Worst in the league. Liberec decides what to do with deplorable football attendance

Moving on to the summer of 2023: a shameful 1858 fans came to the match against Pardubice in the 5th round. Previous home matches have also been unsuccessful visits. In total, this amounts to 2718 spectators per match, less than all 16 teams in the league! “Everyone at the club has a role to play in bringing fans back to the stadium. The first and necessary prerequisite is the good performance of our players and the corresponding results of the A team,” says Tomasz Czarnogurski, director of public relations for the currently eighth team in the league.

To what extent does the drop in visits, accelerated by the pandemic, worry the management of Slovan Liberec?
We are constantly dealing with the topic of match attendance, we are not very satisfied with the current attendance and we will definitely strive to change for the better. The covid period, when the stadium had to be closed to spectators or only a limited capacity was allowed with various additional obligations, was also an unpleasant interference for us. Some of the fans got used to going to the stadium during this time. In addition, significant successes in the past have made the Liberec spectator relatively sleepy and placed their expectations above the real sporting ambitions driven by the club’s economic possibilities. Then it is very difficult to cause some kind of football euphoria here.

Will the return to the European competition help attendance?
When our team last managed to break into the main group of the Europa League in 2020, matches, unfortunately, had to be played behind closed stands due to covid restrictions, so the last time European cups could be visited in Liberec was seven years ago. These matches had their own charm and attracted new spectators, who then learned to attend championship matches as well. Now we don’t have enough of it. And when the most attractive home matches, for example, with Sparta or Slavia, repeatedly ended in controversial referee decisions in past years, this also discouraged some people. In addition to the sporting side, of course, a complex of other factors is involved, most of which the club cannot influence. Starting with cases around the leadership of the FAHR, ending with a termlist and specific Liberec weather. But there are also factors that we can influence and that we need to focus on.

Mlady Boleslav goalkeeper Marek Suchy (third from left) compares the match with Liberec

For example, the entrance fee. Is its rise in price the reason for the outflow of fans?
The increased cost of tickets, combined with high inflation, which negatively affects the family budget, of course, can affect attendance. But I must say that the increase in entry fees, the decision on which was made by the club’s management before this season, was caused by a significant increase in the costs associated with the organization of matches. Season ticket prices for existing season ticket holders have increased by 30% this year, but are still below the league average and do not exceed the CZK 3,000 limit. Discounted passes for senior citizens and students were sold for 1500 kroons, while children’s passes for all stands are now offered for 1000 kroons.

But individual tickets have become more expensive, haven’t they?
The price of one-time tickets has approximately doubled, for ordinary matches the viewer pays 250-300 kroons, and only for the most attractive ones, such as matches with Sparta and Slavia, prices are at the level of 400-500 kroons. . Loyal fans who not only attend selected matches but also purchase permanent tickets enjoy an even greater advantage. Pensioners, children under 15 and students are entitled to a discount in certain sectors even when purchasing single tickets. A family with two children can watch league football in Liberec for 600 CZK.

Are there fewer season ticket holders compared to previous seasons?
We noticed a decrease in sales of regular tickets, but only by one percent. Thus, the overall sales revenue has increased, for which we must thank all our loyal fans. In addition, season tickets are still on sale, after three matches we adjusted the prices so that even those who hesitated before the season or were absent in Liberec in the summer could still buy them. The most expensive subscription to the longitudinal stands now costs 2400 kroons.

Matej Halusz (third from right) together with his teammates from Liberec celebrating a goal against Mlad...

What is the club doing to bring lost spectators back to the stadium?
Everyone at the club has a role to play in bringing spectators to the stadium. The first and necessary prerequisite is the good performance of our players and the corresponding results of the A team. If we do not offer the spectators a quality football spectacle, it will be difficult to attract them to something else. But I have to appreciate that this season the players have become more involved in various promotions through which we try to entertain and engage fans on social media, which is an important channel of communication for the club, especially with the younger generation.

Are you planning any special fan events in the near future?
Already for the next home match with Sparta, thanks to cooperation with our partners, we are preparing a large pre-match fan zone with entertainment for adults and children. An expanded catering offer will also be included, which we hope fans will appreciate. We are also planning to resume wrestling on the pitch at halftime, which we had to cancel during covid. We are also working on new animations for the big screen and new LED panels around the playing surface. Also new is the possibility of ordering a greeting card on the big screen.

What about stadium services? Sometimes people complain, for example, about the possibility of snacks.
We are still working with the operator to offer drinks and meals, and we believe that there is room for improvement in this regard in order to meet the growing demands of visitors, not only in terms of the range offered, but also, for example, the possibility of paying by card. It is also necessary to constantly adjust the flow of passes to the stadium in order to avoid unnecessary delays when fans arrive at the stadium. The upcoming match against Sparta will be a big test in this regard, and I would like to ask the fans to come with a ticket already purchased and, if possible, have enough time.

Boleslav striker Yusuf Hilal (right) hits in a match against Liberec.

Did you notice a poll of fans voting for what was behind the drop in attendance, and “constant player turnover” came out on top? Will you react to this as a club?
We recorded this poll in a Facebook fan group, and given the large number of voters, we certainly cannot take it lightly. On the other hand, her results rather confirmed what we knew or suspected. For example, about the high demands of the Liberec spectator to the results, the game presented and the general ambitions of the club. The frequent change of players is driven by an economic reality that significantly affects transfer policy and is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

So what about this?
We can only patiently and openly explain this to the fans in order to at least improve the perception of the club’s overall communication with the fans. However, it will be difficult for us to satisfy that part of the audience who would come to the stadium just to fight for the title or for European competitions, but those who really have Slovan in their hearts could appreciate it and return it to us. back to the stadium. Even the fans themselves can contribute to the stadium experience. I myself started going to Slovan in the first seasons of the independent Czech league, when Nisa had a great atmosphere thanks to the promo euphoria and cheered in all the stands, although we could only dream of titles or European cups back then.

Source link

Leave a Comment