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Booking Fees Update – Group Statement

Over the past two seasons Bristol Sport has invested in a state of the art ticketing system across football, rugby and basketball, to improve the fan experience.

Last year, mid-season we were able to implement the new ticketing system and test it for any issues ahead of the full opening of the £45m rebuild of Ashton Gate in the 2016/17 season.

It is now working extremely smoothly, for example last Monday more than 800 tickets were sold online for City’s away game at Burton. Fan feedback is that the new system has dramatically improved the customer experience.

Bristol Sport chief executive Andrew Billingham said: “We have come a long way since the days of being unable to sell cup tickets online to season card holders or not being able to offer the opportunity to print at home.

“The booking fee of £1 per ticket is only a percentage of what the business incurs from the software provider and is competitive in the market. For example Derby, who use the same ticketing system, are priced at £1.50 as are Brighton & Hove Albion (for in person and over the phone), and City’s opponents this weekend Wigan Athletic charge £2.

“We have however, listened to fan feedback and now agreed to withdraw the booking fee for CATS coach tickets. Going forward we will subsidise the booking fee on that. Any fan that bought CATS coach tickets for Wycombe and Burton will receive a refund of their booking fee.

“With regards to pay on the day sales, the fee has to remain because we get charged by the software company, whatever the transaction, be it in person, over the phone or online. I know many of our fans have benefitted hugely from being able to buy tickets online right up until a few hours ahead of kick-off and I would always urge fans to buy online or on the phone rather than be faced with the possibility and inconvenience of queuing at the stadium.

“I appreciate that some supporters have said they would prefer just one charge for a ticket. We have considered this, however we feel it is far better for fans to have an open and transparent system that displays the booking fee as separate. Naturally we could remove it and inflate ticket prices accordingly however I feel this would be to the detriment of fans because the club could then be accused of stealth taxes rather than being upfront and honest about the costs we incur by running state-of-the-art software.

“There have been a number of added member benefits introduced this year, including the new Season Card Plus category, free of charge for all Season Card renewals, (£20 cost for new season card holders). This new category, which rewards loyalty, increases discounts at Ashton Gate to 15%, while all new season card holders receive 10% discount. Prices for Season Card renewals for existing stands were also frozen and are all part of our efforts to keep watching sport affordable.”