As the mist starts to lift on the dawn of a ‘new era’ at Meadow Lane, no one can deny the positive impact Alan Hardy has had following his tumultuous acquisition of Notts County.
Since taking official ownership of the club, Hardy has without doubt used his sound business sense, relentless endeavour and seemingly deep pockets to good affect with the club looking much healthier both on and off the field than it did just a few short weeks ago.
His contributions to this turnaround are well documented from providing short-term financial security for a club allegedly on the brink of extinction to inserting a football manager that has inspired improvements that suggest we can remain in League 2.
Hardy was asked during one of his Q&A sessions on Twitter if the recent match day ticket reductions for home fans would continue to which he replied prices could be even cheaper if we increase attendances. “It’s a simple case of macroeconomics,” he said.
It was this comment that got me thinking: Was this just a soundbite? Is he really applying economic business strategies in his decision making or is he simply capitalising on the very low-hanging fruit in the Meadow Lane orchards in his attempts to make a quick and transcendent impact?
True to his word, ticket prices for the upcoming fixture at home to Cheltenham have indeed been reduced to just £12.
Certainly, you can use a macroeconomic case for ticket prices. A simple calculation tells you that 6,000 people paying £12 per ticket will not provide the revenue of 4,000 people paying £20 per ticket, but just over 6,500 will.
Essentially it’s a case of testing out the market, finding your true average and balancing that out against your desired revenue. This will in turn determine the optimum ticket price that is acceptable to both your business model and your paying customer. Simple macroeconomics.
But, let’s not beat around the bush. Things at the Lane were probably at the lowest ebb they could possibly have been for some time. Financially the club was quite literally staring into the abyss, player confidence was through the floor with relegation out of the football league a real possibility and supporter morale probably the lowest I have experienced as a fan for some time.
It is times like this that even the simplest and most obvious of changes, like taking a punt on reduced entrance fees, can have a hugely positive impact. Quite simply, you are feasting on the short-term benefits of low-hanging fruit.
Please don’t think for one minute that I am undermining the time, money and passion that Hardy has invested in Notts during the early days of his stewardship. I’m simply pointing out that the issues addressed so far, are without doubt the ones that will provide the club with the immediate impact required to engage with a lost and disenfranchised customer base.
However, I would advise caution, you can’t please everyone all of the time.
For me, as a business owner myself, I find Hardy’s approach refreshing and it has filled me with some optimism for the future that the club will move forward from this point with an economically deduced strategy of financial sustainability. Long may it last.
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