Celtic’s Decision To Protect Its Season Ticket Base Is Understandable But Short-Sighted.

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Celtic’s decision to limit the purchase of the “virtual season ticket” to those who have paid for a physical one is understandable; they, like Sevco, who have adopted a similar scheme, are trying to keep the actual season ticket base onside.

No-one can realistically have a problem with that. The club is doing the best it can to deal with a difficult and tricky situation here. It will have to be careful in how it proceeds.

But let’s be honest, this is going to limit the club’s ability to view this opportunity as a grand experiment, and to find out just how much marketability the idea of the virtual season ticket has. I wrote about this yesterday and said that it might be a game-changer.

It will only be a game-changer if we grab this chance to explore the marketplace.

Whilst I realise that we want to do everything we can to sell the 50,000 plus season tickets we usually do, it makes no sense at all that we’d limit this opportunity for fans who for reasons of their own – affordability, inability to attend every weekend, distance or other personal circumstances – might not attend Celtic Park on a regular basis to support the team in this way instead.

This is a chance to find out how many fans would actually buy one of these things.

I know from my own experience of streaming – even with a less than brilliant internet connection – that with the right prices (Netflix and Prime Video are very modestly priced for the content they offer) I am less inclined to dabble with dodgy sites and dodgy content than I’ve ever been.

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The Ibrox crisis started to get real when the bank who had been keeping Rangers afloat started to sweat at the height of the financial crisis. Who were Rangers’ and Murray’s bankers before being taken over?

I think most people would be willing to pay a decent fee for good quality content rather than relying on wonky, illegal, sub-par streams if such were available to them.

But for the bulk of fans in the UK that’s never been on offer.

If Celtic wants to dabble in this market in the future – and we absolutely should – then it would be good to know what the numbers are. Non-season ticket holders have already expressed their interest to the club, and the club would do well to start listening to the message from them. I want to see us sell the full amount of physical season books, we all do, and I understand that this move is done in part to protect those sales … but it’s short-sighted just the same.

The virtual season ticket is an idea whose time has come.

It will be heaven sent for many people who might otherwise not get to matches, and it will help us maximise our earnings over the long haul. Fans outside of the UK and Ireland can already watch every home game live on their computers … I’ve long believed this service should be available to folks here too.

I understand that the broadcasting contracts are one obstacle to that, and that the league itself offers up another.

The global health emergency has changed everything in this regard.

The Chinese symbol for crisis is an amalgam of the symbols for danger and opportunity … we are constantly worrying about the dangers here whilst the opportunities are ignored.

This is one I hoped we’ve have the foresight to explore … and it’s not too late.

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