Where have the crowds gone

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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby Masuka » 18 Sep 2019, 22:30

DC is one of very few Barnet managers who is genuinely liked by the majority of fans and is actually doing well. We’ve been let down year after year with sub-standard football. I am not surprised people are vanishing. I am however willing to hold my breath for a possible Bit of continued entertaining football that will get us back to the League and then who knows.
We’re not in Barnet anymore, but if we do get back up and start knocking on the door of League 1 then naturally the stadium fills. Let’s be honest, no one is really bothered about us in the area of our stadium for now.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby beew » 18 Sep 2019, 22:39

hoofer2 wrote:
beew wrote:
becbee wrote:
beew wrote:£22 is very expensive to watch NL football, in an area where it takes most an hour to get to, at an additional cost.There lies the problem imo, I chose not to go last night as I couldn’t justify the cost when there was a commentary on BBC radio and the CL offering on the TV. And yes before you ask, I did listen to Barnet whilst watching the football on mute.i know you can stand on the terrace for less but then you can’t use the excellent facilities in the West stand. Bring down the cost of the West stand by offering, any 5 games for £70 ( £50 concessions) and you might see an upturn in attendances.


Why should members pay full price every month in order to subsidise those who'd rather stay at home and watch Champions League? And yes, it takes me best part of an hour from home to The Hive.
Having said that, if I'd not gone last night, I'd not have watched the Champions League anyway.


And there lies the problem. Thanks for highlighting it for me.


I'm a member of the National Trust too. The money I pay on a monthly basis means that others may get to enjoy national trust for free but it also provides the guaranteed revenue which is vital. It's how it is with any membership. As a member you get best price per game, dedicated seat and hive discount. You are not subsidising.


The membership scheme is a main reason our attendances are falling. I was a member for 3 years and worked out after the first year that I was being conned. You only need to be a member for 9 months in the year to watch league games, plus an additional months admin payment. When you factor 10 months at £32 it works out at £13.92 per home game. Unfortunately the club website advertises that the cost of membership per home game is £16.70, which is clearly wrong, as it encourages people to pay for the months of no football. Don't worry with a current occupancy rate of about 25% in the West stand your seats are reasonably safe if you take the gamble not to pay in the summer

If you were charged 20% more for your phone contract/broadband your service provider would be shamed by OFCOM.

The club needs to be transparent in it's pricing, and only then we will see fans coming back. £22 for non members is scandalous in this league, and deters people who can't commit to 23 games a season to attend matches.

Offering mini season tickets at £14/15 a game, shouldn't affect those who chose not to be conned by the club into paying £16.70 so I really don't see the problem.

Rant over.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby barnetjohn » 19 Sep 2019, 00:12

There's a lot to think about here. Big picture I think that there are some valid points here, some I don't agree with.

Football quality: Yes, it hasn't been great for the past 3 seasons, both in terms of on pitch results (bottom half, relegation, lowest league finish in 30-odd years) + quality of football. But as you say- has got better recently.

Too expensive: Some truth in that. Though £15 to sit and £8 to stand would be way cheaper than other conference sides and not realistic. And if the club did lower prices by a couple of quid, how many extra would it put on the gates?

Lack of atmosphere: I'd agree- mostly the atmos isn't great, and it hasn't got better over the past few years. Doesn't help to have fans spread out over such a big stadium. Also, lack of big group of singing fans on a terrace behind the goal has contributed to this too. Most of the hardcore, home and away, singing type fans now sit and are scattered in the West Stand.

Legends Bar: Yes it's cold, and last season the beer quality was poor. It's got a bit better this season. Club should improve both. But that said, facilities at the Hive are still very good for a conference side. I can't think of many grounds we go to at conference level that have a better facility for fans inside the ground. Wrexham have a nice one outside, but most clubs facilities are not as good (Eastleigh, Borehamwood, Sutton, Bromley, Havant, Yeovil, Woking to name just a few).

The food: isn't that bad- especially compared to what you get a conference grounds. It can be tricky as well because if you go more up market that raises the price, which makes it less attractive, and some people just want a burger or chips rather than anything fancier. One thing the club could try though would be better pies- Kidderminster do some great ones, and I've had some lovely Balti pies at league two and conference level, which should be pretty straightforward to do at the Hive.

Car Parking: Yes- it adds to the cost of the day. But I imagine the club is limited here because the amount of spaces they have isn't big, so the price reflects the scarcity. It does put people off, but if they made it free, the car park would be full as it virtually is now, so the issue would then be trying to find somewhere to park near the ground. Real issue here is that for many Bees fans, the Hive is not as convenient to get too as Underhill, which for most people was walking distance or a quick bus ride.

No programmes: I don't think the fact that you can't get a paper programme would in itself lead someone not to go. You can download them for free, so the fact that the club have exercised their right not to publish on paper means the demand must be pretty low. I get that this is a bit frustrating for fans who don't have smartphones, but can't see this is being a significant decision in whether to go or not.

