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Membership Packages
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 15:17
I see Lifetime membership is to be offered again, albeit at a hefty GBP 2,685 including VAT:

[www.somersetcountycc.co.uk]

Grizzzly

 
Re: Membership Packages
Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 15:22
If you're under fifty (and have the spare cash), go for it. I made my investment in 1978 and it's paid for itself over and over again.



LoL

Sixty-nine Seasons a Somerset Supporter

 
Re: Membership Packages
Tom Seymour (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 15:29
It's for over 55's only.



A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.

 
Re: Membership Packages
Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 15:38
Thanks for that clarification. I reckon it's still a very good bargain if you're 55-60 and in good health. I was already 106 in 1978.

 
Re: Membership Packages
nelliec (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 15:46
Last year a joint platinum cost my wife and myself £395
This year to sit in front of the Colin Atkinson for the T20's where we've always sat,along with all games it will cost
£319 plus 2@ £195 less £100 total £609
An increase of 64%

Please justify

 
Re: Membership Packages
JuliaW (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 15:54
Those are some serious price increases and it feels disingenuous of the club to try to pass them off as 'exciting', not how most people would describe them!

Luckily for me I had already decided not to bother with T20 next season but it's a big financial hit for those who enjoy the hit and giggle stuff.

 
Re: Membership Packages
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 17:42
Isn't there missing parts of the membership prices.

Long-room Membership

1875 Membership.

And what does the life membership get you?

 
Re: Membership Packages
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 17:49
Yes, I've e-mailed the Club re the Life Membership option & asked them what it includes !

Grizzzly

 
Re: Membership Packages
nelliec (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 17:54
Last year a T20 membership was £105. This year to have a guaranteed seat £195 for the same area.£28 a game?
How much will tickets cost on the gate.£40???
Must easily be the most expensive in the country
What is the priory bridge stand.A Permanent or temporary stand? Will it be more comfortable than last year,with sufficient leg room?
Answers on a postcard!!

 
Re: Membership Packages
nelliec (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 18:04
I also don't like to be told exactly where I sit.A lot of people sit in groups with friends and family,and this will be impossible to sort with people applying for different memberships.

 
Re: Membership Packages
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 18:14
And I forgot, The Gimblett's Hill is not listed for T20 seating!

Quote - •We are effectively and safely managing the Cooper Associates County Ground on busier match days by moving to an all-seated stadium

 
Re: Membership Packages
nelliec (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 19:56
Social media has gone mad tonight with many many supporters saying they will not renew their memberships.I hop this doesn’t backfire big time on the club
Other counties new prices for all forms
Notts £170
Surrey £205
Worcester £235
Hants £240
Somerset cheapest £269?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 18/10/2017 21:20 by nelliec.

 
Re: Membership Packages
geordie moonraker (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 21:50
I think this probably makes up my mind. Mrs GM and I have been(championship only) members for many years,as 2 at same household and Ican't remember if we get a senior reduction. Last year was 289, this year it will be 319-an increase of 10%. Durham next year for example for championship only will be 230 for senior and spouse. I know it is only about £3 a day per member if you go to all days and that is not expensive. However, it is now 17 years since we left the West Country and in the last 2 seasons have watched only 3 days of cricket at Taunton-although we would have loved to have been there more often. I have made therefore a gift to the club of well over £300 and another £30 probably means that we shan't renew. The support is no less but the pockets are shallower.

 
Re: Membership Packages
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 21:57
Hmmm......

These increases and the way they have been announced, do seem to have gone down like a proverbial lead balloon.

Time for some rapid re-thinking, or much better explanation/communication by the Club methinks.

Meantime, comment of the day on twitter reads as follows:

"Is it possible to buy a membership for the middle of August and onwards for when we start playing properly?"

I think the guy who wrote that should be given free membership next year for hitting the nail firmly on the head !

Grizzzly

 
Re: Membership Packages
Farmer White (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 22:04
I thought I was through with my long posts for a while. But as it is Somerset I write about I should have known better. Here are my initial thoughts on the new membership categories and pricing. They may well be wide of the mark, even fanciful, but the lack of an explanation from the Club for the changes leaves a lot of thoughts and questions swirling around in the air.

