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Research reveals price is the pain point for UK rugby fans

A recently commissioned survey by Advanced Ticketing has revealed that price is the single most important factor for fans when buying a ticket for a rugby match in the UK. 91% of respondents stated that cost was the main consideration when purchasing a ticket with only 1% choosing a ticket agency as their preferred method of buying a ticket to a rugby event.

The sports fan research was carried out by Goodform’s research arm, Sportswise. Other key findings revealed that informed fans prefer to take control of their purchases and buy through a website, with 74% of respondents choosing to book their tickets online as the method they like the most. Fans also demonstrated their determination to seek out value for money, with 82% admitting to searching for tickets with no booking fee.

Mark Dewell, Managing Director, Advanced Ticketing, said:

We are not surprised to see that ticket price continues to be the number one priority for fans. Customers want value for money and are becoming increasingly smart at avoiding excessive booking fees. Managing ticketing sales in-house gives control over ticketing fees to the clubs. A representative sample of our rugby clubs that charge transaction fees shows they come in at under 6%. This compares to some ticket agency fees of 10% for national games and as much as 20% for international games. This demonstrates the clubs’ commitment to fair ticket pricing for fans.

With 74% of fans preferring to buy their tickets online, rugby clubs can also benefit from capturing data about their fans. The commercial value of this data can be unlocked by developing personalised marketing and loyalty schemes to fill stadiums on every match day.

Chris Rose, Head of Brand, Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, said of the report:

We have worked hard to profile our fans and engage with them closely; they see themselves as a family and our view is that is the way that clubs should treat supporters. We have introduced direct debits as a fair way of charging fans for tickets – there’s no transaction fee and it helps spread the cost over the year. We make sure that our tickets are good value for money and run forums and surveys throughout the year to get as much feedback as possible. Responding to that feedback is key for any club to drive attendance and increase spend from the fans that attend.

Levi Harris, Membership Manager, Harlequins Rugby Club, added:

Data drives our decision making and the recent introduction of an access control system at The Stoop has deepened our understanding of our supporters even more. Where previously we only knew the number of members attending a match, we now know exactly which individuals have attended. When combined with our existing supporter segmentation, it will enable us to offer tailored products and services which have real value to supporters and allow us to reward their loyalty to the club, such as offering members the chance to sell their seat for matches they cannot attend.

Tom Ryder, Head of Commercial Development, Worcester Warriors Rugby Club (pictured), said:

By better utilising fan data, we are trying to more accurately target geographical areas where we are more likely to engage with new supporters. In addition to new supporters, by better understanding our current customers buying habits, we can produce personalised and targeted offers suiting their preferences. Supporters are being ever challenged by time so by delivering the right message, with the right offer, for the right match, we improve chances of sharing experiences with them.

Further findings from the research highlighted:

  • 59% of respondents buying tickets for rugby matches would be interested in accommodation packages/offers
  • 86% of respondents interested in rugby events stated the best way for clubs to stay in touch with them was via email
  • 66% of respondents interested in rugby events stated they would be interested in travel and accommodation options for friends and family