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Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
markismith50 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 12:25
Hi all,

In response to supporter feedback regarding our match v Saracens being moved to Philadelphia, we have put together the following Q&A which addresses the main thrust of the comments we have received, plus the compensation options.

As well as posting it on the club website and club social media channels I felt it was worth giving it a separate thread on here.

Cheers
Smithy


Newcastle Falcons have issued the following Q&A in response to supporter feedback regarding the decision to move their Premiership game against Saracens to Philadelphia on Saturday September 16.

Q: Why were season ticket members not informed at the time of purchase that this game would be played away from Kingston Park Stadium?

A: When season ticket memberships went on sale in February the club were not aware that the game would be played away from Newcastle. This opportunity only arose within the last few weeks, and supporters were told on the day that the contract was signed. Had we known earlier that America was a viable option we would not have included this game in the season ticket membership package.

Q: What compensation will season ticket members receive?

A: We will contact season ticket members directly within the next week. They will be able to choose from one of the following options, and we will be in touch with details of how to activate their choice. At this stage season ticket members do not need to contact the club, and the options are below.

Option 1: A pro-rata cash refund for the loss of this one home game, which will be 1/16 (6.25%) of the price you paid for your season ticket membership. We appreciate some supporters value a Premiership game as being worth more than a cup game, but the reality is that all games in all competitions have the same ticket prices and cost just as much to host from the club’s point of view.

Option 2: Season ticket members can choose two additional match tickets to watch Newcastle Falcons at home during the 2017-18 season. This can be either two extra tickets to one game of your choice, or one extra ticket to two games of your choice. Tickets will be in the equivalent area to where your season ticket is, and will be subject to availability.

Option 3: Season ticket members can choose a credit voucher worth 12.5% of the value of their season ticket. This credit can be used in the club shop, for Falcons home match tickets or against your 2018-19 season ticket membership.

Option 4: For those season ticket members able to make it to the game in Philadelphia, you will receive an equivalent ticket to the match.

Option 5: If supporters feel strongly enough that they want a full refund on their entire season ticket membership, this can be done via the club ticket office.

Additionally, all season ticket members will be invited to a free TV screening event at Kingston Park on September 16, with some food and drink laid on by the club. Full details will be circulated once the kick-off time is known, but this event will be in addition to the refund, voucher or additional ticket offers above.

Seasonal corporate clients will be contacted separately regarding their compensation options.

Q: Why are the Falcons moving this game overseas?

A: It represents a huge commercial opportunity for the club, and the additional revenue received will be considerable. The club want to move away from being a loss-making business to one that breaks even and is sustainable in every way.

We will not hide the fact that the money we make from this fixture will be around three times what we would have made by staging it in Newcastle. This enables us to fund the considerable investment we are putting into our playing squad and facilities. In addition to the funds we generate directly from moving the fixture it is also a fantastic opportunity to grow the club's brand in the world’s biggest emerging rugby market. NBC Sports are showing the game live in the USA as part of their growing partnership with the league and it will be a great occasion to be part of.

Q: Does this move demonstrate that the Falcons do not care about their supporters?

A: We as a club care passionately about our supporters, although we do appreciate and understand the disappointment felt by some with regards to this game being switched. We give the most tickets out of any rugby club in the country to our supporters for the England international ticket ballot, we have brought in initiatives like free curry after all of our home games and we continue to offer some of the best value season tickets in the league.

The club have funded the 1877 Bar, new big screen and re-vamped the entire stadium PA system. All this has been done to enhance the match-day experience. We host regular talk-ins with our supporters where the club's top decision makers take unvetted questions from the floor, and our supporters are absolutely central to our continued growth.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 19/05/2017 12:31 by markismith50.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 12:55
To be honest I would have been happy with either a bit of dosh back or watching the game with nosh with my fellow supporters. Of the two I would have gone for the big screen, nosh & a pint.

More than happy to be offered both.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Exiled Falcon (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 13:09
Even by very crude calculations the amount of money to be made, three times the revenue of hosting the game at home, must be well North of £350,000 extra presumably. Put in those terms it really is an opportunity that can't be turned down. In crude terms, it's the salary for a top drawer player for a year.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19/05/2017 13:09 by Exiled Falcon.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
steve1888 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 13:19
All seems fair enough , what about ST's purchased from now will be they be reduced or come with two extra tickets for another game?

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
markismith50 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 13:35
That's a very valid question, Steve.

