Bramley-Moore demand and how to grow it further

The second piece supporting the case for a 60,000 capacity at the Blues' new stadium

Paul The Esk 07/01/2019 63comments  |  Jump to last

When I have put the case for a higher capacity stadium one of the first objections put forward are on the grounds that “thousands of empty seats will destroy atmosphere”. Firstly I hope to demonstrate that there would not be “thousands of empty seats” but I also think there’s a more interesting point to make:

Following that logic through to its natural conclusion one would imagine then that given most Premier League stadia operate at or near capacity, particularly Goodison, then match day atmospheres should be at least as great as they ever have been, for example, like the 70’s and 80’s when many grounds, Goodison included, had average attendances around 60% of the then capacity.

That is clearly not the case, so I find the linkage between capacity attendances and atmosphere a confusing one, and not based on current precedent. With the greatest of respect to those that offer such views I’d suggest there’s many more pertinent factors that have a greater effect on atmosphere than the levels of stadium utilisation (closeness to capacity).

Fear of not maximising the opportunity – the opportunity cost

There is of course, the argument that empty seats represent money poorly spent, a wasted resource. I’d like to flip the argument on its head and say that week in week out capacity attendances in a smaller stadium would represent a much greater loss, the loss of potentially higher ticket revenues and of course ancillary revenues from food & beverage and other merchandising sales. The current capacity and facility constraints at Goodison represent this point entirely.

Empty seats represent (in the absence of unusual circumstances such as very bad weather), in my view, a failure to stimulate demand in line with capacity either through the product, pricing or marketing of the club. However, all three of those causes (even the performance of the team as a contributory factor) are more easily rectifiable than trying to solve the problem of capacity being smaller than demand.

Thus, as stated in my previous article, the proposal to go with a smaller capacity represents a greater risk to the club in the long term than a bolder, higher (but still achievable) initial capacity.

But this article is about demand, so let’s present the case that supports demand to fill a 60,000 seat stadium rather than a 52,000 capacity as currently proposed.

Firstly some general observations.

The Halo effect. Since 1988, 32 Football League & Premier League clubs have moved to a new ground (33 when Spurs move). If one compares the average attendances 5 years prior to the move versus 5 years after, average attendances increased by 62% across all the ground movers.

The Premier League is a booming industry. The first season (1992/93) of the Premier League saw 9,763,140 fans attend at an average of 21,132 per game. By season 1998/99 the total attendance at Premier League games had grown to 11,623,133 (average 30,587). The last complete season (2017/18) saw growth by more than 25% to 14,552,748 (average 38,296) with almost all clubs having stadium utilisation well into the high 90%’s. From an academic perspective, utilisation (capacity) greater than 95% is considered to be a constraint on demand (ref: Buraimo and Simmons, 2006).

If we look at Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs their average combined attendances have increased by 58% in the last 20 seasons.

Everton, the only ever present in the Premier League alongside 5 of the “big 6” and constrained by the size of Goodison Park has grown its average attendance from 36,203 to 38,797 (an increase of just 7 %).

Historically Everton have been a massively supported club, featuring in the top three average season attendances no less than 42 times. Only Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have appeared more.

So the background is encouraging.

How have other clubs grown their attendances?

Largely through providing bigger stadia (to satisfy demand – latent or created) and creating distinct product offerings across different categories of supporters. There has not been a huge amount of innovation to generate the additional demand, for most clubs there is an element of order taking rather than enormous sales and marketing effort.

There’s essentially three different categories of supporters (albeit with many sub sets within the three groups); Premium and hospitality spectators, season ticket holders, walk up (ad hoc) ticket purchasers.

The London based clubs plus Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have made considerable investments in premium and hospitality seating, recognising the real revenue generation opportunities and the likelihood of selling capacity from this category. All have more than 10% of their capacities allocated to premium seating, Liverpool at 14%, Spurs at 12% and should Chelsea eventually go forward with their plans, a projected 28% of seating allocated to this most cash generative source. (For those that think the Chelsea stadium project is dead, Chelsea are yet to release from employment any of their stadium development people.)

Goodison currently has around 3.5% premium seating, and based on the proposed capacity of 52,000, 4,000 premium seats would represent 7.7% of capacity. I fail to see how a brand new, iconic ground on the banks of the Mersey should anticipate only selling half the amount Liverpool sell for each game.

Depending upon the business model season tickets form a significant part of the overall attendance (in the case of Everton) or just partly accommodate demand for regular tickets in the knowledge that non-season ticket holders will buy individual tickets at greater expense to themselves, thus being a pure revenue generating exercise.

Most major clubs have season ticket waiting lists, itself a reflection of how popular the game of football is, and the continued demand to watch regular Premier League football from the same seat, surrounded by known faces (family, friends or acquaintances) in a familiar (and chosen) part of the ground.

Despite offering a considerable number of obstructed view season tickets, Everton have both a record number of season ticket holders plus a record number on the waiting list (circa 10,000).

I suspect the offer of a season ticket in a brand new stadium with perfect sight lines and unobstructed views would enormously increase demand. West Ham, in a monstrosity of a stadium, added more than 25,000 to their season ticket numbers on their move to the former Olympic stadium. That’s with a club who in behavioural terms has done almost everything it can do to distance itself and damage its relationship with its own fan base.

Increasing demand

Many of the contributory factors as to why there’s an upsurge in new season ticket holders in a new stadium are often overlooked. Just think how the current arrangements at Goodison suppress demand? Going to a football match is largely a social event. Fans tend to go in groups be they family, friends or even work colleagues. Over time those groups are likely to expand (particularly those with young families, or young adults having higher disposable incomes). There’s currently no scope for that to happen at Goodison. Not only are season tickets restrained by the capacity limit, season ticket renewals are at record levels. In effect a complete log jam. I suspect also that those tickets not renewed will offer the worst of the views and facilities Goodison has to offer. Therefore, from my perspective current season ticket levels and waiting list size do not reflect the likely demand for Bramley-Moore. With a 52,000 seat capacity we would likely have a limit of less than 42,000 season tickets.