Having read the Membership item on the Club website and thought about some of Lee Cooper’s statements at his two Q&As I have come to the conclusion that his appointment may be a pivotal moment in the history of the Club and that the new Membership structure may be a part of it. That may sound a little apocalyptic but to date Mr Cooper has demonstrated two key things to me. He has a vision for the future of the Club and he is razor sharp in his decisiveness. Ask Matt Maynard and the ECB.

My recall of the Q&As is not good enough to quote verbatim neither do I have the time to re-run the entire on-line recording of the Q&A at the Members Lunch. Others may wish to check out the accuracy of what I recall against the recorded Q&A but I am reasonably confident that I have the substance if not the detail of it.

My recollection is that Lee Cooper expressed a view that T20 is becoming a 'separate sport' from red ball and fifty over cricket. He also expressed the view that two distinct and different audiences were developing, one for each of the two 'seperate' sports. The change in membership structure and pricing policy would fit perfectly with that view and perhaps assist in developing the two different strands given being a member of both would incur a significant expense for most cricket watchers.

The mid-cost T20 membership is £167 for about 20 hours of cricket. The price of a ‘Club’ membership is £179 for up to 32 days of Championship and 50 over cricket. That must reflect the Club’s view of the potential audience pulling power of the two ‘separate’ sports (as Lee Cooper sees them). It should also be stated Mr Cooper, I believe, spoke of T20 income being developed and used to subsidise Championship cricket. It almost certainly already does.

Following both forms of the game live will now come at a significantly greater cost which may cause some to have to choose, at least, in terms of regular attendance. The level of subsidy from T20 to Championship and 50 over may also become more clearly visible.

This new membership structure will give the Club the potential to develop two separate types or groups of memberships and two different groups of members for what it sees as two ‘separate’ sports. In this regard these changes mean there is no longer an ‘overall’ SCCC Membership category. There is either Club (essentially Championship and 50 over) or T20 or one of each.

***As far as I can recall the old '7 match pass' did not confer membership rights. I may be wrong about this. Others may know. If however I am right the entry of the new T20 members into full membership voting rights will bring a new focus to the Club's membership. Given the importance of T20 to the Club and the disproportionate contribution it makes financially and in bringing new supporters to the Club this is probably an inevitable and necessary consequence of the changing dynamic of the cricket audience. It would certainly, in my view, fit the vision of Lee Cooper as I have understood it. The new T20 membership may over time, and perhaps not too much time, adjust the powerbase within the membership of the Club.

As time goes by the Championship may have to more overtly justify the importance placed on it in the Club's planning and resource allocation. T20 members will also now have precisely the same rights as Club (essentialy Championship) members in expressing views on the allocation of resources. They will have the right to expect a justification for the financial cross subsidisation which takes place between the two. Those who prefer Championship cricket may need to make the case for the cross subsidisation of skills which also takes place between the two in particular the development of basic cricketing skills (although not all cricketing skills) in red ball cricket. It is perhaps time for each set of supporters to understand and recognise the importance, nature and value of each strand of the sport to the other.***

Mr Cooper also expressed the view that the world of cricket is changing and T20 is fast becoming an increasingly important force in the game with which Somerset has to reckon and accommodate to in the future. The new membership pricing and structure may reflect that too.

Part of the rationale behind the ground-breaking, in this country at least, led light floodlights for Taunton, and this fits with the definition of T20 as a ‘separate’ and growing sport, is to position Somerset to compete in the bidding for the ‘franchised’, as Lee Cooper termed it, T20 competition from 2020 (That is where my memory is least clear but I think that is correct). The led light floodlights are cheaper to run and maintain, they can produce the sort of spectacular light shows which are likely to be required for the new T20 competition with no added cost and perhaps crucially they meet the requirements of broadcasters much better than the traditional floodlights. When the new T20 starts the only state of the art ground available to host it may be Taunton.