From tomorrow onwards, all season tickets sold will be reduced in price by one sixteenth.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
dick g (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 13:39
Thanks Smithy. A measured response. And with the team we now have, let's surprise the Yanks -and the Fezheads -and take a home win.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
London_Falcon (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 13:41
Smithy - I'm not a season ticket holder as I'm too far away to get to games, so maybe I'm not as upset as others, but can I say that I think the club have done a pretty good job at damage limitation here. The timings were outside you control, and not ideal, but once the decision was made I think the communications have been pretty good.

The above choices of compensation seem pretty fair to me.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
markismith50 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 13:52
Thanks LF,

With the benefit of hindsight we could have waited until details of the compensation packages were all 100% signed off before we announced, but we wanted to let supporters know about the game as soon as we could (we did this literally on the day the contract was signed, when Mick was on the way back from Philadelphia).

The delay between Wednesday's initial announcement and today's statement about compensation is probably the source of most angst, and we do understand that.

We absolutely respect the fact supporters will be disappointed at losing the 'home' fixture, but hopefully we have at least explained our thinking and put in place what most people seem to be accepting as reasonable compensation options.

It has certainly been a learning experience, and we appreciate the understanding being shown by most supporters.

Cheers
Smithy

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Exiled Falcon (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:00
To be fair Smithy most supporters realise (or hopefully do) the economic situation we are in and opportunities like this don't present themselves very often.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
falconsfan07 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:03
Indeed EF,

I'm dissapointed to be losing a home fixture, but it's for the best interests of the club and the chance to make some much needed dosh.

I'll get behind the boys as usual. COYF!!

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
CharlieDog (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:04
I'd be very interested to know if anyone takes up the option of a full refund (option 5)........ I suspect the numbers will be very very small (someone probably will to prove a point but otherwise I'd guess none).

Time to appreciate this is for the longer term benefit of the club and ultimately therefore us and move on.....

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Exiled Falcon (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:04
Meant to say FF7, you said you were volunteering in Africa in one of your previous posts, good on you.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19/05/2017 14:05 by Exiled Falcon.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Leipziger (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:15
Cheers Smithy. Fair dos to the club bosses for admitting that this is a money-making and commercial venture.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
falconsfan07 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:18
Quote:
Exiled Falcon
Meant to say FF7, you said you were volunteering in Africa in one of your previous posts, good on you.

Oh aye, Im away with ICS volunteering programme so I'll be missing a few games up until christmas...this was a great opportunity I just couldn't turn down, still keeping my season ticket though.

Although I just felt a little bit dissapointed for other supporters that they would miss the game, this will only bring in some much needed dollar, and supporters aside, this will be a fantastic experience for all the players at the club.

Hope they make the most of it.

Thanks for your kind words!

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
jokboy (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:36
Fair play to the club and to Smithy for responding as quickly as they have to all the negativety.The club has done it for financial reasons (as have Saracens again the top team in Europe) and good luck to them we have now got possibly the strongest squad we have ever had an if that means losing one game a year to finance players of the calibre of Toby Flood coming to us rather than players of that class leaving us then I am all for it.
I think it should be hats off to the club for the publicity in the rugby circles that this has already generated

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
toontyke (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:54
May I ask is there to be a refund for the parking too for those who have paid for the parking pass too in addition to the season ticket

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
AJfalc (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:54
I'll accept it is 16 games for my ST if we play a full strength team against the top teams in Europe but if we continue to play fringe players in cup games against no hope teams will it be 11 games for my ST or now 10 games?

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
markismith50 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 14:58
toontyke,

That's a valid question. I've passed it up the chain and been told that yes, parking pass holders will have the option of a 6.25% refund on the cost of their pass, or a 12.5% credit voucher.

Parking passes bought from tomorrow onwards will be reduced in price by one sixteenth.

Cheers
Smithy



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19/05/2017 15:00 by markismith50.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
toontyke (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 15:08
Thank you Mr Smith

Regards

Anthony

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Rafpilot2000 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 15:43
Got to be honest , I think the club has pulled a blinder getting such a high profile match against the best team in Europe. It's great that our club can be an ambassador for the game in a country where rugby is one of the biggest up and coming sports. There is no home advantage loss realistically as even with our progression on field this season it is unlikely it is one we would win. Equally, the additional revenue generated may go a long way to pay for Mr Flood's arrival which is another excellent coup for us. I don't have a season ticket for this coming year but the level of complaining seems to be excessive given the measures that are being instigated by the club by way of compensation .
For those people threatening to demand a refund for their season ticket, does that mean your just not going to go to any matches next year? Or are you going to pay more than the cost of your season ticket by paying individually for the home games?
Bottom line, some people clearly like to whinge, when the club needs a big pat on the back for increasing revenue commercially whilst working hard to enhance the match day experience whilst developing on the field with a fraction of the budget of some of the teams we beat last year.
Great work Smithy and thank you for being willing to engage on the forum

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
markismith50 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 15:53
Thanks RAF,

In fairness, since we put out the statement about compensation options we haven't really had any complaints.