Assuming 4,000 executive/premium seats, that would leave the same number of walk up ticket availability at Bramley-Moore as is currently available at Goodison, circa 2,500. Surely even the most cautious or least optimistic supporter would recognise we will sell many, many more individual match tickets than we currently do at Goodison. Meanwhile, over at Anfield, nearly 18,000 non season ticket, non premium seats are sold to their “home” support every match.

Modern approach to selling and pricing tickets

A match ticket is ultimately proof of the right of entry to a given match on a given day. Compared to other industries with identical issues of fixed capacity and time limited product, many sports, the entertainment industry, and much of the travel industry, the approach to selling and pricing tickets in football is archaic.

Season ticket holders have grown used to the idea that maximum savings are achieved by paying for your ticket a considerable time in advance, or having more favourable direct debit terms for those wishing to spread the cost.

Why do the same principles not apply to “walk up” purchases?

Why is it not possible to sell groups of matches offering “x” regular games alongside guaranteed access to the most desirable games?

There are many markets totally untapped, including group tickets (for example) allowing families or friend groups to pool together, allowing different individuals to attend seamlessly on the same ticket or account.

Larger attendances lead to greater “ancillary” revenues

One of the strongest correlations in football is the link between attendances and revenues generated from merchandising and food and beverage sales. However little work seems to have been done in creating merchandising deals for match goers. Why can’t merchandising offers be used as an incentive to attend the match? So for example, in the event that ticket sales look slow for a particular game why not offer merchandising or special food and beverage deals as an incentive to attend?

The need for the highest possible capacity

I have written comprehensively on this topic including the case for 60,000. It’s impossible in a 1500 word article to go into detail on all that could be done to ensure capacity attendances in a 60,000 seat stadium.

However the evidence is clearly there that this is achievable, and similar increases in demand for tickets have been achieved elsewhere. It’s also undeniable that the club has not needed to use modern marketing and demand creating techniques to fill Goodison. The proper implementation of such strategies would add another layer of certainty to filling a 60,000 seat Bramley-Moore.

The financial benefits to the club given the funding model are clear too. This is not a vanity exercise. It’s a reasoned argument for making the club as big as it possibly can be, generating income to benefit the work of the Director of Football and manager of the day. It’s also about helping close the gap between ourselves and the clubs above us. It’s about moving to a new stadium and maintaining affordability whilst increasing income to the benefit of the footballing side.

The case is clear, and we should keep pushing for the highest possible capacity.

Reader Comments (63)

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Neil Wood
1 Posted 07/01/2019 at 09:14:23
Fantastic, explanatory and well reasoned article . makes me understand it more and appreciate what CAN be done.

Geoffrey Williams
2 Posted 07/01/2019 at 09:34:55
If a stadium is sold out for every game then I'd say the capacity of the stadium is too low.
Michael Lynch
3 Posted 07/01/2019 at 09:53:33
Paul, apologies as I've only read the first paragraph but rather than reading the whole thing and commenting on a number of points, can I just say that your opening gambit of saying the atmsophere is worse than it used to be, yet we have less empty seats than we used to, therefore the bad atmosphere cannot be as a result of the number of empty seats is a classic case of confusing correlation with causation.
Joe McMahon
4 Posted 07/01/2019 at 10:05:25
Maybe the atmosphere is not great as we have gone nearly 25 years without winning anything and the football has been mostly dire to watch.

We have also seen Spurs overtake us with swagger and reds probably winning the title this year.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 07/01/2019 at 10:31:31
I think it’s the style of football Joe, that has changed the atmosphere at Goodison.

It’s what I would describe as a supposedly more patient style, less cut and thrust, less in the oppositions face, and mostly less engaging for the spectators?

It seems to be played by most teams now, with the real exception, being over the park, where the crowd seems to have woke up again, after years of people saying the Anfield crowd was a myth?

Back to the thread, and Paul, seems to have done a lot more research than me, because I personally wouldn’t go over 55,000, but what do I know?

I’m aware Liverpool is growing, I’m aware Everton will always have the potential to become massive again, but 55,000 just seems a great number to me.

James Ebden
6 Posted 07/01/2019 at 11:31:26
This guy is deluded and his arguments are flawed.

A 60k capacity stadium will put far more financial pressure on us than we will recover from the extra seat revenue. West Ham being the perfect case – they struggle to fill their stadium and reduce walk-up tickets to £5 in order to tempt people. Our stadium would operate at a loss if we had to discount tickets like that, as we don't have the cheap lease West Ham do.

As for corporate capacity being lower than Liverpool, well yeah. If you worked for a large company wanting to impress overseas clients etc, would you take them to see Liverpool play exciting football, possibly in a Champions League game, or would you take them to see Everton v Brighton on a chilly Monday? Hard choice isn't it.

And walk up capacity is the same scenario. If we build the new stadium and accommodate the 10k waiting list for season tickets, guaranteed a large chunk of that 10k are the current walk-up sales! And again, if you were visiting Liverpool for a long weekend break from Germany, USA or London, and wanted to see a game as a neutral, would you choose Liverpool or Everton?

This guy lives in the clouds!

Daniel A Johnson
7 Posted 07/01/2019 at 11:36:47
52,000 will be fine.

Juventus are in a 40,000 stadium and its not holding them and Ronaldo back is it?

For me the key thing is the quality/design of the stadium not the capacity.

