Home / Volley / National Football / Letter to Editor: TTFA’s Season Tickets don’t give real guarantees to Soca Warriors fans 

Letter to Editor: TTFA’s Season Tickets don’t give real guarantees to Soca Warriors fans 

It was back in November 2005 while queuing for hours outside the Arima Velodrome to purchase tickets for the Soca Warriors’ World Cup qualifying playoff match against Bahrain that I first considered the idea of season tickets for ‘die-hard’ fans of the Trinidad and Tobago national football team.

A thought born out of the frustration of having to compete with conveniently-interested “bandwagonists” has since been brought to fruition by the David John-Williams-led TTFA administration.

Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates with "Soca Warriors" fans after his double set up a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates with “Soca Warriors” fans after his double set up a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

On the surface, the Season Ticket Program is a great initiative for both the TTFA and supporters like myself, with advanced revenue benefiting the former and avoidance of ticket queues and guaranteed entry to matches to the advantage of the latter.

But one cannot overlook the inherent shortcomings of such an initiative or the major hiccups which may arise leaving the controversy-filled new administration with egg on their faces.

The prices for the Season Tickets are TT$2000 (covered stands) and TT$1000 (uncovered stands) with guaranteed entry to all national senior team games held on home soil up until November 2017.

If we take into consideration the TT$100 price tag for an uncovered stand ticket for Wednesday’s Caribbean Cup qualifier against the Dominican Republic and the risk involved in inflating prices during the current economic climate, a 50% price increase for the Hex may be the wisest decision for the TTFA.

Added to this, a paltry five World Cup qualifying home games are scheduled to be played over the next 13 months. This would leave the Season Ticket holder at a loss when he calculates how much he would have saved had he not made this commitment.

Photo: Dominican Republic captain Jonathan Faña (centre) tries to hold off Trinidad and Tobago players Sheldon Bateau (left) and Kevan George during 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 5 October 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: Dominican Republic captain Jonathan Faña (centre) tries to hold off Trinidad and Tobago players Sheldon Bateau (left) and Kevan George during 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 5 October 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

The TTFA said free entry to friendly matches would also be given to Season Ticket holders. But given their recent failure to attract teams to play against us on our home soil, this could very well equate to zero games.

One can possibly argue that the cost of the added incentives offered to the purchasers of the Season Tickets—such as reserved stadium access on match days, 20% discount on Soca Warriors merchandise, access to select training sessions and meet and greet sessions with the players—is also absorbed into the prices. But this is not usually the case with Season Tickets.

Season Tickets are usually priced at a discount rate with added incentives used to reward the customer’s commitment. This was probably John-Williams’ intention. But I for one am not sure that I am getting value for my money and I am sure that others will feel the same.

According to radio ads, the Season Ticket Program gives you a “guaranteed seat”. One must question the accuracy of this statement when, for every major game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, there are usually more patrons than seats in the uncovered stands.

Given this deficiency in seating, can the TTFA really deliver on this promise of a “guaranteed seat”? Will they finally make a commitment to ensure the comfort and safety of fans by not overselling tickets?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football fans react to action during their team's goalless draw with the United States yesterday in 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football fans react to action during their team’s goalless draw with the United States yesterday in 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

This is left to be seen but I have my doubts. The infrastructure at the Hasely Crawford Stadium also makes it virtually impossible to effectively partition a section of the stands to accommodate 6,000 persons, so blocking a number of seats for Season Ticket holders may be impossible.

At the last World Cup qualifier against Guatemala in Port of Spain, many patrons were caught in the usual bottleneck at the main entrance. Some were granted relief when given permission to use the VIP entrance, much to the displeasure of the VIP ticket holders.

Can the TTFA assure Season Ticket holders, who use the Reserved Stadium Access, that they will not become caught up in such a quagmire?

That is another question to be answered.

The Season Ticket Program seems like a great idea in theory but its practicality is somewhat questionable.

