Following the latest Supporters’ Steering Group convention held at Hillsborough last week, Sheffield Wednesday seek to clarify and expand upon a number of issues raised.
A host of topics came to the fore at the five-hour meeting held with representatives from a broad range of Wednesdayites.
Amongst many other things, general pricing was part of the conversation and this encompassed the likes of tickets, retail and corporate hospitality all the way through to player recruitment.
Whilst certain matters must remain confidential for obvious reasons, the club are keen to detail where possible our policy on pricing, which works in tandem with ambitions for the immediate and long term future.
The value of any product offered by any business, of course, is subjective and relative to the individual. The common denominator from Sheffield Wednesday is that we must examine every revenue stream possible if we are to achieve our goals whilst staying within the boundaries of Financial Fair Play – now known as Profitability and Sustainability.
Whilst there have been certain increased costs - balanced alongside savings on innovative Season Ticket promotions - the ambitions of the Owls have been matched by a level of financial commitment from an owner never before seen at Hillsborough.
Thus two successive campaigns in the Championship play-offs in 2016 and 2017 rapidly elevated the club from our position of previous years.
Inevitably, this has come at a cost, with the quality of the coaching and playing staff having taken the team to uncharted territory over the past two seasons.
With the constraints of FFP (P and S) hitting hard, pricing must be structured accordingly - together with our aims in mind - and supporters are assured that every penny generated is invested wholly back into the club.
At the Steering Group meeting, corporate hospitality packages in particular were highlighted as having risen in cost, but it is important to consider that previously prices were not reflective of what was required for long term sustainability so making recent increases artificially high.
This arm of the business yielded little profit, whilst on occasion even posting a loss after factoring in club costs accrued. This policy of low pricing was based on the rationale of unrealistic reduced revenues being more beneficial than no revenues. The business could not realistically sustain such a model so prices had to increase to help make our offerings competitive.
Given the Championship is the most financially challenging division in the world, internal revenues are more important than ever in terms of contributing to the blueprint for success, without breaching EFL regulations.
Currently, the club sustains significant losses each year, underpinned by the commitment of chairman Dejphon Chansiri, who told swfc.co.uk:
“With any of our products - hospitality, ticketing, or retail - pricing must mirror the ambitions of our club. In Thailand I am a businessman first but at Sheffield Wednesday I think of our fans first, not business, and we have to get the balance right as we try to stay within the rules of FFP.
“Of course, we can go back to lower prices and less investment in the squad but if we wish to reach the Premier League, such a model is not practical. So we must invest more than our revenues like almost every club in this division aiming for promotion.
“I know that some supporters say they cannot afford some things and I understand. I would never ask a single supporter to spend even one penny on anything they cannot afford.
“All I ask of everyone who can afford is to help and support as much as possible. I would love to do this by myself and not ask anything of our fans but the FFP limits mean I cannot. I do not want to disturb the regulations so I have no choice, we must support and go together.
“Historically I know that shirts can be bought elsewhere for a cheaper price, but when I see our fans buying from our club I know it is because they wish to support. The same for tickets and every other area. This makes me feel good and makes me want to give everything I possibly can.
“That is the spirit that we need, the togetherness we must have, and I thank every single one of our fans for giving me the heart to support our lovely club.
“They are the soul of Sheffield Wednesday, which is now in my blood. I am away from my family, away from my home, giving my all and trying my best and I want our fans to say the same because we are all Sheffield Wednesday.
“I hope this offers some explanation about many things as I felt it important that certain discussions in the Steering Group are communicated across the wider fan base.”