Ask the Chairman: 'Season ticket sales up 40%' as Chansiri defends Sheffield Wednesday's pricing

Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri
Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri
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Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri has acknowledged the high level of ticket pricing at the club but says that this is a consequence of their Premier League ambition.

In the latest from his Ask the Chairman series of questions, Chansiri says, 'I understand that not everyone can afford to come to Hillsborough' however the Owls owner has pointed to 'an uplift of 40%' in season ticket sales.

Dejphon Chansiri has a selfie with a fan

Dejphon Chansiri has a selfie with a fan

Hillsborough is among the most expensive grounds to visit in the Championship, but Chansiri reiterated the point made before that there is constant encouragement for fans to buy a season ticket.

Since arriving in South Yorkshire, Chansiri has invested heavily on transfer fees and in player salaries, including twice breaking the transfer record for Adam Reach and then Jordan Rhodes.

The Thai businessman says success 'does not come cheap' and he went on to defend the cost of watching Wednesday by pointing out the various schemes the club promoted in order to get as many people through the gates while also remaining competitive on the pitch.

"The ticketing policy is something the club has examined at great length over the two and half years I have been at Sheffield Wednesday," he replied when asked about criticism over ticket pricing. "It was and remains important to find the right balance between robust pricing structures whilst delivering a major uplift of quality on the pitch.

Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri has been answering a series of questions from supporters

Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri has been answering a series of questions from supporters

"The players are better, our ambitions are higher and this has led to two successive seasons in the play-offs. This does not come cheap but for everyone who has supported the team so incredibly well since my arrival, I say thank you.

"We have been in the top six of average attendances in the Championship for the last two years and this season will be similar I’m sure as only five teams have a higher average going into the latest international break.

"I understand that not everyone can afford to come to Hillsborough and I would never ask one single fan to buy a ticket they cannot afford. This is something we recognised with the Community Engagement Scheme, whereby supporters on low incomes can apply for discounted tickets. We were the first club in the country to introduce such a scheme because the last thing we wish to do is price anyone out of Hillsborough.

"We have made clear right from the beginning the value of purchasing a Season Ticket, the result of which has seen an uplift of 40%, even though we lose money by encouraging supporters to buy a Season Ticket compared to matchday sales.

"Also, initiatives such as the Advance Saver greatly enhanced the value of a Season Ticket, together with heavily discounted Early Bird prices. The three-year Season Ticket was another way of saying thank you and giving something back to our supporters.

"Alongside the Season Ticket strategy, our match by match pricing policy was overhauled, giving supporters flexibility determined by the category of each game. By nature of supply and demand, the more attractive games on paper are categorised at the higher end, and the reverse is true at the other.

"Elsewhere, our Membership packages, which include the biggest matchday price discount ever offered at Hillsborough, have proved extremely popular and represent excellent value for money across all age groups."

Chansiri went on to point out that should prices be heavily cut on all aspects of commercial activity at Wednesday, then their chances of moving forward as a club and ultimately fulfilling their ambition to achieve promotion to the top flight would diminish severely.

"We do our best, as any club in the Championship with genuine ambitions to achieve promotion must prosper without the benefits of the Premier League broadcast money," he added.

"Of course, we could reduce the prices of Season Tickets, match tickets, replica shirts and executive boxes, etc. I could make every supporter happy I’m sure by cutting all the prices in half, for example. But what would this achieve? The answer is simple: we go back to where we were for the 15 years or so before I bought our club: we sell our best players, we have to play our academy players who show great promise but are far from the finished product in the first team. This would be the consequence of reducing prices.

"Ultimately, my desire is the same as the fans - to see Premier League football at Hillsborough and sometimes there will be pain before sunshine for both parties. We have finished sixth and fourth in my first full two years and if we are to continue to aim for promotion against the backdrop of Profitability and Sustainability, we must drive our revenue streams across all platforms."