I will only be willing to part with my hard-earned money as soon as Mr John-Williams can offer me guaranteed international friendlies, guaranteed value for money and, most importantly, a guaranteed seat.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) presents a Wired868 token of appreciation to "Soca Warriors" supporter Peter Cumberbatch during the 4th Annual Wired868 Football Festival at UWI SPEC Grounds, St Augustine on Saturday 2 January 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) presents a Wired868 token of appreciation to “Soca Warriors” supporter Peter Cumberbatch during the 4th Annual Wired868 Football Festival at UWI SPEC Grounds, St Augustine on Saturday 2 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Editor’s Note: The TTFA’s Season Passes are available at First Citizens Bank branches on Independence Square, One Woodbrook Place, Arima, Tunapuna, Chaguanas, Point Fortin, San Fernando, Gulf View and Scarborough.

There are 1,400 Covered Stands and 5,000 Uncovered Stands passes available. Fans can book by calling the TTFA Hotline: 270-6868.

About Sherron Charles

Sherron Charles
Sherron 'Jabari' Charles is a football coach and graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Sports Management BSc programme. He is also a sports entrepreneur and an avid Soca Warriors fan.

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47 comments

  1. In case my points got buried…I’m reposting here in the general feed…please and tanx ?!

    I’m no pro here but I get Sherron Charles ‘s concern and I get what Kirwin Weston is trying to say. Just thinking here…maybe since the TTFA doesn’t really have much in terms of security to attract this kind of commitment YET, maybe they could could commit in a bigger way to season pass holders.

    First off i say make the pass more. Its too cheap to make any real fan feel like they are getting anything special when its too close to the actual cost of matches, or as was pointed out could be a loss. So i say go big and go large…make the pass awesome! For example, merchandise is cheap…we all know that…they can commit to some things free and even 50% off. Maybe free entry to a one week football camp for kids of fans? Hosted by one or a few of the players? That way connecting Team to its fans? Like a Soca Warrior Junior Camp? So not just a meet and greet but commitment by Team…involvement by Team in helping to create new fans. And maybe even working with Caribbean Airlines to get a discount on flight to one or two international matches with a free ticket?? Just some random thoughts.

    That said there would have to be improvements for sure with regards.to entry and guaranteed seating at matches…this might actually mean renovations to the stadium to create a special box?? Kinda like at the OVAL for pass holders? With special entrance? Access to a special bar? But for sure some kind of comfort level must be increased. This can be done through corporate sponsorship. Maybe the stadium becomes rebranded every year or to the highest bidder so it becomes the Caribbean Airlines Stadium or the BP Stadium.

    And thirdly there needs to be a commitment by the TTFA that they will treat their players better with the money raised…make sure they are paid so they will want to commit to its fans more.

    And finally, true fans would just simply need to commit! There are no guarantees of performance but you are not paying for that…you are paying because as a fan you believe in their potential and will be there through thick and thin!

    It’s like the Maple Leafs hockey in Canada. This Team doesn’t have the best record, but it blows my mind how every year you…the average fan can’t get a ticket to a game. I have a friend who every year creates a Stanley Cup out of foil and plants it on her desk at the beginning of every season and NEVER misses a season opener game…even though most years they don’t even make it past the first round. She would then have all of us stationed at our work phones to mass call in to try to get tickets to any home game she could get. She could care less if it was in the nose bleed section or where she just had to be there. And her family would be dressed to he hilt in merchandise…maple leaf hats, foam hands, whistles, skirts, shorts…you name it! And she was not alone. Every game was sold out. THIS is the kind of fans TTFA wants and needs.

    But the price of the pass now for what you get does sound lame and just feels like a money grab. Heck that’s not even the cost of a Lime Fete ticket.

    So once you create value, then you create demand and then you can create more value…price can go up except for all the original fans who committed when the chips were down. And then you might get better playing from the Team because the TTFA is making more and can do more for the Team and then the ability to draw more friendlies in can increase and thennnnn more fans will want to come to matches.

    Anyhow that’s just my thoughts…the pass too cheap and no real value…that’s my 10 cents.

  2. “Added to this, a paltry six World Cup qualifying home games are scheduled to be played over the next 13 months.”

    It’s not five home games in the hex?

    Given that the HCS hasn’t been at absolute capacity for any of the WCQs played thus far, I’d guess the people who are standing choose to do so because they don’t like the seats that are available upon their arrival.