Joe McMahon
8 Posted 07/01/2019 at 11:49:47
James@6, you forget, Everton are "the people's club".

I personally think 55 will be all we ever need. We will never be the reds, as you say correctly.

John Raftery
9 Posted 07/01/2019 at 11:55:06
Empty seats are more obvious to TV audiences and to people inside the ground than half empty terraces were. I remember standing in the Gwladys Street at games in the early eighties when crowds of 13,000 generated more atmosphere than a modern day sellout crowd of 39,000. Nevertheless the atmosphere was better when the ground was sold out for a derby game or a big cup tie, games at which fans of both teams were fully engaged.

The point is that it is fans who create atmosphere but empty seats undoubtedly have a negative effect. Empty seats indicate a lack of interest which is a negative not only for the atmosphere but also for the look and feel of the game for TV and sponsors. One of the many reasons for the decline of the FA Cup is that games are often played at half empty stadia. An example yesterday was at Bramall Lane where whole stands appeared deserted. Some clubs abroad, such as Sporting in Lisbon, opted to use a multitude of different coloured seats to mask below capacity attendances for most of their fixtures

Around a year ago I was very much in favour a 60,000 stadium because I believed with better facilities, sight lines, ease of access and a successful team we could fill it. Paul has described the ways and means by which the club could generate the increase in demand required. The word ‘could’ is however different to the word ‘would’. There can be no certainty in any of this. As soon as the perception develops that it is easy to buy a ticket for a decent seat on a ‘walk up’ basis the risk is that demand for season tickets will reduce. The club will then be in a vicious circle of having more tickets available in the walk up category and ‘hard to sell’ games become even harder to sell.

So now I am in the ‘open to persuasion’ camp. The club has yet fully to set out the evidence in support of the 52,000 figure. It would be interesting to hear their arguments in favour of 52,000 as opposed to 55,000 or 60,000.

Paul Birmingham
10 Posted 07/01/2019 at 12:10:07
For me the gravitas of this BMD new EFC stadium plan is immense for the future, of the club and supporters.

Using history and Kings Dock stadium plan, the years have flown by and generally EFC has been in slumberland in terms of building plans to take the club forward to the future.

Our greatest chance to move forward and build for the future. I hope the plans get approved for a 58-60k stadium, as to go with 52k, plus 8-10% of capacity for away fans, the potential to attract the up and coming and foreign visitors will be less and my main point is the cost to upgrade/ rebuild the stadium economically to add another 10k.

Surely it’s cheaper to build an optimum capacity and keep the costs down?

60k would enable the club to host concerts etc and other revenue generating events, but all considered is their some caveat for the echo arenas, venue potential, that’s unwritten?

Until plans are approved I’m cautiously optimistic, but paramount priority is for success on the park.

I hope the 4th round draw is kind tonight to EFC.

Daniel A Johnson
11 Posted 07/01/2019 at 12:43:53
I'm happy with 52,000 but I also think that those clamouring for 60,000 would be appeased if the club at least revealed the design of the stadium. Its always far easier to get your head around something when you can visualise it.

The best stadium doesn't have to be the biggest. Some of the NFL stadia vary dramatically in terms of capacity and design but they are all awesome in their own right.

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 07/01/2019 at 14:49:25
I would never want to be the reds, Joe, but if history repeats itself, we could get just as much support as them (probably more?) but it would obviously take some time.

They are massive when it comes to day-trippers, or a weekend away for the foreigners, but you only have to go back to Benitez, before he won the Champions League, or Hodgson getting the sack because only 35,000 turned up for a fixture on New Year's Day, to see that a lot of modern fans, mostly follow the excitement, which they hope will eventually lead to glory?

Nearly 18,000, tickets are sold every matchday at Anfield, says The Esk? I have to agree with John @9, and say Everton, might end up creating a vicious circle for themselves if they had more of this type of ticket.

John Hammond
13 Posted 07/01/2019 at 15:25:04
Good article, Paul, really helpful in getting an understanding into what can be done. My mind changes all the time as to my preferred capacity. Just really hope what we go for is the correct decision.

James #6: Nice of you to simply disagree and not throw insults around. Clearly your arguments are not flawed in any way whatsoever. We'll have a brand new, iconic riverside stadium so why not take clients to a game when Man Utd, Man City or Arsenal are playing in this beautiful stadium rather than Brighton on a chilly Monday? By the time the stadium is built, who knows what kind of football we'll be playing or what competitions we'll be in? You're comparing the here and now but things may well be a lot different in 3/4 years time.

Bill Watson
15 Posted 07/01/2019 at 17:45:52
I happen to agree with Paul that we should go for the higher end but if I disagreed I would try to base that on a reasoned argument rather than start by throwing unwarranted insults around. Citing the example of Brighton on a cold Monday night is ridiculous as is comparing Everton with West Ham as their fan base has always been lower and they have a stadium that wasn't built for football.

If the club goes for the lower end it will show a complete lack of ambition and begs the question of why are they bothering, at all, as Goodison could easily be redeveloped to this figure for a damn sight less expenditure.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 07/01/2019 at 18:13:00
Interesting point Bill, unless the new ground, is part of a much bigger plan for the real money men, perhaps?
Paul [The Esk]
17 Posted 07/01/2019 at 18:23:42
#1 Thank,s Neil, much appreciated

#3 Thanks, Michael, as I'm sure you are aware the point I am making is it is eminently possible to have a good atmosphere in a less than full stadium. However as I have explained at length, there should really be no excuse for less than capacity, certainly for almost all Premier League games if the product, marketing and pricing is correct.

#6 James, what can I say?

Thanks for all the other contributions. I understand many have different views, but I think there's value in having a wide range of views expressed - the club reads these pages, so, in my opinion, the more input from fans the better.

