Thursday, 27 May 2010

“Do not consider this to be a threat but a warning……”

A regular correspondent emails in to pass on some comments from ticket office staff on how renewals are going….

"[They] told me they had sold 6,000 in total including exec tickets. They said this compared badly with the same stage as last year and was down by at least 4/5,000. They also told me they had been selling STs to brand new customers."

Hearsay of course and completely inconsistent with David Gill's recent comments:

"Our season ticket sales, renewals, for this upcoming season are on track with previous years. Our executive ticket renewals are on track."

Well here's an email sent to an executive ticket holder today. It can be read two ways; that the source above is correct and sales are weak, or that sales are so strong there's a waiting list of people waiting to snap up executive tickets. Make up your own mind (my emphasis added):

Dear Executive Member,
I am writing to inform that if you do not renew your Old Trafford executive facility for the forthcoming 2010/11 season before the renewal deadline of 31 May, your facility will automatically be released to the seasonal hospitality waiting list.

Our records show that you have not renewed your seasonal hospitality facility and we are unclear of your intentions.

Please do not consider this notification to be a threat but a warning; we have an ever growing waiting list for seasonal hospitality, of which it is now Club policy to release all non-renewed amenities to the New Sales Waiting List as of Tuesday 1 June.

If you do wish to renew your facility for the 2010/11 season, please contact your Client Relationship Manager now or call the dedicated Client Relations Team line on 0161 868 8000 (option 2 then 4).

Alternatively, if your intentions are to retain seasonal facilities at Manchester United but move somewhere else within the stadium, the Client Relations team can assist you but only up to the renewal deadline of 31 May.
This is now a matter of urgency so if you have any queries or questions please contact your Client Relationship Manager.

Kind regards,
Head of Client Relations

Hard to know where to start in why that's no way to treat your must valuable customers…. Let's just say that I always work on the principle that if you need to say "this is not a threat" to a client something has gone wrong.

And where has this waiting list for seasonal hospitality suddenly come from? The January bond prospectus said:

"For the 2009/10 season, reduced demand for executive and box seats has resulted in approximately 16% of those facilities (by value) remaining unsold as at 30 September 2009, compared with just over 12% unsold at the same stage in the 2008/09 season."

The March Red Football Q2 results presentation called matchday hospitality sales "challenging". So we must commend the United sales team for turning around this difficult situation in a matter of weeks. The Head of Client Relations who wrote that email definitely deserves a bonus in my opinion.

Anyway, make up your own minds about how renewals are going!


Hakan said...

Good article, Andy. Your conclusion about the use of "this is not a threat" is spot on.

United Rant said...

Have you read today's comments by Gill in the Indy? What a disgrace this club is. Throwing around insults and threats.

simpson said...

both gill And Glazer Waiting For New Real Madrid Coach Will Make a Huge Bid For Rooney.Same As Last Summers Bid.

Rob Cameron said...

Very interesting... I tend to agree with you, they are using the 'Scarcity' and perhaps to an extent 'Authority' weapons of influence (Robert Cialdini) to prompt current package holders to renew; that is the way I read it anyhows.
In terms of threat vs warning, well according to my thesaurus the two words are synonyms although in common usage warning probably carries less dramatic overtones.
Another great insight

Quetzalcoatl said...

What a tawdry and desperate line in customer communications - can't imagine anyone who received such a letter would be minded to renew.

The only issue that disturbs me about the revelations above, is the news that although ST renewals are down overall there are new sales to people who have never held season tickets.

Part of the Glazers' (and Quisling Gill's) gameplan is to 'dilute and conquer' - i.e. piss off real, long-standing United fans and recruit a new army of plastic consumers who won't offer the same vociferous objections to their shameless dismantling of our historic club.

You think the matchday atmosphere sucks on those afternoons when we face minor opposition? Imagine what it will be like if many of the old skool Reds have been supplanted by JCLs.

2 weeks to the kick off of the World Cup and no sign of a Red Knights bid. I feel a bit disheartened to be honest - but don't worry that will subside and when it does i'll feel effin angry.

And when the Glazers feel the full force of that anger it's going to be very difficult for them to hang on.

United Rant said...

Financials out today. Q on Q debt up (although they don't report it that way, YoY down), although that's not a surprise. 95m cash in bank, down nearly 30m from last Q. Assume rest of cash will go after year end so Glazers wont need to report it until August.

Is that about right Anders?

Diem said...

For anyone pinning their hopes on the Red Knights, it appears that they are bowing out.

However, given the tone of the comment attributed to them, I'm suddenly not that bothered:
The paper cited sources close to the Red Knights saying that the club's debts, the lack of money spent on players in recent years and rumours of manager Sir Alex Ferguson being close to retirement meant there was "a lot more downside than upside"

Clearly they also were just in it for the money, since any "real fan" wouldn't have been put off by these facts.

So not much difference between the Red Knights and the Glazers after all...

andersred said...

That's not how I would interpret that quote Diem. I think however much of a "real fan" you are, when you are considering parting with millions of pounds you'd rather not overpay. The risks set out in that quote are all good reasons why some of the valuation numbers chucked around could be considered excessive.

Even fans would rather not pay 150 for something worth 100....