Even if people don't agree with us moving the game they generally seem to think our offers are reasonable, and we do understand the initial complaints during the period where our compensation options weren't known.

Cheers
Smithy

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
pityacker (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 16:06
I cant help but notice in the postings a softening of attitude and some even quoting how well the club have done in getting such a fixture to raise capital well sorry I cant agree I feel its a kick in the teeth reducing first class Premier fixtures from 11 to 10 and to top it all the prime fixture of the entire season.Havnt decided which compensation option I will take yet as the only compensation I would like is to see Saracens play Falcons at KP next season not in front of host of Americans who mostly couldnt care less about rugby.Unforgiveable.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
rubyrhone (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 16:30
Pityacker - I don't always agree with some of your posts on other topics but in this instance I think you are right. Funny how promise of compensation has stopped most of the complaints.
I though folk were more upset to have a top class match taken away from us for purely commercial reasons rather than the fact that they would lose money.
As far as I am concerned compensation wasn't an issue - it was being made to feel like a bit of merchandise in a business rather than a supporter.
Anyway I can't make a 50 mile journey to KP just for the TV match and a beer or two while there - driving - so thats out.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Rafpilot2000 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 17:20
Just a quick thought mark, having been in the states alot training with work, I often note that Newcastle brown ale is surprisingly stocked in most bars and seem as a European import speciality beer. Given that there are clear export sales , is there any feasibility in getting Newcastle brown ale sponsorship on next seasons shirts?

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
trummy200 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 17:48
Some may not like this but Newcastle Brown Ale is as insipid as that stuff that Anheuser-Busch keeps promoting (not the Czech product)- Budweiser! I know I used to drink it before I educated myself in many pubs the width and breadth of the Country.
Sorry, somewhat off topic but beer drinking is a wonderful hobby and I could not resist.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
markismith50 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 17:50
Our commercial team are on with the task of finding sponsors, it's not an area I will claim any expertise in. Though I do know Brown Ale is brewed in Yorkshire these days, despite the 'Newcastle' name.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
NorfolkFalcon (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 19:01
So who's looking at going to Philadelphia? I'm looking at the options, will be a great occasion.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Kwa444 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 19:03
Something made me chuckle at the irony of putting a beer brewed in Yorkshire, with the Newcastle name, on the shirt of a rugby team with the Newcastle name,playing in Philadelphia.... somehow apt ... though only if the price is right of course!

Sorry - very churlish of me - couldn't resist though. I guess the decision is made. I don't really care where the game is played as long as we win. I know the players are always committed but the club better make sure that of all the games we play they make sure we win this one.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Rafpilot2000 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 19:19
Maybe to the educated it sounds cliche but your average American will not know the difference between hunberside and Tyneside but they will recognise the name. And I would suggest, albeit opening myself up to mockery that Newcastle brown Ale has more of a link with Newcastle than IPA. And is anyone telling me that the blue star wouldn't look good on our black shirts?

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
A tramp abroad (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 19:37
Agreed, not just in America but elsewhere in the world also.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
falconbear (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 19:45
Quote:
Rafpilot2000
Just a quick thought mark, having been in the states alot training with work, I often note that Newcastle brown ale is surprisingly stocked in most bars and seem as a European import speciality beer. Given that there are clear export sales , is there any feasibility in getting Newcastle brown ale sponsorship on next seasons shirts?

Or 'Philadelphia Cheese'...

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Rafpilot2000 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 20:06
Touché

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 20:20
Quote:
Rafpilot2000
Touché

Please don't do that Pilot, at first glance it reminded me of....











http://cdn.pinknews.co.uk/images/richardwilson.jpg

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
alchemist (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 20:38
Monkey,

:-) whatever happened to TL? Is he lurking behind a different moniker? Didn't you share a garden hedge?

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 20:56
I moved deep, deep into the countryside.