Look forward to more views being expressed, thanks for reading, always grateful for your time in doing so.

Dennis Stevens
18 Posted 07/01/2019 at 18:35:59
To my mind, the Club are only going to do this once & so they should seek to maximise the utilisation of the site. Get as many people in as the site can handle & provide facilities that will encourage people to arrive early & loiter after the final whistle, all the while spending their hard earned inside the Stadium instead of outside. If the serious argument against this is the ability to afford such a development then it rather begs the question: Why aren't we looking at the much cheaper option of redeveloping Goodison Park instead?
Steve Ferns
19 Posted 07/01/2019 at 18:40:03
Paul, I don’t think we can really get a grip of where we will be. The thing is, I know lots of affluent Everton fans who once had season tickets but now hardly go. They all gave up the season tickets when they moved from being young men to family men and finances dictated it. Now they would go the game but it’s dofficult to get a ticket and when you do you’re stuck behind a post. Who’s canvassing these guys to see if they would return to regular match goers if they could have a decent seat. I know far more people like this, than season ticket holders. Everton have made it hard for the casual fans, by increasing the number of season tickets and it means that there’s less than 4,000 tickets for general sale (if my maths is right).

I think the club was right to increase the number of season ticket holders, don’t get me wrong. I am just making the point that there’s a big number of casual fans who may be lured back by the new ground.

Paul McCoy
20 Posted 07/01/2019 at 18:52:16
That pretty much sums my situation up Steve. I used to go regularly in my teens and early 20's (from Leeds, no less) but had to sack it off due to costs. I can easily afford it again now, but no way am I paying to sit behind a pillar.

Can't wait for the new stadium so that I can get back to going to the game again on a regular basis!

Steve Ferns
21 Posted 07/01/2019 at 18:57:01
Paul, and has the club canvassed you or anyone like you to get your indication of whether you'd go to the new stadium. If the club did, and they have you details on file, then they could get a proper indication on capacity. I think we could fill 60k, but that's only because I am guessing that there's 20k fans who want to go, can afford to, but don't go because they cannot get a decent seat, or it's sold out for the games they'd attend.
Darren Hind
22 Posted 07/01/2019 at 19:17:33
"# 6 James, what can I say?"

Well for a start. Paul, you can counter what he is saying.

You put together a really interesting article. James may have left a foot in, but if you can put that aside, he too has made some valid points.

Don't give us half a debate. I for one would be interested in your response.

Anthony Murphy
23 Posted 07/01/2019 at 19:34:45
Steve 100% bang on. Loads of blues out there will not be on the waiting list (know a few) but will purchase a season ticket for a seat at a brand new stadium. We should be looking at Spurs as an indication at WHL had a similar capacity to Goodison. I haven’t looked it up but would guess that Spurs will have 50k plus season ticket holders. I know it’s London, but I fully believe we will see unprecedented demand once BMD gets the go ahead. Everton fans have waited patiently for a long time for decent facilities and a view without obstruction. There will be a huge demand.

I can’t see the flaw in Paul’s argument personally. A brand new city centre (ish) stadium will no doubt attract corporate match goers. Imagine if the immediate BMD area has a number of good hotels, bars and restaurants - it will absolutely attract your tourist type fan.

Paul [The Esk]
24 Posted 07/01/2019 at 20:14:28
Darren #22 , most of the points I've answered previously in the articles I've written, but I'm happy to answer again:

A 60,000-seat stadium does not put more pressure on us financially assuming the extra capital is provided by shareholders, not debt. As a result of the extra capacity, it provides greater revenue opportunities, increasing the net income available to the club. It should also resolve some of the affordability issues that will arise out of a 52k stadium, and it should allow for a greater premium seat capacity (see below).

West Ham is a totally different scenario – essentially, they have their stadium for almost no cost; it is a terrible environment to play football in and to watch. However, because there is no financial burden arising from the stadium they can give seats away which ultimately can devalue all the other seating.

If we have a positive match going experience to offer, we will never have to discount to the degree they do. Any Blue who has attended a match there will tell you what an awful experience it is.

Regarding premium seating, I have consistently argued for a minimum of 10% of capacity. The premium seating product is a suite of products and work has to be done to create a series of experiences to suit different budgets. This requires senior executives with experience of creating demand and maximising yield. There are countless sporting clubs and other businesses that do this as a matter of course. We just need the right people employed to do it in the future.

Regarding walk up – 10 years ago when we had a smaller number of season ticket holders we regularly sold 7-8,000 walk-up seats for every game – most of which offered the wort views and facilities at a price substantially higher than season ticket holders were paying.

To suggest that we could sell 10k walk-ups in a modern, iconic stadium is far from unrealistic, particularly if ticket selling techniques deployed in the US for example are introduced here. There are so many unused marketing and demand-creating techniques in football stadia that are used in every other capacity constrained, time-sensitive service and product-providing businesses in the UK and elsewhere.

I fear the club has become accustomed to a limited view of what is possible, and to some extent that is mirrored by segments of the fan-base.

We are a professional sports organisation in the most popular club football competition on the planet. We have an incredible history, an amazing story and brand; soon (we hope) to be housed in an incredible stadium.

We are well funded – the only thing that limits us is ourselves – it's time to be aggressive and assertive where we are currently weak and submissive. Others have done it this past 30 years, why can't we?

Darren Hind
25 Posted 07/01/2019 at 22:14:36
Fair enough, Paul.

I must have been to Upton Park 20 odd times, but I must admit I have never been to the London Stadium. I have heard some very bad reports about the place, including on here (I think it was Rob H).

