South Stand season ticket offer revealed by Derby County
DERBY County have offered their supporters the chance to roar on the team from behind both goals at Pride Park Stadium next season.
Away fans currently occupy the majority of the South Stand but Rams fans will be able to buy season tickets at £230 for that end of the ground for the 2013-14 campaign.
The club has announced its season ticket details today.
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A price freeze for the majority of fans if they renew by April 14
Cheaper tickets for younger fans
A recategorisation of some of the more popular seating
Changes to the senior and the disabled season tickets
Rams manager Nigel Clough had backed an idea to move the away fans and former chief executive Tom Glick, before leaving for Manchester City, said supporters would be consulted and the switch could happen from the start of next season.
For now, away fans will remain in the South Stand, but Derby supporters can purchase season tickets for the Upper Blocks D and E and Lower Blocks B and C.
The season tickets will be sold at a discounted rate of £230 as these supporters will have to relocate whenever an away team requests the full 4,300 allocation, as Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United did this season.
When this happens, those Derby supporters will be relocated to the South West Upper at no extra cost.
If the supporter wishes to sit anywhere else there will be a £10 upgrade fee per match.
Chief executive Sam Rush believes having Derby fans behind the goal will improve the atmosphere.
"We are now going to have the majority of the South Stand full of home fans and paying what I think is one of the cheapest prices to watch football in the Championship," he said.
"We do not in any way take for granted our fans. We know how difficult it is for people to afford their season tickets but to be able to get a ticket for £230 for the season I think is really good value.
"I hope we get the fans behind the goal, get them excited and hopefully help the atmosphere as well.
"I hope it is a success, and what I am going to do as well over the next few months is to survey fans and see what we can do going forward.
"The key thing for me is to make sure the home fans have the best seats in the house to cheer on our team."
The prize freeze on the "majority" of tickets means an adult Category AA ticket, in the Toyota West Stand Upper, will again cost £510 if renewed before the deadline. After that, the same ticket will be £560.
A young adult ticket in the same stand will be £260 before the deadline, £285 after the cut-off point.
Derby will continue to offer free season tickets to under 12s with each adult season ticket purchased but they have moved to try to attract more fans aged 13 to 17 by dropping the juvenile age band for two new age bands, 13 to 14 years, and 15 to 17.
"I noticed there was a bit of a drop off from 12 to 18," said Rush. "So I wanted to move as much as I possibly could the financial barriers and offer savings at 13-14 and 15-17 to encourage as many people as possible under 18 to come to the game.
"It is absolutely key we have as many young fans as possible. They are the future of the club.
"If there is any way I can stop young fans leaving at 12, and if we have done that as part of the season ticket campaign, I will be really pleased."
Season ticket prices for fans aged 13 to 14 range from £65 up to £210, and 15 to 17 is £95 up to £250 depending on the seat category.
The East Stand Upper Blocks F, G and H have been changed to category A and Lower Blocks E, F and G have been changed to category B.
This makes the seats comparatively priced to the same seats in the West Stand, and will see the season ticket price rise by £30 or £35.
Rush says the seats are still good value for money.
"Looking at the East Stand, I think the seats are really good value and by putting them up by £30 or £35 over a season – just over £1 per match – I still think that is extrememly good value for some of the best seats in the house," Rush added.
Derby say they have changed the senior age band from 60 and over to 65 and over, to fall in line with industry standards.
Supporters turning 60 this year will continue to pay the adult rate until they are 65. Supporters aged between 61 and 64 who currently pay senior rate for a season tickets, they will continue to pay a senior rate provided they renew before the renewal deadline.
"The vast majority of clubs in football have senior pricing beginning at 65, we are one of the few clubs that has it at 60," said Rush.
"We have discussed it in the past and I understand it was something that was discussed last year but was not followed through. What I wanted to try and do is make the ticketing system as fair as possible, and good value."
Derby will change the disabled policy for season 2013-14.
Currently, supporters play a flat rate of £200 for a disabled season ticket, regardless of age or where they sit. The new policy will now see them pay their relative age brand and receive a carer ticket free of charge.
"We are one of very few clubs who had a flat fee," said Rush. "So we have followed Football League regulations and guidelines, and other Championship clubs, and now there will be some paying less and some paying more.
"If you review it, I think it is fair and of course the carer will always go free."
On the issue of rewards for current season ticket holders, if a current season ticket holder renews for season 2013-14 and recommends a friend, who is a non-season ticket holder in 2012-13 and they buy a season ticket for next season, the fan who recommends the friend will receive a £10 voucher in their season ticket packet.
Rush said: "One of the things that came from the fans' forums is how we can deliver greater value to our season ticket holders.
"A cup voucher was something we have looked at. I talked to my opposite numbers at certain clubs and the Football League and the FA, and cup vouchers is something that is not popular because, frankly, they take away from revenues.
"We share our revenue down the middle from cup games and 10 per cent goes to the FA.
"So from that point of view, clubs do not want cup gates to be the result of free tickets, you can see that would be a major problem for some clubs.
"What we are going to do is the equivalent of a cup voucher if a season ticket holder recommends a non-season ticket holder."
Rush hopes fans see the season-ticket package as fair.
"I think what we have done is produce a fair set of season ticket guidelines and hopefully there will be lots of fans who think we have been fair," he said.
Renewal packs will be sent out to season ticket holders this week.