Technology has plenty of benefits and has improved many parts of society, including lots of aspects within football. And, after Sunderland successfully secured their place in the Checkatrade trophy final in March it was announced that tickets for the final would be sold via the online platform, Ticketmaster.
This seemed efficient for most fans savvy with technology, but to those who aren’t they struggled to get hold of a ticket for the match against Portsmouth. Sunderland’s allocation did sell out, but the upcoming Playoff Final could end up otherwise if early projections are anything to go by.
Before phase three was opened up less than 30,000 of Sunderland’s 37,700 tickets had been sold. And, 24 hours into the third phase of sales, there were apparently still over 5000 tickets available.
There are obvious excuses for people who can’t attend, such as the financial cost of visiting London twice in two months, and other more important commitments, but I believe that the main problem here is that the online-only method of selling tickets makes the entire process less accessible for fans who aren’t technologically savvy.
The new scheme of selling tickets online seems efficient, but if it results in thousands of tickets going unsold then it’s a system which needs tweaking.
As this is the adopted platform for away games from next season onward it needs to be more appealing and accessible to ALL Sunderland fans. The fact that it might take going to general sale to sell out a Wembley trip shows, in my opinion, that it’s a system a significant portion of our supporters can’t get to grips with.
A further point to the slow purchase of sales could be the lack of build up and promotion the club have given compared to that of the Checkatrade Final. This is a huge game and the last chance for the club to achieve its goal for this season of promotion, therefore the lack of promotion and hype coming out from the club seems a tad unusual. If we hadn’t already been to Wembley this year, Sunday’s playoff final would surely have now sold out.
However, the combination of financial costs and the fact the game falls on a bank holiday weekend suggests that it was always going to be harder for people to get along, and that extra effort from everyone was needed to try and help everyone who wants to get a ticket, get a ticket - including the club.
The campaign for the Portsmouth final was superb, with tickets selling out rapidly. The playoff semi final first leg against Pompey was different and it showed the importance of promoting a big match as there was a big drop in the crowd. The atmosphere was still great at the SoL, but the lack of interest in such an important match was disappointing.
As of yet, the Charlton playoff final has in my opinion yet to be properly promoted to the people who are still humming and harring over whether they can or should go. Hopefully the remaining tickets are sold, by hook or by crook, ensuring that the lads have a full backing behind them when they take to the pitch at Wembley on Sunday.