To be honest, when I read James's comment about West Ham letting tickets go for a fFiver, I was shocked and alarm bells started to ring. They're a great club, West Ham, and like us, have a very loyal fan base. So if they are having to virtually give tickets away...?

Having heard both sides, I tend to lean more towards your argument. I know most clubs offer concessions of some kind and think it's good that groups like pensioners and school kids are catered for, but I think you're right: we are offering something very different to West Ham and I don't think we need worry too much about other seating being devalued.

26 Posted 07/01/2019 at 22:36:31
Two, well presented articles, Paul. I agree with keeping prices down for the majority of fans. It is important not to price people out of the game. One thing many people don't consider, not all corporate seats are purchased for entertaining clients. Many people offset the cost of their own tickets against business.

Originally, I was in favour of 61,878; now, I am not so sure. I am leaning towards 55,000 with at least 10% corporate.< Until we see the finished plans, everything is guesswork. Maybe the future 10,000 expansion will be mostly corporate, as with Liverpool. According to the latest green guide, the capacity of the safe standing sections could increase by 50%. The build needs to be future-proofed to take advantage of this.

There's a good possibility that the internet giants will be broadcasting all matches in the next few years for far less than Sky and BT charge. Many people will take advantage of this, especially for the less attractive games.

Christine Foster
27 Posted 07/01/2019 at 22:48:38
Step back and remember guys, an excellent article, but I think we are missing a vital cog in the equation. Moshiri is an accountant, and true to his profession (apologies to fellow blues of that persuasion), he is generally risk-averse... as opposed to an entrepreneur who views risk as a challenge (who brought in big Sam to save his investment?)

Secondly, remember that an iconic, well positioned stadium, always full, on the River, a figurehead of redevelopment... in other words a very attractive financial proposition for any future sale of the club.

I am sure that is in the very forefront of the board's mind, protection of investment, minimisation of outlay, maximise potential – an insurance policy if you like.

So, it's not all about bums on seats, it's selling a sizzle to fans now, and making money in the future... I wonder the value of a fully subscribed stadium in Bramley-Moore Dock and the waterfront of the Mersey in 5 or 10 years time..

Yes, deliver the goods (a stadium) but always leave them wanting for more, add on the potential for expansion and you have the perfect sales pitch. It's called good business.

Paul [The Esk]
28 Posted 07/01/2019 at 22:50:30
Perhaps I should stress I don't believe I have the only solution to Bramley-Moore Dock, I just believe my solution is better than the club's.

Ultimately, we all want the same thing, a successful football team and a great stadium to watch them. All we are talking about is how it is best achieved, but I would say we need maximum ambition, albeit backed by sound logic, research and funding.

Darren Hind
29 Posted 07/01/2019 at 22:59:29
Not so sure, Geoff.

I've been sidelined for most of this season and, although it's great to be able to watch the games via the Internet, 90 minutes on your laptop will never compete with going the match for the day.

I've been logging on to the live forum during the games and most on there would kill to be at the match.

Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 07/01/2019 at 23:07:05
Saturday, 3 o'clock, Darren, no place you'd sooner be, but don't kid yourself everyone is like you though, mate; some people would rather see “The whole of the moon”!
Rob Halligan
31 Posted 07/01/2019 at 23:24:37
Darren, in reply to your post # 25, about the London stadium.

It's got to be one of the worst new stadiums I've ever been too. It was great for what it was built for, the 2012 Olympics, but as a football stadium, it's rubbish. The dug outs, as we still prefer to call them, must be a good 15 - 20 yards from the touchline. As you've also probably seen on tv, the stands are yards away from the pitch.

The away section has an upper and lower tier, but the two tiers are miles apart. There is very little atmosphere and, believe me, we've been in the upper tier and cannot hear the Everton fans in the lower tier.

The London stadium is also miles away from the nearest tube station, and after the match, it must have been a good 30 minutes walk to the tube, only to be met by an enormous queue.

So, as I say, great for the Olympics, but shit as a football stadium.

Rob Halligan
32 Posted 07/01/2019 at 23:26:45
I actually meant the all of the stands are yards away from the pitch
Geoff Cadman
33 Posted 08/01/2019 at 00:39:21
Darren, I too prefer going to the game. I know many people who went for years but now prefer to watch on the Box.

Regarding the Internet, I am talking Amazon Prime and Netflix who, when they start streaming games, you will be able to watch full screen on your TV.

John Keating
34 Posted 08/01/2019 at 15:33:32
Paul, another excellent article and praise for the responses to criticism.

Us lesser mortals are glad we have such free-thinking and thoughtful compatriots as fellow Blues.

Well done. Oh, by the way, I agree with your points!

Geoff Lambert
35 Posted 09/01/2019 at 01:18:34
On the subject of visitors coming to Merseyside and going to watch Liverpool over Everton, can you tell me where they will be getting their tickets from to go and watch the RS? As I have lots of RS friends who still can't get a ticket for the match.

If they can't get a ticket for the RS, they could come to the 60,000 all-seater riverside iconic stadium at Bramley dock. As I am sure we could fill it with Blues fans... Not.

Laurie Hartley
36 Posted 09/01/2019 at 04:09:55
Paul - thanks again for a very good article. On the thread of your previous article I said I would take some convincing that we could fill a 60,000 seater stadium.

As a result of your latest post and the comments of the posters above, I have to say that I am persuaded we could probably get 60k perhaps for 5 or 6 games and 50k plus for the remainder of our home games.

I was going to suggest that 55,000 would be a good compromise but, after the comments at the AGM, I think it is going to be 52,000. It appears to me Moshiri has had the sums done and he has been told and believes this is the best option.

The good news is that it now looks certain to happen which is great news for Evertonians and the City of Liverpool.

