Aston Villa Season Ticket Waiting List Situation and the Big Picture

Aston Villa Season Ticket Waiting List

Aston Villa used to be a very convenient club to support. Over the last few decades, it’s never been too much hassle to obtain a match ticket. Even when Villa were chasing the League title in 1980/81, 1989/90 or 1992/93, you could pretty much pick up a ticket on the day of the game and push yourself through the turnstile. For the out of town fan, it was perfect, no worrying about ticket availability – just turn up and in you go.

Even in more recent years, when the likes of Arsenal and Spurs started to amass season ticket waiting lists, with a bit of planning, most Villa fans could get to key games. A handful of games in the bank could still even get you a ticket to see Villa at Wembley on several occasions too.

That open access started to change though in the first season back in the Premier League, after three seasons in the Championship, when Villa suddenly gained 30,000 season ticket holders. If you didn’t have a season ticket, getting a ticket for the Wembley League Cup final against Manchester City that season became a difficult task.

That final was a sign that the latest owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris had finally cracked the equation of translating the club being in the country’s second city into bums on seats. The potential had always been there, but to have the demand to the extent of a waiting list had proved elusive for even the most ambitious of Villa owners.

In their favour, the latest owners have benefited from the maturing hype machine of social media that now has some Villa fans obsessing over the club 24/7 and a once in a generation David Beckham-like poster boy in Jack Grealish.

The club certainly realises it is in unprecedented times, as the notes from the last Villa Fan Consultation Group meeting suggested:

‘We are moving into new territory as a club with the highest demand for tickets we have ever experienced in our history.  This will bring many new challenges, such as someone purchasing a season ticket and not using it, passing it on to someone else to use, or fan circumstances (University for example) resulting in someone losing their seat and then having to wait years to be a season ticket holder again.’

2021/22 Season

The Covid-19 pandemic that caused multiple lockdowns and eventually behind-closed-doors games doesn’t seem to have lessened the appetite to having a season ticket for the 2021/22 season. An impressive 10,000 renewals were made in the first two days they were on sale, and by the end of the renew period 90% of people had renewed.

85% of these were from the 16 thousand or so season ticket holders who took up the voucher option last season (instead of a full refund). For the record, 26% of buyers elected to spread their payments interest-free across next season.

This leaves around 3,000 season tickets left for the waiting list.

How the Waiting List Works

First off, the club have emphasised that you will not be charged for being on the waiting list (considering it’s a list for the privilege of spending a sizeable chunk of money with the club, you’d hope not!).

Since the amount of season tickets was capped at 30,000, the waiting list (each space is linked to an an individual FAN ID and is non-transferable) has been growing since 2019 to between 13,000 to 15,000, (the ballpark list size based on the number given at the two recent FCG meetings) before the offering of remaining season ticket places began.

After the recent relocation window of four days was completed – a period that allowed those that have renewed, the opportunity to move seats – the waiting list was then contacted.

The process according to the FCG notes and meeting was as follows:

The first invites will be sent out to those at the top of the waiting list giving them a 24-hour window to purchase a season ticket.  The invites will be sent in tranches of 500. You will not get a second chance this season should you miss your opportunity.  You will stay on the waiting list for next season.  Any fan missing three opportunities will be removed from the waiting list and would have to re-apply to join (going to the back of the queue).  

So essentially, it’s three strikes and out, then you’d have to rejoin the list at the back. In terms of wanting to sit next to a family member or friend, who is also on the wait list, the following advice was offered from the FCG meeting:

If someone is made an offer in the first tranche and has a family member or friend further down the waiting list, we will need to advise you if the second fan is likely to be made an offer this season.  If they are, we would advise you purchase and then transfer to seats together if the second offer is made. 

There will be a new season card for every season ticket holder this season, and the club will begin printing them on 19th July.

Bigger Picture

‘The waiting list is a key tool in assessing the need to increase capacity’, stated the FCG notes, after the recent FCG meeting with Villa CEO Christian Purslow, paraphrasing what he said himself in the meeting. Such a measure of demand is a prime influence in determining the likelihood of any work being done on Villa Park.

Obviously, the club will want to see how the macroeconomic factors of the Covid situation play out first, before they can make concentrate decisions on expansion, but the shift in how the club now talks about the prospect has shifted considerably.

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