Manly has one of the smallest member bases of any club in Sydney – but Sea eagles fans are revolting at the club’s ticket prices for the upcoming season.
The club, like many in the LNR, is struggling financially due to the continuing effects of COVID, but has nearly doubled the price of tickets in an attempt to make ends meet.
Many fans who pledged their club membership last year in support are now angry.
Prices for sitting in Ken Arthurson’s booth at Lottoland have dropped from $ 37 last season to $ 70 for the second round clash with the Souths.
To add to the anger of fans, the first preference for tickets will be given to those who sign up for a new group – the 75 Member Club – which costs $ 75 to join.
“It borders on blackmail,” an angry fan told Wide World of Sports. “You get a cap and access to no games for that $ 75 – then they crush you with discounted tickets.
“The new costs mean that our retired members cannot afford to attend a single game.… It’s a shame.
“I know a lot of fans who won’t renew their memberships because of the way the club has treated them.”
The club’s largest Facebook forum – The Manly Sea Eagles Supporters Group – has nearly 30,000 members and many of them are letting off steam.
“It’s crazy that it’s almost doubled when the capacity probably won’t be in half at the start of the season,” said Ella Kasmar. “I am embarrassed by the actions of the club.”
Lisa Slater replied: “If that’s the case, unfortunately I won’t be attending any games this year, unfortunately I can’t afford it.”
Another fan, Chris Goffett, added: “The people’s game … hmmm doesn’t seem to be the case. Making the games unaffordable means that we will have even fewer participants, which will lead to a drop in income, not an increase. . Incremental increases and not increases are reasonable.… As a staunch supporter, I just cannot justify this price. “
Manly fan Ian Dhu compared the price at Brookvale to that at Suncorp Stadium for the Magic Round.
“This is extortion (by Manly) he said.” I just paid $ 150 for a premium seat for the Magic Round starting Friday night with Manly playing the Broncos and every game on Saturday and Sunday of the weekend. “
Dozens of other angry fans have aired on the page, including Neil Hoare.
“You can’t charge a premium and not give anything back,” Hoare said. “Yes we all love our team but we want value for money, if the club tries to belittle the brand by not giving the supporters anything then they will lose members. Be sure of one thing Manly needs for improve your game in that department or take risks. have fans watching from home. “
Sea Eagles boss Steve Humphreys has expressed sympathy for the fans but has explained his club’s stance.
“I understand the disappointment of some members with the changes we felt compelled to make for the 2021 season,” he said.
“We have switched to another membership and ticketing model specifically for the 2021 season only, in response to significant capacity reductions at Lottoland this year.
“The reduction in capacity is caused by the construction of the new grandstand and the center of excellence at the north end of the stadium as well as the COVID Safe protocols which must be observed throughout the site and in particular in all areas of the stadium. unstructured seats.
“Given these facts, we simply had to implement changes to our 2021 model in order to somewhat mitigate the massive financial impact on the club.
“We have introduced a Basic Sea Eagles 75 Single Membership to mark the Sea Eagles 75th anniversary. Priced at just $ 75 for adults, this membership allows our fans to truly show their support for the Sea Eagles while enjoying a range of benefits, including priority access to tickets to home games at Lottoland at reduced prices with all ticketing costs also waived.
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“While acknowledging that there will be an additional financial burden on some members and the very real discomfort that results, some of the numbers and comparisons cited are quite inaccurate.
“I have been supported by the tremendous response of the Sea Eagles to the temporary but necessary changes. More than 90% of last year’s reserved seats have already renewed, with four more weeks to go before our first home game of 2021.
“Additionally, we have welcomed more new members at this point in the season than we have had for several seasons. We are very grateful for the support of our fantastic renewals and new members.”