We must now look forward to seeing the design which I have a feeling is going to be terrific.

Bernard Dooley
37 Posted 09/01/2019 at 12:28:14
I am a bit late to this particular thread but I am intrigued by Steve Ferns's strong belief that there is huge latent demand waiting to be tapped into. I am in complete agreement. When I have contributed to previous debates on capacity I have tried to make this point but without success.

I am one of those experiencing exactly the problems detailed by Steve and just in my own wider family there are at least four others who can't wait for the new stadium but fear that this issue hasn't been understood, never mind investigated, and therefore may not be able to go to matches unless they purchase a season ticket.

Kevin Prytherch
38 Posted 09/01/2019 at 13:29:43
Bernard & Steve

I agree with your points. There will be many thousands of Evertonians who don't attend many matches but would go a few times a year at a new stadium.

I rarely get to go these days, but would happily make the time and money a few times a year if I could actually see the game. The same goes for my kids (who I've only ever taken to a real game once) and my dad (who says he will never pay £40 to sit in Goodison). My dad was a season ticket holder in the '60s and regularly went up until the '90s. He went to the magic weekend at St James's Park a couple of years ago and said he'd never set foot in Everton until they modernised it, after seeing St James's Park.

As for the comparison of a cold Monday watching Brighton... How about a hot summer's day in the heart of Anfield, or a hot summer's day on the waterfront in the city centre? I know which I'd prefer.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 09/01/2019 at 13:45:45
I agree with your sentiments Kevin, but the North docks, must be the coldest area in the city. So as I've said before, I'm just hoping the new ground has got central heating!

Chris Hockenhull
40 Posted 09/01/2019 at 14:53:45
Tony, I'm reading this in a pub literally 100 yards from St James's Park in Newcastle... Get up here for fucking cold!!!! And it's like this from the opening day of the season till the last!!!
Tony Abrahams
41 Posted 09/01/2019 at 16:12:46
No thanks Chris, it’s cold enough where I am mate!

Coldest ground I’ve been in, is Boro on a Boxing Day, and it’s probably got something to do with it being by the river, but I often go to my mates garage by Bramley Moore, and it’s f.f.ffuckin freezin, during the winter months, and that’s on the other side of great Howard st.

Anyway, according to last nights AGM, it’s not going to be that long before we see some stadium designs, but if I’m still alive, then I will be going to that big “Outdoor shop” on my way to the match!

Tom Hughes
42 Posted 09/01/2019 at 17:13:03
From the AGM, it looks like any uplift to 62k will be via making a proportion of the capacity safe-standing, as opposed to any physical expansion.

Apparently, the club is assuming a 2:1 ratio in those safe-standing areas, i.e 10,000 rail seats convertible to 20,000 standing places (leaving 42k seats). The problem is, if new legislation stipulates just 1.5:1, then suddenly you need 20,000 rail seats to realise 62k capacity (leaving only 32k fulltime seats), or settle for just 57k capacity from having 10k rail seats.

Our problem is that, in relative terms, we charge buttons, and still have only had a waiting list for a couple of seasons. I've had little or no problem forfeiting my usual seats for cup games, and picking up decent seats on general sale in other sections, often almost last minute. Obviously the club have all the data regarding numbers of individual ticket purchasers, supporters clubs, clicks on websites etc going back years. They should have a real handle on our potential in terms of general admission, and have several rules of thumb to help guide them on corporate. This can also be flexible/expandable if sufficient concourse space is provided.

Danny Broderick
43 Posted 10/01/2019 at 09:43:21
I know a few West Ham fans and went to the last game of the season there last year. I was quietly impressed by the stadium, probably because I wasn't expecting much from all the negative reviews I had heard before going.

It's true that it's a bit of a walk to and from the ground. It's also true that the stands are back from the pitch, and the dug outs are far from the pitch also, so it's not a typical football stadium in that respect. I was impressed by the atmosphere though. I was expecting it to be like a library, and the West Ham fans made a fair racket throughout.

One thing I remember a West Ham fan telling me is that, when they moved there, they hadn't defined which area would be the family enclosure etc. They were just trying to sell as many season tickets as possible in a ‘pack them high, sell them cheap' fashion. This meant you had fans who wanted to sing and shout mixed in with fans who didn't want to sing and shout, some people effing and blinding mixed in with families with kids etc. Before long, the fans were all arguing with each other – there were fights in the stands between West Ham fans themselves!

I hope the club bear this in mind when we move. I understand we are going to have a big home end, similar to Dortmund's yellow wall. That will effectively be the Gwladys Street. It's important we still have a main stand and a family enclosure when we move, as well as corporate, to cater for everyone.

David Pearl
44 Posted 10/01/2019 at 12:34:38
Paul, I think your article makes a lot of sense.

I don't know why we'd build at one capacity only to occur further costs when we expand, which we plan to do. Obviously they have done their homework and see for themselves an argument for 62,000. Mr Moshiri knows best, we hope. He has his success for a reason.

It is a pain getting in and out of Goodison and the pillars don't help. Taking just that into account we'd have more sales. Demand is growing but we also have to keep improving as a team so the product is better on the pitch.

I'm not so sure that using US marketing techniques would work over here, we are very different peoples. A new stadium will generate a lot of interest, and open up a lot of new doors. I can't wait.

Steve Taylor
45 Posted 10/01/2019 at 18:35:30
The never ending story, the only news is always way off. delay after delay.
Karl Masters
46 Posted 12/01/2019 at 02:00:17
A positive article and I agree with just about all the points that Paul makes.

I am definitely one of the group of fans that Steve Ferns mentions. The situation now regarding purchasing tickets as a casual supporter is so bad (ie, only the worst seats at the back available and if I want to take the kids and/or my wife, who are all Evertonians, we have no chance of getting seats together ) that I go straight to Stubhub. Yes, I pay a bit more, but if we are making a 500-mile round trip we want half decent seats.

