Colchester United Chairman Robbie Cowling has issued the following statement:
I hope everyone is keeping well and enjoying the new season.
The early fixtures have certainly been tough with three consecutive away trips and then our first home fixture against Bolton. However, we’ve had a pleasing start in the league with four points and two clean sheets from our first two games.
In terms of fans watching the game, I think the EFL have created a great product and the revenue it is generating is gratefully received. It’s small amounts of income at the moment but I’m optimistic that more of you will want to follow the team both home and away as you discover just how good the streaming option is.
And remember we are back to the broadcast quality cameras now, not the analysis cameras we had to use for the first two pre-season fixtures.
The way it works currently is that the home team keep all of the revenue for the tickets they sell through their own website and they also get the revenue for the first 500 that buy via the away team. For example: for Saturday’s game against Bolton, we sold 452 iFollow passes, (so we keep all of the revenue from those), and Bolton sold 2252 iFollow passes, (of which we get the revenue from the first 500).
This has put a very new aspect on the revenue that is available to clubs this season. Bolton made more money in gate receipts from our home fixture than we did because they had the revenue from 1,752 iFollow passes whereas we had the revenue from 952 iFollow passes. In normal times, we would have expected about £54,000 in home gate receipts from this fixture but we will receive just shy of £8,000, whereas Bolton would have expected about £600 for the 5% commission we pay them but will have received about £14,000 more than that.
We sold just over 300 streams for the away game against Bradford, so we earnt £0.00 for that away game and I expect that to be the case for every away game this season. So based on twenty three away games, Bolton look set to receive about £345,000 from the streaming of their away games this season whilst we can look forward to approximately £0.00.
Perhaps these facts might help some of you that think we should still be in the Championship understand what we are up against.
Club United will be launched this Wednesday on September 23rd and as it currently stands, 309 fans have contributed £11,322.60 of funds and those who have contributed will be able to determine how they want it to be spent.
To get the ball rolling, I’ve added a project to buy Eddie a new costume and I’ve kick started that project with a pledge of £50 of my own money. I’m sure those fans who have funds allocated to Club United will be able to think of much better projects to spend their funds on but I’ve added this by way of an example project and because Eddie wants to look his best when he does finally return.
To see how it works, simply log into your account at www.colutickets.com this Wednesday. Those of you that have contributed to the Club United fund will be able to create a project or pledge some of your own funds to the project that I created. Those of you that haven’t, will be able to view the current projects, add funds and then create your own projects or pledge your funds to the particular project that you want to support.
Anyone can add funds and anyone with funds can create a project. This could be a really good method for fan involvement and we are keen to make it work, so please give us as much feedback as possible.
Attending Future Games
As I reported in my last statement, the work involved in getting crowds back in to stadiums is enormous and it could be in vain for a few more games if drastic steps are taken by the Government in the next few days to halt what appears to be a second wave of infections. The measures we are taking are very strict, so I believe our stadium will be extremely safe even if there is a general increase in the risk of the virus spreading.
Season Permits were only on sale for a couple of days before the details of the potential second wave were all over the news, so you can imagine what that has done to sales. We had sold 448 in the first two days but then just 92 since. Giving us a current total of 540.
We are still working towards opening the stadium from October and we are likely to be restricted to 1,000 attendees for the first match against Oldham on October 3rd. We will be restricting that game to season permit holders only and that will be the case even if the number of season permits is less than 1,000. We will have to test every aspect of the stadium being open to fans and the first time we do it, we will want to make sure we are on the right track with the season permits.
Once we have that working as planned, we will start to sell the Multi-Match Permits and hopefully that one game against Oldham will give us the confidence to make it available before the Forest Green game on October 20th. Our plan to launch a single match permit may need to wait a bit longer. Hopefully not.
We have currently refunded £110,416.90 and £26,817.28 has remained within the club for the time being, with £15,442.94 being transferred to Privilege Cards and £11,374.34 being transferred to Club United.
I contacted our MP, Will Quince, to explain what the club is doing to get fans back into the stadium and how important it is for us to do so. Will has been very supportive and plans to visit the stadium shortly to see for himself the extraordinary measures we are taking to make attending games safe.
Getting fans into stadiums could be the difference between clubs surviving or failing, so getting MPs like Will Quince on board could be vital for football and not Just Colchester United. We’ve lost Bury and Macclesfield and we don’t want to lose any more clubs.
With regards to the playing squad, we are still in the same position with bringing in any new players. We have no available budget unless someone leaves and as it stands, we don’t particularly want to lose anyone of the current squad. Luckily Jevani, Paris and Noah feel like three new signings and the youth players that have stepped up like Marley, Sammie and Miquel are also great additions. Meantime, our recruitment department is making sure they are ready to spend any money that might become available as effectively as possible.
Because Bristol City sold Sammie Szmodics for a small profit, we will receive a percentage of that profit over the next few transfer windows but that will only be spent when we receive it and we haven’t received anything yet. There are no guarantees that any of it will be spent on the playing budget when it does come in because the salary capping system that was introduced recently does not allow the cap to be raised for clubs that receive such income.
It been a good start to our league campaign, but I wouldn’t have gotten too downbeat about a lesser start so I won’t get too upbeat about the start we have just had.
What does excite me though is the way that all of the staff at the club have risen to the challenges that the awful virus has thrust upon us and simply got on with doing the very best they can do for Colchester United in its time of most need. It’s impossible to visit a single part of our club and not witness the brilliant attitude of everyone involved. The directors, the coaches, the players and every other member of staff involved at the club. All brilliant.
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