Mansfield Town let fans set admission price

Mansfield Town have offered their fans the chance to pay whatever they want for their team’s home game against Gateshead on Saturday. Think the game’s worth a fiver? Then that’s what it’ll cost you.

Obviously it’s not something you could ask, or should expect, every club to replicate but it’s a very nice gesture and we’re intrigued to see whether or not they match their usual gate receipts.

The Stags, currently occupying a play-off berth in the Blue Square Premier, had 2,882 fans attend their last home game – a 4-0 win over Chester City. While that’s still a solid crowd by non-league standards there’s room for plenty more in the 10,000 capacity Field Mill.

While it’s almost inevitable that most fans will choose to pay less than they would otherwise have the hope is obviously that the extra folk who come along more than cover the cost even if they don’t pay as much per person. More bodies through the turnstile also means more pints and pies sold.

Good luck to the club – if this means cheaper tickets, more people through the gates, and a better atmosphere all round while the club still gets the same income we’re obviously all for it. We’d suggest they leave a bucket for people on the way out as well. You never know, if it’s a storming 5-4 thriller people might even stick a few extra quid in post-game.

Credit to the Stags for extending the offer to the Gateshead’s travelling support too. We receive loads of complaints from away fans who’ve spent fortunes following their team across the land only to find out that home fans are paying less to get in than them and it’s a real kick in the teeth. Nice to see it’s not the case here.

Bizarrely the tale has even been picked up by the Brazilian press with Globo Esporte reporting the story. For those of you who can’t speak Portuguese here’s a link to some evening classes at your local college. Although it might be a little quicker to check out the English translation here, well worth a read for some interesting turns of phrase.

The scheme has drawn comparisons with a campaign at FC United of Manchester too. In last year’s pre-season the club announced they would allow their supporters to set their own season ticket prices, although there was a £90 lower limit. The decision was hailed a ‘resounding success’ by FC United who eventually raised more than the targeted £125,000 from season ticket sales.

However the originators of this, the ultimate free market technique, were those well known musical pioneers Radiohead. In 2007 they decided to allow fans to download their In Rainbows album for whatever they wished to pay.

The band have always remained tight-lipped around the average amount forked out (apparently in order to maintain the album’s mystique) but estimates vary wildly from £1-£4. More than 1.2m fans did however download the album prior to its digital release date – a figure Gigwise described as ‘unprecedented’.

Only time will tell if so many turn up at Field Mill…

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