Fans of Bolton and Wigan have taken to social media to criticise the ticket prices for December’s local derby.
The tickets for the derby match went on sale last week, with adult tickets costing up to £35 as the match has been given Category A status.
A number of fans on both sides of the fence have complained about the pricing structure and believe this to be grossly overcharging for a match between two sides at the lower end of the Championship.
£45 to take my 7 year old to watch wigan vs Bolton. This a wind up???
— Mike Fletcher (@_fletchermike) November 8, 2018
Could lowering prices work?
Bolton have struggled to fill their stadium all season long with average attendances sitting around 14,000, half of the total capacity of 28,723.
While the most likely explanation is the team’s poor form and and unattractive brand of football, would lower ticket prices entice more fans back?
One fan believes so and offers a solution to the low attendances at the University of Bolton Stadium this season.
.@OfficialBWFC Did you learn nothing from Blackburn @Rovers at home when the attendance was 15,400 & tickets were £35?
Reduce it to £25 (twentysplenty for #wafc fans) & prove us all wrong we wouldn’t get 17,000 – revenue would be the same. #BWFC #Rovers @superagent73 @MarcIles https://t.co/WdZkFlfQo6
— Gareth Evans (@gaztruman) November 9, 2018
While another fan disagrees.
Fair enough people not happy with ticket prices, but comments like ‘lower prices, more fans, higher gate receipts’ are nonesense. Ken is a businessman and knows what he’s doing, it’s supply and demand – unless there’s actually a good boycott effort, then they will be right. #BWFC
— Matt Williams (@MattyWilliams19) November 9, 2018
Talk of a boycott
Meanwhile, some Wigan fans are proposing a boycott of the game over the ticket prices.
Seen a few #wafc fans suggest a boycott…if ever there was a fixture where this would actually make a difference it's this, given Bolton's cash-flow…imagine their finance director receiving an email saying no Wiganers are coming…time to make a stand?https://t.co/E0GLugI1Fh
— Paul Kendrick (@PKendrickWIG) November 9, 2018
@OfficialBWFC @superagent73 my son and I have been looking forward to this fixture since we got promoted last season and because of your ridiculous pricing you’ve ruined what could have been a great local derby #WAFC #BWFC #boycottbolton pic.twitter.com/YdOEMiaGyp
— Ken (@KENIRLRN) November 9, 2018
One Wigan fan believes he has the answer to the ticket prices.
— Danny Taberner (@UnTabs) November 9, 2018
With all of this in mind though, it’s important to note is that the ticket prices at the University of Bolton Stadium haven’t actually risen since at least 2015 according to the Guardian, when the most expensive ticket was still £35.
This means that prices were the same when the two clubs last met in the Championship during the 2014/15 season.
While cheaper tickets would surely be welcomed by all, would it really boost attendances by all that much?
The prospect of watching 90 minutes of hoof-ball in the cold is unlikely to whet the appetites of many fans, regardless of any rivalry.
As a result, the attendance probably wouldn’t increase by much unless Wanderers’ form took a sharp turn for the better.
Unless lowering prices saw a dramatic increase in attendances, it could also be financially damaging to a club that is already struggling to keep its head above the financial waterline.
Besides, the tickets have already gone on sale so the prices won’t change now. Those who are truly set on seeing the match will likely pay whatever the cost.