For all I know he is now keeping bees on the Sussex Downs.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Exiled Falcon (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 21:36
No probs FF7, really admire anyone doing what you're doing.

Back to the Brown Ale, in the first Taken film Liam Neeson's character's mates brought round a load of Brown Ale. Maybe some sort of a Brown Ale related sponsorship may be a good idea, bearing in mind it is well known over there probably unlike us. (Just keep it's brewing source quiet!)

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
lebigmac69 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 22:36
Good response from the club; much better now they've had a chance to think about it.

Perhaps those in charge got a bit giddy when the contract was signed (understandably so) and didn't quite think through how this was going to be received.

I'm still disappointed that I don't get to watch Sarries and their lions contingent, but understand the commercial realities of the situation and now that a sensible, thought-out offer to the loyal fans that are missing out has been put forward it's am much more palatable offer.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
markismith50 (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 23:05
Hi Lebigmac, thanks for the comment. The swift announcement was not due to being 'giddy'. We'd heard it was going to leak in the media, and we wanted fans to hear it from us rather in the paper.

In an ideal world we'd have waited 2 days and announced everything together, but it was not possible.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Leipziger (IP Logged)
19 May, 2017 23:07
Quote:
pityacker
Unforgiveable.

You say that but also admit that most people seem to be getting over it, and although I'm still not overly happy about this, it's happening and life goes on. As long as it doesn't happen every season, this time next year we'll probably not care very much.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Kwa444 (IP Logged)
20 May, 2017 00:11
Monkey - does that not make TL some sort of Sherlock Holmes? I believe that was his chosen location and hobby once retired....

Smithy - scurrilous lot that fourth estate, can't trust 'em further than you can throw them!

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
lebigmac69 (IP Logged)
20 May, 2017 07:55
Quote:
markismith50
Hi Lebigmac, thanks for the comment. The swift announcement was not due to being 'giddy'. We'd heard it was going to leak in the media, and we wanted fans to hear it from us rather in the paper.
In an ideal world we'd have waited 2 days and announced everything together, but it was not possible.

Cheers for clarifying. I had images of Mick clapping his hands excitedly on the plane home whilst publishing the story!

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
.Mick Hogan (IP Logged)
20 May, 2017 10:31
Quote:
lebigmac69
Quote:
markismith50
Hi Lebigmac, thanks for the comment. The swift announcement was not due to being 'giddy'. We'd heard it was going to leak in the media, and we wanted fans to hear it from us rather in the paper.
In an ideal world we'd have waited 2 days and announced everything together, but it was not possible.

Cheers for clarifying. I had images of Mick clapping his hands excitedly on the plane home whilst publishing the story!

Lebigmac its fair to say that after catching the overnight flight back and having approximately 2 mins 27 seconds of sleep in a space tighter than a Yorkshireman's wallet I wasn't clapping excitedly at anything...

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
lizard118 (IP Logged)
20 May, 2017 11:30
And nice touch to have both Mick and Smithy give us their input on here. It's a dying trait on many boards. Praise we're it's due and all that..

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Rafpilot2000 (IP Logged)
20 May, 2017 19:28
In truth, thus forum only represents a small quarter of the falcons faithful , but gratitude and respect goes to Mr Smith and Mr Hogsn for engaging on here. The club is in a good place both on the pitch and in developing the matchday experience and seems to be going in the right direction too within our relative limited club budget. Whilst a loss to Kingston park , the option to promote Rugby Union in the USA is an honour and an opportunity. Of course we like to grumble as we would obviously like to see Falcons as champions of Europe and Premiership winners but that is purely a down to the passion and love for the club that our fans have.
Hopefully the USA game will help sponsorship opportunities and promote the name and the city beyond our shores.
I know it's early days , but will there be opportunity to watch the Saracens game on tv?

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
20 May, 2017 21:20
Quote:
Rafpilot2000
but will there be opportunity to watch the Saracens game on tv?

Kick off time permitting the club would like to put the game on at KP on the screens in the Tap & Tackle with some nosh, should be a great night out. For those who can't get to KP it will be on BT Sport.

 
Re: Club Q&A regarding Philadelphia switch
dick g (IP Logged)
20 May, 2017 22:55
Quote:
Kwa444
Monkey - does that not make TL some sort of Sherlock Holmes? I believe that was his chosen location and hobby once retired....
Smithy - scurrilous lot that fourth estate, can't trust 'em further than you can throw them!

As a retired member of the Fourth Estate I challenge anybody to throw me as far as thry like...


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