No entertainment: Not 100% sure what you mean here, but presume it's things like mascot derbies on the pitch, half time penality shoot outs etc. If so, then I don't think many fans base their decision to go on whether these things will be on offer, and realistically we are on a par with most conference teams here in our pre-match and half time offering. If the club did get creative here- like say the Morecambe Salsa drummers it might liven things up, but can't believe it'd put any extra numbers on the gate.

Scoreboard: Get your frustration that it doesn't work but can't imagine that the scoreboard not working is going to actually lead anyone to say "right I'm not going". Does look a bit naff though.

Stewarding: It's generally not bad, but there have been some incidents that were concerning, like the issue someone had with being turned away with a just purchased ticket which the club claimed had been scanned twice, or the heavy handed response to the Salford game. But I don't think generally it's that bad.

Matchday experience in general: Could definitely be improved. It's not worse than most conference clubs though, but the frustration for me is that given our facilities, we could make it better than it currently is. A few simple things would improve the bar (better beer selection, pre-pouring pints ahead of busy periods, bottle bar, heat it up) and help the club get the full benefit + revenue from what is basically an excellent facility. Similarly, the meet the players thing after games in Legends is a really good idea, but it's held back by the fact the interviews are done on a crap speaker and are barely audible. I'd assumed this was just going to get fixed after the first week, but it's still not been addressed. If the club could fix the PA issue, they'd probably get a lot more fans going, and could really reap the benefits of a very neat idea.

I've said it before, but the club could really benefit from sitting down with fans and having a constructive chat and an open mind about simple changes (e.g. bar stuff) that could be implemented to improve things.

Going down the list, I'd say we aren't worse than conference average on most or perhaps any of them, so I don't think they can explain why our gates are relatively poor even for a conference side. For me I think the main reasons for lower attendances are the last few seasons football, the perception that the club doesn't listen to its fans and the distance from Barnet. Darren can hopefully fix the first one, so given the last one is sort of fixed, the main thing the club can work on is the middle one.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby MCB » 19 Sep 2019, 02:29

BarnetJohn's post is a well thought through summation.

I think it's normally a gradual grinding down that is a summation of all of the above plus others.

A lot of what the club does is so short term i.e.

A ticket offer - doesn't work once when bought in 3 days before the game, is used to show ticket offers don't work
Real Ale one off - lack of take up is shown that the fans don't want real ale
Away Coach - binned as losing money, despite being ran badly

Once again very much feel that the lines of communication between the club and the fans are non-existent - this is where the fans need to step in with renewing a Supporters Club

And TK could perhaps have a long chat with Andy Holt (Accie chairman) who has shown that long term planning can bring in consistently stable attendance growth.

Feels like everything else is working well at The Hive now, it's time for the club to perhaps focus on this.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby ninestein » 19 Sep 2019, 05:33

Just to follow up on a few well made points here...

Pricing...
Unless a decrease in ticket pricing leads to enough extra fans making it worthwhile, the playing budget will simply suffer. Having said that £20 instead of £22 for Legends would be par for the division.

Memberships...
At present, our two methods of accessing games are either a full priced one off ticket, or a full membership. Some may ve put off by such a commitment. Yet, maybe there's an opportunity here to reach out to the fan who might have attended around 10 games a season. The club could offer a half season membership, or re-introduce the deal where you could pick 3 games out of 6 for a good price. Could be dressed up as a seasonal offer, and promote it properly, but watch out for matches where there are potential postponements of course!

Half Time Entertainment...
For me this isn't the be all and end all, especially as half the crowd actually disappear inside at half time. Would a half time penalty shoot out between mascots really make people come along?

Food and Drink...
The service in the tea huts has improved on where we were a year ago since we hired the new caterers.
As for the alcohol offering in the bars, i don't drink at the Hive as I have to drive there. Surely it's the quality of football which is more important than the beer? That said, I'm not the sort of fan who meets up with a group of others and shares a drink and a chat.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby finchleyman » 19 Sep 2019, 08:22

Some very well thought out replies for which I thank you. Obviously, the different individual issues affect different people in different ways. The Club is competing with other sports and clubs in the area to attract people to the game. Boring Wood have the same difficulty and yet I would say that the matchday experience to Boring Wood (except for the football) is better than the Hive. It feels more like a Club rather than a business.

But the truth of the matter is that all of the little issues that made up my first ten comments add up to a most unsatisfactory matchday experience. One issue by itself is probably not enough to keep people away. The overall matchday experience is something that the Club needs to address and it needs to make supporters feel that they are important to the Club. Instead we generally seem to get the feeling that we are just being ripped off. Perhaps this will be less so if the team carries on playing really well.

