Following feedback from the sale of the opening two away games of the season against Watford and Liverpool, Brighton & Hove Albion have agreed to trial a new process for the sale of away games this coming season.
The club fully understands that everyone has individual seating preferences and would like to choose where to sit at away matches, but this is not always possible.
These changes are being made to ensure supporters enjoy their away trips as much as possible. This system will be trialled to see how it works for supporters – and also for the club.
Fans are advised that the club may need to revise and change elements of the new system where required, but we will always aim to meet our supporters’ needs and maximise efficiency for the club.
It is hoped that this new system helps to address a number of issues that the club faces, which are listed below:
- The club faces the issue of needing to go on sale earlier for away games compared to last year, around six weeks before the fixture is due to take place. This is due to the fact that the club must commit to its allocation with an away club a minimum of four weeks prior to the game, and demand must be gauged.
- Going on sale earlier means we have to try to get information from the away clubs earlier. This isn’t always possible, as not all clubs are able to commit to providing us with seating maps or pricing. Where clubs have a lot of different allocation options for away fans, they often don’t provide a visual representation of the different options and instead just provide this when we commit to the allocation we wish to take.
- The club must ensure that the sufficient demand has been gauged before committing to any allocation, as unsold tickets must be paid for.
- Although the supporters want as much choice and flexibility as possible, the club also has a responsibility to comply with the league’s regulations, and not to waste money by committing to ticket allocations we can’t sell.
The changes are listed below:
1. Games where the club is 100% confident of selling out the full allocation and have been given the seating maps from the away club (e.g. Arsenal, Crystal Palace):
The full allocation will be listed online from the start, allowing supporters visibility of the seating map to pick their seat. The map we draw is our best interpretation and can’t be 100% relied upon. Also, if we are left with single seats, we reserve the right to move supporters around at our discretion to maximise the allocation we have taken. So fans are asked not to leave single seats.
2. Games where we are not sure we will sell all 3,000 tickets, but have been given the seating maps of the different allocation options (and those seating options are in the same area, regardless of the allocation we take):
Here we will put the first allocation on sale at the start, allowing supporters visibility of the seating map to pick their seat. We must stress that the first seats we have to sell may not be the best seats, but as we do not know how many we will sell, we must sell in priority order determined by the home club. Please also note that once a seat has been selected, we will not be able to move supporters at a later date if another block is released or better seats become available. If supporters do not like the option of the first seating block made available they may choose to wait until the next block opens, but there is no guarantee this will happen if the demand is not there. Again, the map we draw is our best interpretation and can’t be 100% relied upon. Once again, if we are left with single seats, we reserve the right to move supporters around at our discretion to maximise the allocation we have taken. So, again, we ask fans not to leave singles!
3.Games where we are not given the seating maps or the area allocated varies depending on the allocation we are given:
Request near front
Request near middle
Request near back
Request easy access seats
Request near aisle seats
The easy access and aisle seats will be very limited in number and a priority number of easy access seats will be held for ambulant disabled fans who have registered their disability with the club. Once we know the allocation we are committing to, we will move supporters in priority order (earliest bookers first) in to the seating plan trying to match the request made. Those that book earliest will be put in the seats closest to their request first and supporters are advised to pick the requested block that closest meets their needs. Please note, if we receive 500 requests for ‘near front’ this may result in us allocating supporters up to row 15 or 20 of the block, with the first booker being in the front row.
We are aware there are no perfect solutions when we are not taking the full away allocation, in the case of option 2 where we release block by block the first allocation is not always the best, or the end of the first allocation is not always better than that of the second allocation, but we are trying to be as fair and transparent as we can be when we do not know what allocation we will end up taking.
In summary, whilst the club recognises that no system is perfect, a lot of thought and discussion has gone into the new system and believe this represents a better and fairer system for fans.