My children (13 and 7) are from another planet to my generation in many ways. They expect decent facilities and you only have to look at what they do in the school holidays to see that Everton have to ramp up the matchday experience. It's much better at Goodison now, but corporate is too stuffy for them and although they find eating chips and curry sauce in the street a bit of a novelty, that's not actually putting any money in Everton's till.

I think that if the new stadium has decent large family facilities with good seats reasonably near the pitch where you may pay say £5-£10 above the cost of a normal ticket you'd see a massive take up and then families arriving much earlier and eating inside the stadium on weekend games. The revenue opportunities for the Club are enormous. Throw in a shopping mall and my wife would be there at 9 in the morning!

It's also true to say we couldn't realistically get to more than about 6 games a season due to where we live, but I think we would definitely spend a lot more if the facilities were there. A Hotel nearby and we might well stay on for a Saturday night and travel back on the Sunday. Surely the Club are planning an Hotel nearby as well?

Finally, I cast my mind back exactly 25 years and a letter I wrote to then Club Secretary, Jim Greenwood. The new Park End was about to be built. After 3 years earlier showing us plans for a 10,000 seat 2-tier stand, the Club were now going to build a 6,000 seat single tier stand. I argued that not only would this not look in keeping with the other multi-tiered stands, a 40,000 capacity would be insufficient.

Mr Greenwood sent a frankly dismissive reply (which I still have) stating that as far as the Board were concerned 40,000 was ‘more than adequate now and for the foreseeable future'. How wrong he was as within 3 years our average crowd had risen to 37,000 from 22,000 when he wrote that reply. It hasn't changed much since because it can't, but now there are so many season ticket holders the fans of the future are being pushed away,

It's that sort of ultra-conservative thinking that has held the Club back since the 1970s. I believe 60,000 is about right, 52,000 will soon be insufficient. It would be another generation or owner that expanded it — if ever. Now is the chance. For God's sake, Build it and they will come. It's about the future, not just the here and now.

Jimmy Salt
47 Posted 12/01/2019 at 14:19:26
West Ham still breaking records for their new stadium attendances. Up to 60,000 now...
Tom Hughes
48 Posted 12/01/2019 at 21:54:06
West Ham got the stadium for nothing and, as a consequence, are charging peanuts. They aim to soak up all of London's massive floating vote. They couldn't do that if they'd paid £500m to build it.
Karl Masters
49 Posted 13/01/2019 at 01:24:53
They only sell for peanuts for cup ties, Tom, like last week. Trust me, I work with a West Ham nut and I feel I know more about the goings on at that club than Everton sometimes!

They are a shambles off the pitch but they are still selling out and charge £60-£80 for the really big games.

Sure a return on the investment has to come, but over what period of time? It's not a race. What's important is building a fanbase for the long term when us ‘more experienced' fans have departed. Blocking attendance of the younger generation who will be squeezed out by high prices and lack of seats is not a good idea.

Mike Galley
50 Posted 13/01/2019 at 01:51:57
Hope you all don't mind me getting involved in this discussion. I've sat in the same seat in the top balcony for about 20 years and it's a great seat, on the halfway line and no restricted views.

I mention this because, on the odd occasion I can't make the game (work etc), my Dad or my younger brother use my ticket. And both have said they will never pay full price for a ticket to sit behind a post ever again.

I'm wondering how many fans do we have with this attitude? I accept the number could be quite small, but I've a feeling it could be more than we think.

Anyway, I'll put my cards on the table and say my preference is in the 57/58 thousand range. Don't worry about the RS giving us stick if we have empty seats – the amount of inbreeding that has gone into their fanbase has negated their ability to make accurate observations about anything.

Andrew Heffernan
51 Posted 13/01/2019 at 05:47:07
Mike Galley – I'm probably in same position as your dad/younger brother and Steve Ferns mentions 'stay aways'.

I live away from the city now but try to time visits 4-5 a year with games. I've found after a couple of bad experiences (posts in the Lower Bullens) that I've just stopped thinking of going.

In the past, I'd check out availability on the website etc; now, with the limited availability due to season ticket sales, I don't even get that far. I don't think I'm alone, plus family members who live locally like yours who just won't pay it anymore.

The capacity should be higher.

Gary Gibson
52 Posted 14/01/2019 at 00:58:43
Excellent piece. Having a couple of thousand empty seats for some of the lesser games is better than missing out on revenue from ticket sales because our ground isn't big enough.

When my kopite mate gleefully told me that our new ground would be smaller than that of Newcastle United, I thought he was pulling my leg at first.

Tom Hughes
53 Posted 14/01/2019 at 17:17:37

I'm sure there are plenty of expensive seats, but I think their gate income only went up about £2m despite their capacity going up by over 50%. Which sounds like there's plenty of cheaper seats too.

Also, one of the national newspapers printed an article showing "actual attendance" figures at all Premier League clubs. I can't remember the exact figures, but I think West Ham's actual attendances were 12k less than the published ones.

I'm not sure what the breakeven income is for a £500m stadium with whatever naming rights and other financial uplifts but I would've thought it was a lot higher than for West Ham's freeby stadium.

David McMullen
54 Posted 14/01/2019 at 21:21:33
I've always been in favour of 60,000 plus. It seems to be the "benchmark". We should not be scared to strive for the upper level in stadium size in the Premier League. We are Everton after all – we are a big club.

There is a fear of empty seats. I'm intrigued on the safe standing. If the club are relying on a 1:2 ratio to take the capacity from 52,000 to 62,000, can the club operate a variable capacity? One end stays seated instead of standing for certain games thus reducing the capacity.

