What a rip-off

Major rip off? Great risk? Robbing supporters of their hard earned cash? Unfair? Ridiculous? Day-light robbery? These are just some of the words and phrases that have dominated debates this week after Township Rollers revealed ticket prices for their upcoming CAF Champions League 2nd Leg clash with Kaizer Chiefs. This has been the hottest topic this week, and even ‘stay home’ football followers, have been amongst the most vocal.

The somewhat inflated tickets prices caught many by surprise. I wasn’t too surprised myself. The prices are a bit steep and it is a fact that they might keep away some supporters. As for it being a major day light robbery is debatable and a matter of opinion. Some feel the prices are justified, while many more feel they are not. As much as we can complain about the ticket prices, we have to acknowledge that there are costs to be covered; and the team needs to cover costs and make a bit of money on top.

Competing in CAF games is quite expensive, especially when you don’t have major sponsors for the competition. This might have been one of the reasons that influenced the pricing. Well, one can say; are we now as supporters made to suffer because the team failed to secure sponsors? Township Rollers also wants to make a bit of money from the encounter, and whether they are going about it the wrong or right way is another topic for another day, but they have found it fit to price this way. They have taken a risk with their pricing and it might bear fruit or it might come back to bite them. Many are saying it will back fire as many people will be kept away from the game by the ticket prices. We will see.

Most of the tickets, probably 75% of the tickets, will be sold for P100 and P75 and those who want to see the game will surely have to make sacrifices and part with that. The prices are not too friendly to an average Motswana football follower who is used to paying not more than P40 for games. Those who really want to attend will have to dig deeper into their pockets. The P500 tickets, which are way beyond most of us, have apparently been bought by Corporates and we got no business making noise about those. Choices and sacrifices will have to be made. 

Well, some argue that lower prices would attract more people; hence more money for Township Rollers, but that is no guarantee. I remember the BFA was ‘forced’ to reduce ticket prices for Zebras games based on the same argument, but there were no significant increases in attendances. So there is no guarantee of that.  

I have always said and I maintain that avid Township Rollers supporters will buy anything and everything as long as it is branded Township Rollers. Chances are that every 3rd person you see wearing a local team replica jersey will be wearing Township Rollers regalia, and in most cases they have atleast 2. They don’t come cheap. One can say, surely if they can afford P400 replicas, then they can afford P100 or P75 to watch their team play Kaizer Chiefs. As much as they will complain about the fees, they won’t cry much as they will be getting money into their team coffers.  The money is even more of a burden to neutrals who will feel even more robbed.

As much as we can whine and complain about the fees, they won’t change. At the end of the day, we will all have to make choices. It’s disappointing to hear someone say they can’t pay P100 to watch a football, and that they would rather buy a case of beer and watch the game on television. It might make sense to some, but to me it doesn’t. Then it’s not a case of the ticket prices being too hefty but a question of priorities. Each one of us will have to make a decision whether to part with P200, P100 or P75 or we use that money for something else that they feel more worthwhile.

The ticket prices have been set, and it is now on us the customers to make a decision; no amount of whining will change anything. As much as I feel they are too much, I appreciate where they are coming from. I might not agree with their reasoning for the prices and shout all I want; fac6t of the matter is that I have to make a decision. Obviously those who feel it is worth it will buy tickets and attend, and those who feel robbed will most likely stay home, use their money on something else and watch on television. 

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