Chairman Dejphon Chansiri has defended Sheffield Wednesday’s decision to controversially introduce a new match-day pricing structure ahead of the 2015/16 season.
Ticket prices will be split into eight categories, ranging from G to A*, with Category A* fixtures meaning fans will have to fork out a whopping £52 for an adult ticket.
For Wednesday’s opening-day clash at home to Bristol City, tickets have been set at £39 adults, £29 concessions and £21 for U17s, rising to £46 for adults in the South Stand.
The Owls revealed the sharp price hike on Wednesday and many fans have since vented their displeasure on internet forums, local radio and social media.
In a statement on the club’s website, Chansiri said: “When I purchased a 100% shareholding in Sheffield Wednesday earlier this year, I promised I would do my utmost to take our club back where we all believe we belong as soon as is feasibly possible.
“In the first instance, that required a major investment and one that I was delighted to make because of my belief in the short and long term prosperity of this football club.
“Since then, I have reviewed every aspect of the club in a bid to achieve the promotion we all desire and continue to do so on an everyday basis.
“Regarding tickets, as with almost every football club, we pressed home - and continue to press home - the advantages of buying a Season Ticket, because that commitment guarantees by far the best savings and numerous additional benefits.
“Our Early Bird initiative was again a big success, with approximately 13,000 supporters purchasing a Season Ticket at what we believe were extremely competitive prices. The Phase Two Season Ticket packages, inclusive of an incremental uplift in price, then sold in excellent numbers and we are hopeful that the Phase Three packages announced soon, including interest free payment options, will continue the trend.
“The next piece of the jigsaw was matchday ticket prices. As a club, we conducted extensive research into the overall concept of matchday prices, which led to the introduction of eight different categories for the season ahead. This gives us unprecedented flexibility to set prices on an ongoing basis throughout the whole of the campaign at a fitting category point. Using this system, we have been able to designate the game against Reading, for example, as Category E with suitable price points using the sliding scale and tickets for children under 17 set at just £5.
“In addition, our Membership packages, which incorporate the biggest matchday price discount ever offered at Hillsborough of £5, are already proving extremely popular and represent excellent value across all age groups.
“In the bigger picture, if we are to achieve our ultimate aim of promotion, we must embark on this journey together. I will lead that journey as your chairman but I need as much help as possible along the way. Budgets must be achieved, we must work within the constraints of Financial Fair Play, and we do not have the benefit of Parachute Payments, unlike the significant number of our peers in the Championship, each of whom are aiming for the same destination. As our costs increase, so too must our revenues across the business.
“But what we are building here will, I have no doubt, lead to one of the most exciting seasons in Sheffield Wednesday’s long history. The remit for Carlos [Carvalhal] is entertaining, aggressive football, and my responsibility is providing necessary funds to finance the players who can help deliver that requirement.”
The Thai businessman has already bankrolled eight new signings this summer. He said the club are “hopeful” of bringing in further reinforcements before their first league match against Bristol City on Saturday, August 8.
He added: “We need as many supporters to join us as possible on August 8 and I can only emphasise that the very last intention is to price anyone out of Hillsborough. I pledge that as a club, we will explore further strategies to ensure we attract as many fans as possible throughout this season and those of the future.
“Furthermore, I can assure every single supporter that I will give everything it takes where possible to take Sheffield Wednesday back into the Premier League and all I can ask for as a maximum is your support in return.”