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!