The NFL told fans in advance that today at 4pm they would be announcing ticketing details for the 2018 London games.
4pm came and went and there were more questions than answers. The NFL seemed to forget to tell people how much tickets would be, that’s going to be announced tomorrow!
What became clear very quickly is that what they did announce isn’t being well received by fans.
Here’s a summary:
- Season ticket Renewals will not be for a season! Existing season ticket holders will be able to renew their WEMBLEY seats on 30 January at 10am.
- Season Ticket holders will have an opportunity to buy up to 4 tickets for the Seahawks v Raiders at Tottenham but only once the seating plan is finalised, which is likely to be around the NFL Draft in April.
- Season Ticket holders will get a 10% discount on standard Wembley prices, a reduction from last year’s 20%.
- Wembley Season ticket packages for new buyers will go on sale 10am Thursday 15 February 2018.
- The Kickoff time for the Seattle Seahawks v Oakland Raiders game is confirmed as 6pm.
- On sale dates for single-game tickets to be confirmed later (likely April once the schedule is firmed up).
The biggest issue is the way season ticket holders are not going to be holders for a whole season of London games, just Wembley games. Will they then be guaranteed seats for the first game at White Hart Lane? Well, the answer to that seems to be no. A limited number of tickets will be available for that game on a first come, first served basis.
With a maximum of 4 tickets per season ticket holder (not per seat, just the person who paid and bought the block), many fans who travel to games as a family or larger group of friends risk being left with the tough decision about who gets left at home.
“Who, as a family of five season ticket holders incl disabled, do I leave at home for 18 hour return trip?” – Andy Gardiner
When fans were encouraged to buy season tickets in previous years, one of the selling points was to guarantee seats for any future franchise or new stadium. I wonder which disgruntled fan will be the first to sue the NFL in a group action!
“have had a season ticket since they began. Why am I not guaranteed a seat at White Hart Lane?” – Don Church
Why was the season’s biggest London fixture (except if Jags Vs Eagles ends up being a super bowl re-match) held at our smallest stadium? I understand that both parties wanted a marquee fixture at the new stadium, however this was an issue that should have been clear to see in advance.
Why wouldn’t the NFL just promise existing season ticket holders a one for one match at the new stadium? With 40,000 season ticket holders and a stadium capacity of 61,559 this should be achievable. I can only speculate that the powers that be have decided to limit the percentage of the stadium held for season ticket holders. I hear talk of around 14,000 season ticket accounts, which if all took up their 4 seat allocation would equal 56,000 seats. As this exceeds the 40,000 existing, I can only draw a conclusion that there won’t be enough for 4 seats per account holder. If this is true, then I can see many very unhappy season ticket holders who may end up being holders of two-thirds of a season ticket and worse, being excluded from any future White Hart Lane season tickets if people renew!
“Disgusting way to treat the season ticket holders who have been forking out money for years!” – Simon Watten
The next question is on pricing, there is an implication that whilst season ticket holders will receive a 10% discount for their two Wembley tickets, there was no talk that any discount would be extended for the Tottenham game.
This announcement seemed rushed and ill thought out, the immediate reaction from fans on the NFL UK’s official Facebook group was of fury about how they felt let down by the NFL.
This reaction and similar on Twitter led the NFL to rush out a clarification which seemed to do nothing to clarify, nor to appease the fury. It included the following point.
“We understand the initial frustration of season ticket account holders who would like to have the opportunity to buy more than four season tickets at Tottenham. However, our ticketing policy has to be able to accommodate the differences in each venue – e.g. to safeguard against a scenario where the total number of Wembley season ticket sales exceeds the capacity of Tottenham’s stadium.”
Whilst they continue to miss the point of the majority of the fans the new statement just reiterated many points from the earlier announcement and shed little light on any of the issues.
In a further effort to answer fans issues, the NFL has announced that there will be a Question and Answer session on Tuesday afternoon at 1pm. The delay before this event has further angered fans who speculate that they just need time to make up excuses. Let’s hope that the extra time instead gives them a chance to reflect and re-think policies on the new stadium. They need to address the real issues raised by the poor handling of the announcement and the apparent disregard for fans who have been loyal to the NFL during the previous 10 years.