Clarets chief executive Lee Hoos has explained the thinking behind the controversial £100 retainer on season tickets for next season in the Premier League.
Season tickets went back on sale on Tuesday morning, with prices increased on promotion, after over 12,000 fans took advantage of the cheaper ‘early bird’ deals available for three months after the turn of the year.
Those increased prices for the 3,000 or so remaining season tickets included an extra £100, which will subsequently be knocked off a 2015/16 season ticket if fans choose to renew.
Many fans have voiced their disgust at what they see as a “tax”, but Hoos explained how the idea came about: “We’ve been selling season tickets since December, trying to encourage people to get them, doing 12-month finance deals, trying to make it as easy as possible.
“The initial process was trying to encourage loyalty.
“We want more people coming back.
“One of the interesting statistics from the Premier League last time we were there was we had 5,030 people buy season tickets in 09/10 who we haven’t seen since.
“They turned up for one year - that’s a lot of people in terms of percentage of season ticket holders.
“The idea that came back to us was to try and do a two-year season ticket deal to try and hold onto people.
“We looked at ways of trying to implement that, but it became really complicated because of people changing categories, say from Under 18 to Under 22 or adult in the second year.
“It became a nightmare, so the idea that came back was looking at what other teams charged in the Premier League, but if someone renews, you knock £100 off the renewal ticket.
“Let’s say they do go up, and I’m not saying they will, but the renewal price will have £100 knocked off, and hopefully we can get some of those 5,030 back.
“It’s saying, ‘come with us and stay for the second year, and we’ll knock £100 off’.”
Hoos admits the supporters who only tend to want to go to watch the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea, rather than Yeovil and Barnsley, will have to pay a premium: “What we’re trying to do is distinguish between Burnley fans and Premier League fans.
“If you are a Burnley fan, and you’re going to be with us and watching Premier League football for £475 two years from now, fantastic, but if you’re just a Premier League fan, you’re really paying Premier League prices.
“Fulham this season, if you’re looking at early bird prices, ranged from £449-999, Cardiff £379-599, Crystal Palace £590-660, Stoke £399-599.
“We’re putting season tickets on sale at average Premier League prices, but we’re saying ‘stick with us and we’ll knock £100 off the following year’.
“We’re trying to make sure loyalty is rewarded.
“The way to look at it is as a two-year deal as it was originally envisaged, we want to get people to commit for two years.
“Commit to us and we’ll make sure you’re rewarded.”
Hoos also revealed that the retainer idea isn’t set to become the norm on season ticket prices: “We’ll do a question and answer on that, but we’re looking at doing it this year. Obviously if we sold the tickets out, there would be no need for a retainer anyway.
“This has been primarily market research led.”