Coventry City backlash and calls for 'rethink' after Doug King announces new Family Zone policy

Coventry City have suffered a backlash from fans after announcing plans to ensure the Family Zone at the CBS Arena is full on more occasions than has been the case this last season, while also revealing that a new Ticket Exchange system will be put in place for supporters who can’t get to certain matches.

The news hasn’t gone down well among some Sky Blues supporters, some of whom are demanding a “rethink” by the club with one fan saying that owner Doug King has “missed the mark by a country mile,” and saying that the new policy “stinks”. On the flip side, others have made comments like, “can’t understand the meltdown,” and “seems fair”.

The club says that they are going to be changing the terms and conditions of Family Zone Season Tickets for the 2024/25 season following feedback and ticket demand for the cheapest area of the ground.

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A club statement explains: “Around 1/3 of Family Zone seats are being unused each matchday, which means that other supporters are missing out on our fantastic offer for this area and the chance to support the Sky Blues from these seats. We all want to see the Arena as full as possible and fans enjoying the amazing matchday atmosphere too.

“With these seats being sold seasonally but unused, it effectively means that these seats are blocked for use by others who want to join their children/nieces/nephews in this area. This is unfair. With this in mind, we are making changes to the Terms and Conditions that apply in the Family Zone area.

“For games where fans are not able to attend in the Family Zone, it will be possible to use the new Ticket Exchange system for fixtures – with the full details confirmed during the summer. Added to Family Zone area Terms and Conditions, if fans are unable to attend then they must put their tickets on the Ticket Exchange. Failure to do this on three occasions or more will result in your Season Ticket being revoked for the remainder of the season with the seats being offered on a match-by-match basis to those who qualify. Furthermore, using the Ticket Exchange on more than 10 occasions will also result in your Season Ticket being revoked for the remainder of the season – no refunds will be given.

Those who fall foul of these requirements will also unfortunately be restricted from purchasing/renewing for the 2025/26 campaign in the Family Zone.

Coventry City Owner and Executive Chairman Doug King said: “As many will have seen as the season has progressed and having personally witnessed the wonderful open training session put on for club sponsors and Junior Sky Blues, we have a fast growing and vibrant youth section who are reengaging with the club.

“We were of course very pleased with the response to and uptake for the Family Zone area in 2023/24 season – it was a fantastic offer for the future generation of supporters and their families. There were, however, far too many games that, whilst the Arena was extremely well sold and at times sold-out, the actual number coming to the Arena to take their seats there was disappointing.

“We understand that fans may not be able to attend every game, which is why we are introducing participation requirements and the Ticket Exchange for this zone and I know that all those who renew their Season Ticket this year will understand the reasons for this.”

It’s understood that the club have also seen some fans abusing the discounted Family Zone area by buying an adult season ticket at £250 plus a child ticket for £50 (£300 in total) and not bringing the junior to many games rather than paying £400 for a season ticket in the standard zone. There have also been cases where some fans have bought tickets in the Family Zone and then routinely moved to spare seats in other areas of the ground.

Here’s what fans have been saying on the subject that has certainly caused a stir among the Sky Blue Army:

gmkonline: For all the good Doug King has done, very few of them have been aimed at children of the younger fan base. We come from Manchester, 12 of the home games this season were midweek. Frankly, this stinks.

Dale Harris: Understand what Doug is trying to do here, but he’s missed the mark by a country mile. Those Season Tickets were bought with the understanding football was played on a Saturday at 3pm a large majority of the time, and this absolutely wasn’t the case this season.

Simon Miller: This is appalling when so many families buy tickets and games are switched to midweek evening games - they are the clubs future.

Harby Garchay: There are far to many mid week game this seasons. How can parents bring their kids on a school night. Especially in the winter as well. This should only apply to weekend games.

Lee Marlowe: You’ve paid for a ticket and yet holding people to ransom... you do know we have fans travelling long distances, kids that can’t go night games and fixtures constantly being changed. It won’t affect me but this is really out of touch IMO. Football is about fans 1st and foremost.

Bully: My seat bought & paid for, my choice if it stays empty. My kids choose on the day whether they want to attend because they are kids, midweek especially. Every midweek game costs me £250 to attend away from work so I’ll respectfully step aside for a family who can more regularly.

