, however we weren’t choosing from a big pool. For us at the moment there are a small number of providers and V12 are working with a number of other clubs and were a real option for us this year. As always, we want competitors in every type of area across all providers but at this moment in time if we didn’t have V12 we are not sure what other offering we would have had. It is much easier to have V12 as a credit provider than to have none. Obviously next season we will look at all options again.
Why didn’t the club offer a cheaper season ticket price for a young adult/student?
We didn’t actually do that last season either. We will, however, take the feedback on board and will consider this in the future. We do feel that in the main when the season ticket price is broken down per game it is incredibly competitive.
Where will away fans be housed this season?
Brett confirmed that away fans will be housed in the East Stand, initially in the south east end by the facilities and then any overspill will be in the north east end. There will not be a shared provision with any home fans. Confirmed that there are no plans at the moment for any home fans to be housed in the East Stand.
Any plans for a reserve side?
There is a growing group of young pros and Critch and Ciaran Donnelly have good communication and will start to have more regular games. At the moment, the priority is to have good quality games against other quality academy groups but behind closed doors. Don’t believe that we will go down a specific reserve team entry in the Central League but do believe that that group needs regular games.
Getting academy players into the first-team
It would of course be fantastic if we could progress a few of the academy players to the first-team squad. What we need to do is utilise the loan system. Critch and Ciaran Donnelly will continue to communicate and will continue to use the loan structure. Long term we must be the best Cat 3, a lot of further progressions will come as we progress towards the new training ground. Everyone is working hard to progress the young professionals.
Timeline for new training ground
A huge amount of work has been done on site selection and investigation around the training ground and that project continues to be driven forward. Whilst we would like to give you a definitive time to make a great announcement, we are just not there on being able to give a specific time at the moment. Rest assured there is a huge amount of work being done and we hope to be able to make announcements that we will get everyone excited and positive for the future when we are able to do so. Everything is up for consideration at the moment. However, for us, first and foremost, is to satisfy the football needs for the club. Don’t want to get specifically drawn into what the final complex will look like. Think key for us at the moment is to provide the best possible facilities for everyone connected to football as we are far behind other clubs at the moment due to the legacy left by the former owners.
Timeline for East Stand development
It is a similar answer to the training ground. The East Stand is another project where what can and can’t be done is being investigated. There will probably be information given out on the training ground before the East Stand.
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