Friday, March 26, 2010


Pay peanuts ... Is the SLeague selling itself short?

Yet again Etoile have been pushing debate in the SLeague. They look to be the first club to take marketing seriously. Now the geezer that runs the club with that impossible to remember surname has opened another can of worms.

Etoile will start charging 10 SGD for fans wishing to watch their games. A membership scheme where you buy a card will allow you to 20% discount on that price.

This in a league where $5 is the norm.

Frenchie says the SLeague is selling itself short and that it needs to rethink its pricing policy and it's probably no surprise to learn that I agree with him.

Now once you mention ticket prices you will no doubt get the usual whiners complaining how expensive it already is. You can bet your mortgage on it.

5 SGD is not expensive to watch a game of football in Singapore. Think about this. If I go and see an Indonesia Premier League game here the ticket will cost more than an SLeague game. How daft is that. Indonesia, a poor country, has second tier football with ticket prices higher than it's richer neighbour.

SAFFC are never going to be able to compete in the Asian Champions League when their taking at the gate doesn't cover the cost of turning on the light at the ticket office.

The usual whine about higher ticket prices is that the football is of poor quality. Again that is bollocks. I have seen plenty of great SLeague games. I've seen plenty of piss poor ones to but hey, you pays your money...fact is there is quality in the SLeague and if people who whine about there being none, and whine about 5 SGD being too high then like I said stick to collecting Happy Meal toys from McDs.

The SLeague don't help themselves with their culture of give aways. Treat your product like that and of course people will get used to freebies. Where's the incentive to pay a realistic price when the owners of the game put so little value on it?

I was suspicious of Etoile initially but now they are saying, and doing, the right things. I hope they're doing something else no other club does. I hope they are tying their players into two year contracts. Some of their players are bound to attract attention from other teams in the region. Tapping into the hundreds of players released each year in Europe could well provide a forward thinking club with yet another revenue stream.

Except the thinking isn't really that revolutionary. Marketing, alternative revenue streams have been buzz words in football for many years now. What is revolutionary is that a pissant little island that has given the world one the best airlines and best ports can't sell its own football and hasn't tried.

This could all blow up in Etoile's face. The merchandise may not sell and the crowds may drop below 500. But they're smart enough to re assess. At least they tried, at least they are giving it ago. If only more clubs followed their lead.

After reading stories about Etoile from this blog, I really wanna see them in the Thai Premier League!!!
Ahh...I forgot to mention that this is a very good article. I love everytime you write or type:) about someting related to marketing in football club.

an alternative is to let in fans for cheap and then sell them a few hot dogs and souvenirs. Lots of English clubs have promotions like "quid for a kid".

My Nepali lineage is being exposed now, but I feel Malaysian and Singaporean clubs might also look into attracting the foreign diaspora in their country. During the AFC U16 Finals in Singapore games featuring Nepal attracted wild crowds of around 2-3,000. The Nepal-Singapore match had more Nepali fans, mostly Gurkha families, in attendance than Singaporeans. It was a similar story when Nepal played in the Merdeka Cup two years back. Hundreds of Nepali laborers attended all the Nepal matches. And the matches were in very hard to reach stadiums like Shah Alam and MPPJ.

When Nepal Police Club played in the AFC Presidents Cup in KL, hundreds of Nepali fans came to the game even though there was zero promotion and it was technically a closed door event (the matches were moved to KL because of security concerns in Nepal)

If an enterprising Singaporean or Malaysian club made their matches Nepali friendly - or even better yet signed a Nepali player and did the necessary marketing, in my opinion they could easily get a few thousand extra fans. Perhaps the same is true for other ethnic groups living in those countries, but Nepalis in general love to have a good time and are very loose with the wallet (maybe that is why the country is so poor :)
thx tony

biplav - im worried about singapore at the moment. getting rid of kingsley and obatola was a bad move that sends a wrong message. i'm not going to spell it out but read between the lines and i hope i'm wrong

they also rejected an indonesian bid a few years back to jonithe sleague...and they rejected harimau muda this year...

i hope im wrong...
"getting rid of kingsley and obatola was a bad move that sends a wrong message"

a foreign loss, a local gain... but obatola is different from agu, itimi, precious, he is a class above the rest of the nigerians in singapore. i think FAS and gombak tried very hard to keep him but his departure was due to govt issues. MOM. FAS cant do anything about.

but very good article. Singaporeans EPL suckers are a hypocrite bunch... constant s.league followers dont even complain about ticket prices, it is those people who just want to catch the action of live football.

And Etoile, even if they raise the tickets, they will still get fans. why? ang moh? everyone will think they have better quality football.. and yet singaporeans think that the local teams dont have quality...
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