Otherwise I fear that attendances will continue to fall.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby BeeDeceived » 19 Sep 2019, 08:25

Maybe worth collating your thoughts and sending them to JustTellUs?
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby Norfolkbee » 19 Sep 2019, 09:06

Generally away fans seem quite positive about facilities. Admission prices are by far their biggest bugbear with the odd moan about heavy-handed stewarding.
The second problem can be remedied by reminding stewards that fans are "paying customers" and should be treated as such. The question of ticket prices is not so simply answered. There is no guarantee that cutting prices will put bums on seats as the club up the road has discovered, although they never have had a big fanbase, while there a definitely lapsed Barnet supporters out there.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby Joss » 19 Sep 2019, 09:09

ninestein wrote:Half Time Entertainment...
For me this isn't the be all and end all, especially as half the crowd actually disappear inside at half time. Would a half time penalty shoot out between mascots really make people come along?


I think the half-time penalty shootouts can actually make a big difference, if held between youth teams or schools rather than between mascots.

Say each team had six shoots and a goalkeeper - that's seven youngsters per team - fourteen between both teams. Now, say that in order to participate, each child must bring along two adults. That's twenty-eight adults. All of a sudden, you've sold forty-two tickets.

Now let's say you run four such penalty shoot outs simultaneously at the same match. Now you've sold 168 tickets.

I used to run something like this at a different club, and it really did work. Ok, we had to knock a few quid off the adult tickets, but not much.

We also made it a competition. If a team won one week, they'd make it through to the quarter final a month or two later and have to return. The winners came four times in a season, thereby getting into the habit of attending games on a regular basis, just like a fan...
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby Joss » 19 Sep 2019, 09:09

ninestein wrote:Half Time Entertainment...
For me this isn't the be all and end all, especially as half the crowd actually disappear inside at half time. Would a half time penalty shoot out between mascots really make people come along?


I think the half-time penalty shootouts can actually make a big difference, if held between youth teams or schools rather than between mascots.

Say each team had six shoots and a goalkeeper - that's seven youngsters per team - fourteen between both teams. Now, say that in order to participate, each child must bring along two adults. That's twenty-eight adults. All of a sudden, you've sold forty-two tickets.

Now let's say you run four such penalty shoot outs simultaneously at the same match. Now you've sold 168 tickets.

I used to run something like this at a different club, and it really did work. Ok, we had to knock a few quid off the adult tickets, but not much.

We also made it a competition. If a team won one week, they'd make it through to the quarter final a month or two later and have to return. The winners came four times in a season, thereby getting into the habit of attending games on a regular basis, just like a fan...
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby hoofer2 » 19 Sep 2019, 09:21

BeeDeceived wrote:Maybe worth collating your thoughts and sending them to JustTellUs?


Is the liaison group still active? They were very effective in past at communicating some of my observations in past, at TK did deal with them
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby b4life » 19 Sep 2019, 09:53

I think it will take a while for crowds to improve. As we saw last season for the FA Cup, fans will come and watch us if something good is happening. What DC is doing is building credibility that this is not a short term improvement, the style of play is improving too. It might help if the club did organise a decent promotion with plenty of notice and promotion, something they are not usually good at. One Saturday match where all tickets are £10 or something, assuming we continue to do well, might be worth doing? Overall, I don't think our prices are actually too bad. You can stand or sit for only £15 for an adult.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby amberforever » 19 Sep 2019, 10:15

I was gob smacked last season after a brilliant packed out attendance for the Brentford match. I really couldn’t believe the following weeks attendance which was back down at its usual low figure. Honestly I was gobsmacked to see the fall back to the usual crowd size.
It wasn’t as if we played poorly or got knocked out by the false Bees, quite the opposite. Really puzzled about that.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby Roy57 » 19 Sep 2019, 10:30

Away day matches. It is a shame the club don't run a coach or coaches to away games. If priced right surely this can be done even Dover athletic run coach for away games. I use to love the journey to a game in the coach. Sitting with friends and fellow supporters and having great laugh. Remember picking coach up outside the Odeon cinema close to underhill. Brought supporters together and made it feel like a family club which is sadly missing. surely it would benefit the club even if they had to subsdise the cost a little. To have extra supporters there would benefit everyone.
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Re: Where have the crowds gone

Postby gafferbee » 19 Sep 2019, 10:55

Spot on. Sadly we've been let down repeatedly over the years and the balance has shifted. Instead of turning up and cheering on the team and hoping that they'll respond and win, more and more are presumably just waiting until we have a good team we can watch.

There are obvious flaws with that approach, but it's logical on an individual basis.

Personally, I'd say all the rest of the OP's points don't matter much at all. A good team playing attractive football is all that matters.

The most recent relegation hit hard. I felt betrayed by the club from top to bottom. It was reckless, careless and negligent to allow it to happen. I suspect it drove away many fans for now, and even if (when) we go back up again it will be harder than ever before to revive that inner sense of belief that our club has a glorious future ahead of us.

So people don't come as much as they did before.

Edd1 wrote:It's been 15 years of mostly crap football and a constant churn of players and managers coupled to expensive tickets and a bitch of a journey to get to games. In short, it's not been fun for quite some time.

It's going to take persistent attacking, winning football to turn it around coupled with a charm offensive from the club. Like stop sending people threatening legal letters.
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