Mr Cooper was also crystal clear that Somerset will start each season trying to ‘win’ all three competitions. There will be no prioritisation of the Championship. That is, on paper, little different from the official position of ‘competing’ across all competitions that has applied for the last decade. However, Guy Lavender always used to say in Q&As Somerset’s priority was the Championship. I sense a qualitative shift here. Mr Cooper was pretty clear that strong T20 performance is crucial in attracting and retaining top players, perhaps not surprising with the changes of 2020 coming ever closer, and that therefore Somerset have to be competitive in it. These changes fit that model.

In the Q&As Mr Cooper also made a strong commitment to transparency. Thus far, when I have heard him speak, as far as I can judge, he has been very transparent and refreshingly so. However whilst the annual membership categories and prices are transparent enough there must be a question as to whether the term ‘transparency’ fits comfortably with there being no mention whatsoever that prices have been increased by between c10% and c60% nor any reason given for the changes beyond crowd safety. It seems to me the rationale for these changes go deeper than that.

***The price increase element of this is swingeing particularly when many current Championship and Platinum members are retired and working people’s wages have been at a virtual standstill for a decade. These new prices are sufficiently higher, at their highest in the region of 60%, to change the nature of some people's cricket watching lives. A better explanation than the one given so far is warranted given the loyalty that existing members have shown to the Club over many years, not least in the difficult season just passed.***

One point the Club may or may not have considered here: My understanding is that only approximately 20% of existing memberships are Championship memberships. This may have caused the Club to overestimate the interest from members in T20 cricket given that the primary interest of most Platinum members is in Championship cricket. If forced to give up one element of Platinum membership or the other, and this new structure and exponential increase in pricing will cause many to have to consider that choice, it may be the T20 element that goes. If that is a consideration the Club may need to be confident it can attract sufficient new T20 members to make up any shortfall if it is not to suffer an overall reduction in membership income.

As will have been clear from a number of my match reports I thoroughly enjoy the whole experience of afternoon T20 matches (Friday evenings are sometimes another matter) but this new pricing structure will cause me to think about next year. I am lucky enough to be able to afford to buy both memberships next year if I so choose although not lucky enough not to have to think about it. I will have to consider the opportunity cost of the T20 element for I have much else in my life outside cricket.

However it needs also to be borne in mind that membership subscriptions are a minority contributor to the Club’s finances, a significant minority contributor but a minority nonetheless. Roughly, according to the 2016 accounts as I understand them membership subscriptions constitute about 20% of the Club’s income. Gate receipts, mostly from T20 I imagine, about 16%. The ECB contributes about 43% at least half of which comes from broadcast income. The rest, about 21%, comes mainly from commercial income, sponsorship, catering etc.

I suppose there may be some attempt here to rebalance the income streams to position Somerset for a future that is very close around the corner. It is also the case given the figures above there would need to be a significant drop in membership numbers for the Club to suffer a drop in overall income which would be critical.

All that said this does all need to be seen in the context of cold hard reality for the Club. If the new T20 competition comes to fruition and is a success, and there is at least one big IF in there, then Somerset will face the possibility of becoming what will be essentially a second tier Club in a world where the resources increasingly flow to the first tier Clubs. That is not what is planned but money, like water, tends to have a natural direction of flow.

If Somerset can position itself as a successful T20 Club on the field and, in particular in the provision of a competitive spectator and broadcast friendly venue then it may create an opportunity to remain in the first tier of Clubs and to generate sufficient income to support the Championship at least for as long as Test cricket survives to give the Championship an unarguable raison d’etre.

Taunton’s regional competitor grounds are Bristol and Cardiff. It is those we need to position ourselves to take on. Neither is without its weaknesses and Taunton is not without its strengths. It may just be that the success of the International T20 match at Taunton in 2017 opened up the possibility of our competing with them. I recall Guy Lavender saying, before that match. the importance of it to the future of Somerset CCC could not be overestimated. The disappearance of previous equivocation over whether lights should actually be installed in favour of a firm commitment to a bold state of the art installation may also tell us something.

This may be of no comfort to those who value the Championship above or to the exclusion of all other forms of the game but the cold hard reality of a future driven by T20 cricket is a future the Club has to face.

