League One Brentford have introduced a ‘Pay What You Can’ scheme in an attempt to bring some festive cheer to their fans and local community. League One side Brentford are doing something in the Football League by asking their fans to ‘Pay What You Can’ for one match.
“With all the financial and family [challenges] on people before Christmas we thought that for the Stevenage game on December 22 we would need to work harder to get people to the ground,” Brentford’s Chief Executive Mark Devlin tells The Positive. “We heard of this being done in the United States however it [is questionable whether it has] been done in the Football League, as far as we know. We are asking fans to pay what they can, with £1 being the minimum.”
Surrounded by three Premier League sides – Chelsea, Fulham and QPR –Brentford at times are challenged to lure crowds. The fans may benefit from this promotion along with the club.The club’s owner Matthew Benham took the initiative one step further in deciding that when more than £5 is paid for a ticket, 50 percent of the excess might go to charity Sport Relief.
While Devlin says many supporters have already snapped up a ticket — usually priced at £21 for £1 — there is a great deal of business sense behind Brentford’s decision. “It will help us fill the stadium, raise money for charity, increase secondary sales inside the ground and also generate goodwill and publicity around the club,” says Devlin.
He appears to know his club have to do something innovative to raise their profile. “The feedback has been fantastic, especially from our fans and the Football League. A story like this when a club goes out on a limb to try to engage its community is seen very positively.”
Brentford have plans to move into a new 15,000-seater stadium in 2016, so the club needs to expand its fan base. “This initiative will hopefully encourage fans who support other teams to watch Brentford. While I don’t expect them to change their allegiance they can see our club has something different to offer,” Devlin says.
The future may look bright for Brentford — who are currently flying high in League One — this kind of initiative remains almost unique in football.
The ‘pay what you can’ scheme is only applicable to pre-booked tickets.For more information, please visit Brentford’s website or order over the phone at 0845 3456 442.