    I really don’t know how anybody is supposed to confirm international friendlies this far in advance during the final round of world cup qualifying.

    A season pass is for someone who thinks they know they will be going to every match. If that isn’t you, then the season pass isn’t for you. Even if you can’t go to every match, you can lend someone the pass as there are no names attached to it.

    But if I get into every match with the ease that I got into the match on Wednesday having found myself walking up the stairs as the first whistle was being blown, the pass would be worth my money.

  3. If I getting to go in without the bachannal I all for that. I mean
    …honestly… 6x 150 = $900…and surely they will have more than one friendly…in fact the DR game would have been included…trinis…as always…like to complain under the pretense of a grouse….but they really wish they cud pay $500..then quarrel bout lack of “corporate support”….steups… I getting my ticket

  4. The stadium has just three entrances at best though. Unless you mean creating more turnstiles. We should have about a dozen turnstiles operating in each stand, bearing in mind that you’re catering for 20,000 fans in about 45 minutes.

  5. If TTFA could attach special VIP entrances & lines…it could probably sell faster. There are folks who would pay for that added ‘exclusivity’, ‘safety’ and convenience!

  6. I would appreciate if the author suggests a price, and give rationale for a lower price

  7. I think it is obvious that the tickets for the hex would be priced at $200 and $400 respectively………also since I plan to go all the games and can’t be “caught up” in the drama of pushing for tickets if the team looks like we close to qualifying…….I am planning to get my season ticket!

    • And prices would dip again if team doesn’t start well. That’s the gamble.

    • Agreed but this team looking good for a 3rd or 4th place finish in the hec

    • It’s a gamble yes. But there’s people who’ll go regardless of.

      I think the season passes are for hardcore supporters…6400 of which we do not have

    • I’m no pro here but I get Sherron Charles ‘s concern and I get what Kirwin Weston is trying to say. Just thinking here…maybe since the TTFA doesn’t really have much in terms of security to attract this kind of commitment YET, maybe they could could commit in a bigger way to season pass holders.

      First off i say make the pass more. Its too cheap to make any real fan feel like they are getting anything special when its too close to the actual cost of matches, or as was pointed out could be a loss. So i say go big and go large…make the pass awesome! For example, merchandise is cheap…we all know that…they can commit to some things free and even 50% off. Maybe free entry to a one week football camp for kids of fans? Hosted by one or a few of the players? That way connecting Team to its fans? Like a Soca Warrior Junior Camp? So not just a meet and greet but commitment by Team…involvement by Team in helping to create new fans. And maybe even working with Caribbean Airlines to get a discount on flight to one or two international matches with a free ticket?? Just some random thoughts.

      That said there would have to be improvements for sure with regards.to entry and guaranteed seating at matches…this might actually mean renovations to the stadium to create a special box?? Kinda like at the OVAL for pass holders? With special entrance? Access to a special bar? But for sure some kind of comfort level must be increased. This can be done through corporate sponsorship. Maybe the stadium becomes rebranded every year or to the highest bidder so it becomes the Caribbean Airlines Stadium or the BP Stadium.

      And thirdly there needs to be a commitment by the TTFA that they will treat their players better with the money raised…make sure they are paid so they will want to commit to its fans more.

      And finally, true fans would just simply need to commit! There are no guarantees of performance but you are not paying for that…you are paying because as a fan you believe in their potential and will be there through thick and thin!

      It’s like the Maple Leafs hockey in Canada. This Team doesn’t have the best record, but it blows my mind how every year you…the average fan can’t get a ticket to a game. I have a friend who every year creates a Stanley Cup out of foil and plants it on her desk at the beginning of every season and NEVER misses a season opener game…even though most years they don’t even make it past the first round. She would then have all of us stationed at our work phones to mass call in to try to get tickets to any home game she could get. She could care less if it was in the nose bleed section or where she just had to be there. And her family would be dressed to he hilt in merchandise…maple leaf hats, foam hands, whistles, skirts, shorts…you name it! And she was not alone. Every game was sold out. THIS is the kind of fans TTFA wants and needs.

