Season ticket holders increase despite Dons’ price hike

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“When we had the cheaper season ticket last season, it did not increase our fanbase”

Growing a new football club and a supporter base has been the challenge for MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman over the last two decades - now he’s fighting a battle to keep them happy.

Price increases, a perceived lack of communication about cuts and a general feel of discourtesy have ranked high on the list of irks from the fans after a troublesome opening home fixture against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, prompting Winkelman to address several issues in an interview prior to Tuesday night’s game with Sutton United.

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The chairman though was stern in his riposte: “This is part of the evolution of this football club.”

One of the key issues fans raised was their season ticket prices. Last season, the club offered £230 season tickets to supporters - £10 per game, just as they paid to watch the locked out Covid season in 2020/21. It was a one-year only deal to encourage people back to watching football, but what the club have since learned, the price isn’t the main driver of season ticket sales: good football is.

“When we had the cheaper season ticket last season, it did not increase our fanbase,” said Winkelman. “We've put the prices up, and we've got more season ticket holders. And that's because the football was good and we nearly made it. That's what gets people excited.

“More people will come if we're in the Championship and more will come if we're in the Premier League. That's how we get armchair fans into the stadium.

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“Over Covid, we were able to spend more time than we've had before to look at how we can be competitive. Over the years, Andy Cullen tried everything in terms of marketing - discounts on food and drink, discounted season tickets, cheap tickets, even a free game for MK50. None of these things exploded our fanbase.

“We can't do £230 season tickets, we won't go anywhere if we do. We have to price it the same as everyone else to compete with them.”