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FAN LETTERS: Would exiled Sunderland supporters benefit from flexible season card options?

Once again, the question of how exiles can follow the Lads is central to today’s Fan Letters. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in a future edition.

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Dear Roker Report,

I’ve been thinking about how exiles like me, and others for whom a season card isn’t an option (for whatever reason), can show our commitment to the new regime and back the lads for the next season. As we’re likely to be somewhat below stadium capacity I wonder if the new hierarchy would consider a part-season ticket offer? My idea of how it might work below.

If you think there’s something in it, feel free to pass it on to Don the next time you see him...and keep up the good work! Great for us exiles to have the Pod and other content to keep us going.

Sunderland Exiles – ticket offer

Offer to purchase tickets for home games – a six-pack or a 12-pack. You pay up-front for six (or 12) tickets to home games. You confirm which games you want to attend at least a week in advance – first come first served basis should a game sell-out (here’s hoping!) – and the club confirms your seat and issues the match-day ticket. If you don’t use all 6 (or 12) tickets before the end of the season

What’s in it for the club?

Higher attendances and more money up-front and if exiles (like me) think they might get to four or five home games we might still buy a six-pack up-front so the club gets the money even if we only get to five of them. They would need to make sure that it’s still a much better deal to get a full season ticket so that this offer only provides a slight benefit to those for whom a season ticket isn’t an option (for whatever reason).

What’s in it for the exile?

We get to show commitment/loyalty to the team when a season ticket is not possible. I know that part-season tickets have been offered before but they tend to be first- or second-half of the season so still not an option for exiles. This gives flexibility on games but still bigger commitment and money up-front.

Could also look at adding other incentives. I think tickets for away games should stay with currently loyalty system – it’s only fair that those following the lads home and away all the time get first choice. However, perhaps the club could offer something for those taking up this exiles offer – perhaps a chance for priority for one nominated away game (two for the 12-pack)? Or maybe just priority before general sale or something for cup games or where there’s a bigger allocation?

Jon Adamson

Ed’s Note [JN]: If viable, it’s a good option by both ensuring fiscal value to the club and flexibility to the fan. However, is it cost-effective to fans? Missing one or more game would likely push the ticket prices above regular, individual ones.

I think an exiles system would be to a benefit though, if say a loyalty points system was implemented alongside in addition to the Exiles tickets.

Photo by Steve Drew - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Just wanted to drop a line - I read the article about the loyalty system for exiled supporters. I’m not a lifer or anything - I’m over here in the US, and I watched Sunderland in the Premier League and a few games last season.

I’ve actually taken up an interest in the club with the two successive drops, and I’m intrigued to see if the team can rebound.

Sunderland fans are lucky to have a good Podcast and social media presence from you guys at Roker Report covering the team - I’ll tell you here in Chicago we don’t have diddly squat about the Chicago Fire!

Joe Cromwell

Ed’s Note [JN]: As always we appreciate the kind words, we’re just avid about the Lads and spend our spare time immersing ourselves with everything Sunderland.

Glad to have you on board!

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Hello from across the pond!

I’m an American who lived in the North East for a bit over a year and fell in love with Sunderland AFC, standing in the SOL during our home win against Everton to relegate the Mags in May of 2016.

To be honest, this last season tried my patience as a supporter trying to watch my team live. My choices were either to shut my ears and eyes from the world (and Roker Report) and watch the replay the next day, listen to the live radio broadcast on the SAFC website (which wasn’t terrible but also not ideal), or watch away games on some sh*t bootleg stream of the other team’s stadium.

Is there any news yet, considering the recent takeover that has me excited and reinvigorated as a fan to no end, about streaming from the SOL next season? I’m unfamiliar with the contracts concerning streaming in League 1, but I would kill to watch home games live next season and I’m wondering if this is a chance at all? Thanks in advance for any speculation or comments you can provide!

Ha’way the Lads!

Alex Koch

Ed’s Note [JN]: As approached in yesterday’s edition, iFollow is available. We’ve provided links to all the necessary details in the replies. I do hope Sunderland sign up to the service, it is simply one camera and a streaming set-up. Essentially the same costs as the current full 90 coverage after the game, but live. Sunderland have one of the largest groups of exiled fans of any club in England, and it really does need to be vastly improved.