      But the price of the pass now for what you get does sound lame and just feels like a money grab. Heck that’s not even the cost of a Lime Fete ticket.

      So once you create value, then you create demand and then you can create more value…price can go up except for all the original fans who committed when the chips were down. And then you might get better playing from the Team because the TTFA is making more and can do more for the Team and then the ability to draw more friendlies in can increase and thennnnn more fans will want to come to matches.

      Anyhow that’s just my thoughts…the pass too cheap and no real value…that’s my 10 cents.

    • That’s more than 10 cents Karen, you need a flippin cheque !!!

    • I love your suggestions, they’re really great. However, some of them take time and human resource to manage, which the TTFA does not have adequate of and I highly doubt they can afford to hire anyone further to do these things.

      But that’s the ideal, with good management, but we don’t have the human resource to manage. Which is why $2000 isn’t a bad offer as is.

    • Fb needs a margin adjuster tool ?

    • Then that’s where you challenge a marketing team…maybe an up and coming marketing group, to take over the marketing, establish a target goal for fans and revenue and if this is met they get paid a percentage of that target. None of this payment of 34million in advance crap…results need to be seen first… #jussayin

      It’s not a bad start, but again i just feel it’s not VVVVVVIP feeling enough to have stick it power and that’s what i have observed to be entrenched in Trini culture. And if more isn’t done I just feel there will be lots of spinning top in mud action. But hey, give it a year and see yes? Lots of time to prove my theory wrong ?.

    • Karen though this looked like a $100 bill, not 10 cents; awesome

  8. If TTFA wanted to make more money the $1,000 and $2,000 cost should have included a signed team jersey. That might have been more attractive.

  9. I say “bravo” to the TTFA season ticket programme. But, once again we forget the TT culture. Who cares to “meet & greet the players” ? I will wait and see them on d Avenue. Which true fan don’t already have a supporter jersey or hat? We all know that guarantees in T&T is a “ghost” Ask some of the all inclusive patrons, who never get all that is offered. So… my idea of Season ticket is specific to the World Cup Qualifiers at a reduced cost. The only tournament that normally attracts the fans, once we doing well. For the true fan, he or she, can secure their tickets before the bandwagonist come on board. I expected simple math. Five games at $150 or $300 = $750 or $1,500. Season Ticket cost (risk included) $700 or $1,400. Then you throw in a special entrance and I am sold. I believe people may want direct savings. I will find my seat, where I always sit every game.

  10. Earl Best

    Sherron, allyuh UWI graduates trying to change Trini culture or what? Trinis are supposed to walk around with their heads empty, not to use deh head to work out whether deh getting a deal or not.

    Your profile says that you are “an avid Soca Warriors fan.” What precisely does that mean? Am I to understand that you once trusted Jack Warner but you do not now trust John-Williams? Buh wha does wrong with allyuh, boy?

  11. Thanks ..these are serious considerations I also harbour and need answers for.Grateful for info.Enjoy your weekend.

  12. Editor’s Note: The TTFA’s Season Passes are available at First Citizens Bank branches on Independence Square, One Woodbrook Place, Arima, Tunapuna, Chaguanas, Point Fortin, San Fernando, Gulf View and Scarborough.
    There are 1,400 Covered Stands and 5,000 Uncovered Stands passes available.
    Fans can book by calling the TTFA Hotline: 270-6868.

  13. I doubt the TTFA will drop prices since they got near sell outs in the last round. But I can’t see how that meet and greet thing will work with over 6,000 potential ticket holders.
    And I have doubts of the fringe benefits too. And remember a fan can easily have an emergency, can’t get a baby sitter or whatever and miss a WCQ. Or the team can start badly and the TTFA might actually drop prices for the last two or three games.
    The TTFA should realise that it is a bit of a gamble for fans and take something off the price as an incentive.
    But I think your suggestion is best Nigel Myers.

  14. I think that season tickets are great for clubs, but not so much for our national team, since you are not guaranteed a set minimum number of matches. It’s probably better to have an official fan/supporters club, whose members get to buy tickets at a discounted rate and in advance of when they are made available to the general public. All of the other incentives can be included as well.