It’s a tough world as Orient cut admission prices

13:31 08 November 2012

Orient chief executive Matt Porter

Orient chief executive Matt Porter

Archant

Porter hopes move will help boost gates

In a bid to boost their flagging attendances, Orient have cut the price of admission for Saturday’s home game with Shrewsbury Town.

The club, whose average attendance has dipped below 4,000 for the first time since the 2004-05 season, have cut adult admission by £5 and concessions by £3 for the remaining home fixtures of 2012.

Orient’s chief executive Matt Porter said: “This is always a time of year when people watch what they spend and we want to help our supporters as much as we can as Christmas looms.”

Orient’s disappointing league position has not helped – but Porter points to the fact that the club have had just three home games on a Saturday as one of the main reasons for the decline in support.

“Six of our nine home games in all competitions have been in midweek,” said Porter.

“Our midweek gate is always lower than on a Saturday.

“Our own fans cannot always make it midweek and it also cuts the travelling attendance.”

A combination of bizarre circumstances has hit Orient hard as their proposed Saturday game with Hartlepool was postponed when their rivals were stuck in traffic.

While the match against Brentford was played on a Thursday night as it was shown live on Sky, and if O’s do progress in the FA Cup, they have been drawn away in both the first and second rounds.

After Saturday’s match against Shrewsbury Town the O’s have just two more home games before Christmas, when they play Preston North End on November 24 and Scunthorpe United on December 15 – which means they would have had just six home games on a Saturday before the festive period.

“The fixture scheduling has been a disaster for us,” admitted Porter.

“And with just three home games between now and Christmas it doesn’t help us getting people down here and using the club shop and other facilities.

“Having just three Saturday home games between the start of the season and the end of October always meant we would take a hit.”

The club forecast that gates would dip this season following the promotion of Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday last season and in recent years the bigger, well-supported teams have also gained promotion.

But Porter hopes that the current average of 3,729, will improve.

“We would expect the the figure to rise as the season balances itself out and we revert to playing at home on weekends more often,” he said.

But Porter believes that Orient’s figures also reflect a nationwide trend across all three division of the Football League, with most teams suffering.

“Three quarters of the teams in our division have suffered a drop in gates and attendances are down by about 10 per cent on average,” he said.

“On recent figures the average crowd for a League One match is 6,181 compared to 6,887 last year and there are several clubs whose attendance is more than 20 per cent down on their 2011-12 figure.

“It’s tough economically and it’s getting harder for lower league clubs because there is so much interest in the Premier League.”

But a drop in revenue also has an impact with the new wage-capping system.

The less revenue that comes in, the less the club will be able to spend on players’ wages.

“With our crowds being down, it will hit our spending power,” admitted Porter.

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