In my only question to Meis in April, I asked about a variable capacity; he said emphatically "No".

Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 14/01/2019 at 21:40:04
Just reading through this thread again, and thinking how much about life is cyclical, especially after reading James @6 and Joe @8.

I read that an Evertonian had a “14 to West Ham” on his shirt yesterday, whilst doing the crossbar challenge, and it dawned on me that Everton always used to have the greater support so let's hope that history can repeat itself in the future, and the Esk might just be ahead of the game!

Paul [The Esk]
56 Posted 14/01/2019 at 22:23:41
Some brilliant contributions to this thread thank you all - #46 was fascinating.

Tom, assuming £350m funding at 5.25% over 25 years (the rate the LCC deal was priced at, although I know Moshiri favours a 40-year deal) and if break even = current Goodison Park revenues plus financing costs, then we need to generate £41m per annum from Bramley-Moore Dock in terms of matchday income (before F&B and merchandising).

That equates to £2m a game (rounding up) as against less than £700k a game currently from Goodison Park.

At 52k capacity (a 30% increase), even after taking into account much higher premium seating revenues, the price of a season ticket or "walk-up" ticket has to increase hugely to generate that revenue.

To date, the club haven't challenged that assumption publicly or privately.

Tom Hughes
57 Posted 15/01/2019 at 22:09:33
I think the caveat they're banking on is safe standing elevating that capacity to 62k for no further costs. But that will be reliant on at least a 1.8:1 ratio for the standing sections. How does that affect your figures?

I read somewhere that West ham only added a few percent to their matchday income, despite a 50% capacity increase. Could we suffer similarly given our respective fanbases etc?

Anthony Murphy
58 Posted 15/01/2019 at 22:39:53
Does anyone actually think we will ever see capacity extended beyond 52k? I think it's just a line they have added to the proposal - not really thought through and appeases fans in the short term.

Like it or not, we need to appeal to the corporate ‘tourist' match goer. I, like many others, just roll up, take my seat, and get off after the whistle.

We need to see fans attending who are there well before and after if that matchday revenue is so important. Local fans are unlikely to change their habits too much so we need to tap into the lucrative tourist market.

John Pierce
59 Posted 15/01/2019 at 23:54:28
Anthony, the way I read or understand it the additional capacity is predicated on a safe standing allocation.

Part of the ground, will have a section of 10,000 seats, with the safety conversion rate at 2 standees for one seat. That gives you your extra capacity as and when you need it. That might have changed to 1.5 for one seat though, maybe I read somewhere!

So 52,000 for your regular games with the expanded capacity for the premium ones. Gets you up to 62,000.

Whilst safe standing has not been ratified, the club I think has worked out it will be. Having the ground adaptable seem a smart move.

I've no idea how the season ticketing will work but I imagine you will be told up-front and certain categories of people will not be able to obtain a safe standing seat; normally predicated on height rather that demographic.

But I'm really putting forward my best guess!!!

Karl Masters
60 Posted 17/01/2019 at 00:45:07
Safe standing – does that add to the capacity at all?

From what I have seen all that happens is that your seat folds up behind you, but a rail rises up in front of you to stop you falling forward and any type of crush happening. So the floor space hasn't really changed, just moved backwards.

I can't see how you would get anything like twice as many people into that space. It would be too cramped. I'd be amazed if it added any more than 20% capacity to a stand. I wouldn't be surprised if the ratio was 1:1, ie, no increase at all.

I think this may be a total red herring.

From the outline design plans we saw a while back, it seems that one end of the stadium will have a stand far lower than the opposite end and a big screen hanging from the roof to effectively mask the big gap under the roof. This is where I believe they would expand, if ever, and take down the screen to facilitate that. Problems would be building outwards and it might require some skilled girder designs to effectively rise above a concourse and perhaps even be over water at the furthest point.

Tom Hughes
61 Posted 17/01/2019 at 13:39:55
Historically, a seated space could accommodate up to 3 standing spaces. Safe-standing rail seating is supposed to accommodate up to 2 people per seat if designed properly. In Germany, it has a higher ratio in some stadiums.

In the UK trials, only 1:1 has been allowed at Celtic, but new legislation may change that.

Geoff Cadman
62 Posted 17/01/2019 at 14:57:07
There seems to be a lot of confusion over safe standing capacities. Regarding the initial 52,000 capacity, if it is still planned to build only one continuous tier, with the longer axis across the Dock (215 metres). Then the site is too small for anything bigger.

One other point on the survey last month regarding traveling to and from Goodison, the club seemed very keen on Fan Zone attendance. One of the pros by Dan Meis for building across the dock was a much larger Fan Zone area. It looks like the Club are hoping to raise a lot more revenue this way.

Tricia Wood
63 Posted 23/01/2019 at 19:52:05
Let's have some blue-sky thinking here, as marketing people say. We are all growing tired of being seen as second-best to that crowd across the park. How many times over the past half-century have l said to outsiders, "We are the first and true football team in Liverpool"?

The Bramley-Moore Dock project is our golden opportunity to be recognised as top flight. I am all for a 60,000 plus stadium, a new Merseyrail stop close by and, whilst we are about, it a marina so that our Everton Irish cousins can sail down the Mersey and hop off their yachts close to Bramley-Moore Dock.

Might even consider having a ferry stop for Wirral and North Wales Blues. It's better than catching the 14 bus to Anfield.

Alan McGuffog
64 Posted 26/01/2019 at 19:37:00
Well, having watched that gutless, clueless, passionless shower of shite lose today, I feel we should revise down to say 42,000. Can anyone truly see 60k people paying to watch this shite week-in & week-out?

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