There are other possible reasons for these changes and increases.

1) The need for an all seater ground may be necessary for safety and comfort reasons particularly if capacity is to be increased and this may be more easily managed with separate membership categories enabling a more even distribution of people around the ground. For the T20 International the ground was split into segments to assist in crowd management.

This does not though, of itself, remotely explain the significant increases in price. They could be explained by the Club's assessment of what the market will bear rather than what it needs to charge to run the Club and retain players. However moving from a cost covering plus approach to a wholly profit making one could, in my view, effectively turn members into customers.

2) In terms of explaining these membership changes and price increases there have also been cost increases for the Club. Inflation is at 3%. Lee Cooper has made clear that to retain key young players significant salary increases are necessary and in some cases have already been agreed and these will be way in excess of inflation. The Director of Cricket post has been split into two posts with an additional post having to be paid for. There may or may not have been ‘efficiencies’ to in part offset some of this including the departure of some players this year who have not been replaced at least to date but overall the costs of the Club are likely to have been projected to rise next year.


It has been put to me in the past that I think too deeply about my cricket and it may be that I am doing that here. However, it seems to me that the vision Lee Cooper expressed in his two ground-breaking Q&As at least suggest the possibility that his vision and this new membership structure and pricing are part of a whole. No major step has yet been taken in Lee Cooper’s tenure which does not form part of a coherent strategy. This may be another which fits that template and be but one building brick in the overall strategy to secure the future of the Club. Whether it is or is not, and it may not be for I may be very wide of the mark and there are an awful lot of ifs and buts in this piece, then a full explanation for the, in my memory, unprecedented price increases and changes in membership structure at a time when the club makes healthy profits would be welcome and would confirm the new and very welcome policy of transparency.



Edited to remove one piece of repetition and one inaccuracy, to improve the flow of the text in one or two places but not to alter the substance and to add one substantive section. For those who have already taken the trouble to plough through this post the substantive addition is marked by *** at its beginning and end.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 19/10/2017 05:26 by Farmer White.

 
Re: Membership Packages
Somerset LaLaLa (IP Logged)
18 October, 2017 23:23
Much appreciated analysis Farmer, worthy of an award of a life membership.

We are a captive market and unlikely to switch allegiance, however ludicrously high prices may mean fans prefer international games elsewhere.

The return of a country membership category would assist those who must travel long distances.

With the prospect of bank interest rate rises and further austerity in the pipeline, the new pricing structure does seem a little strange

 
Re: Membership Packages
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
19 October, 2017 01:48
Forensically incisive commentary FW.

LC's primary mission being to take SCCC to greater things, relies on great skill, team work and leadership. It also relies on bringing the fans on the journey and not alienating them along the way.

I'm not saying that is happening, but at first glance, the increases represented by the new membership structure do seem to put at risk a great deal of goodwill.

Will be interesting to see how this unfolds and is managed over the next few weeks.

Grizzzly

 
Re: Membership Packages
Farmer White (IP Logged)
19 October, 2017 05:33
Many thanks Somerset La La la and Grizzzly for those comments especially Somerset La La La for the award of a life membership!

You both managed to get in between my going to bed and waking up with a start realising I had missed something. If you have the strength it has been added between the sets of ***.

Oh what a chunk of our lifetime allowance of time we allocated when we first discovered Somerset CCC.

 
Re: Membership Packages
geordie moonraker (IP Logged)
19 October, 2017 06:20
There are many of us who now live at a distance who manage one game a season at best and yet are fully committed to Somerset. A return to country membership (150 miles + ) might help but I wonder if a new category of associate member might be good. Pay say £25-£45 a year but pay on the gate for each match attended but with the membership privileges attached as they would be at an away fixture.If we came to no games the club would 50-90 better off. If we managed one game we would spend 110-150 which is affordable. Just a thought.

 
Re: Membership Packages
Bobstan (IP Logged)
19 October, 2017 06:47
How much will admission on the gate be next season? Do we know this yet?
I am,of course, talking about the County Championship.

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