RichO: This is outrageous. The seats are empty because we don’t get many 3pm kick offs anymore. What do you want a 6 year old to do on a night match? I get the sense you’re going to be issuing a retraction on this policy soon. You took the @skytv money. Don’t punish the kids.

Antony Cook: How does this affect children who have season tickets in the Family Zone but cannot attend night games due to the games being too late and having school the next day? This unfairly appears to be penalising fans with young children.

Papa Roche: I mean this is a bit ridiculous. Tell you why there will have been empty seats... We had about seven 3pm kickoffs all season. You want people dragging their 6-10 year olds to the stadium at 8 at night 15 times a year. Does this only apply to adults or kids tickets too?

Rick Cushen: This is poor. The rescheduled midweek games should not count as part of the “missed” matches, some parents can’t keep their younger out that late. Please rethink this approach.

Greg Sherrington: Fair approach and cracking down on people abusing system. However this is tricky for genuine families with young children now - will have to buy season tickets without seeing fixture lists.

Andy Bentley: Is this not more to stop the people who buy a kids ticket purely for the cheap season ticket and not bring the kid? The people who are moaning are probably the same people who will moan when the club aren’t spending!

Paul Adams: Wow this is actually appalling. “No refund given”. Either 3 consecutive matches or 10 in a season missed and you lose your paid season ticket. I get losing it, but not giving a partial refund is abysmal. Imagine the fallout when this happens. Life doesn’t revolve around ccfc

Bobbygodo: As a family ST holder I’m not against this tbh and could actually help when wanting to take friends and family. However I’d say it’s not the family section that needs to been shown as being fuller but the posh seats in the main stand that need filling more. Looks bad on tv.

Matt SBA: Not sure I get the uproar... If a kid can only attend 10 games a season, just buy them individual tickets for games they can attend. Club doesn’t want thousands of 5yo to have STs that only attend 10 games a year. More chance for more fans this way.

Neil Johnson: I think the club have misjudged this. 19,000 season tickets sold from a 30,000 home end. There are always tickets if you want them. There were only seven 3pm Saturday KOs this season and 12 midweek games. Surely it’s not right to force under 16’s to go if they have school too?

Sid: I get the need to crack down. Where I sit in Block 34 with my lad, there are so many blokes whom I’ve never seen kids with them. Buying an adult and an U18 ticket together for £350 last season was great value, and many abuse this through buying a ST for their fictitious kid.

Robert Smith: Silly decision. My kids and I have season tickets in the FZ. If it’s Saturday kick off it’s always busy with plenty of kids attending. It’s the sheer number of midweek games that’s the main problem. We probably won’t be renewing.

Chickenzombie: I love what Doug has done since taking over but this isn’t it. I hope to see him tweak this policy like he adjusted family zone season ticket prices last year.

TwoCathedrals: This is a big miss given the number of games moved to evenings for TV. If you must have a quota for the number of times someone doesn’t exchange their tickets then ok, but revoking if someone uses the exchange more than 10 times isn’t right unless this only applies to Saturdays.

OJ: It makes perfect sense. If you’re going to buy / renew a season ticket. Then use it to go to the games. If you can’t make some, you have 9 opportunities to give up your seat in the exchange. 9… that’s nearly half a season. If you’re not going to that many, don’t get a ST.

Pete Didgeon: I think a ticket exchange system is a good idea but genuine fans who have young children shouldn’t be penalised for not being able to go to evening games. If you want to clamp down on those who have abused the system, find another way of doing it than this esp with ST cards.

Martin Shaw: My 10 yr old son had his first season ticket this season. May not have bothered if I knew how many games would be moved but we did attend every game despite having a 3 hour round trip! The option to resell is a positive move for those who can’t attend every game...

Colin Kiley: Think this is wrong to take season tickets off people for missing 3 games. My kids missed a few games due to illness etc, plus we never have Saturday kick offs anymore. I’d get it if we sold out every week & needed to sell extra tickets but we only sold out a few games.

James Spittle: Just had another read of this and there is very little support for the approach. Coventry City, please do the right thing and listen to your supporters. Needs a rethink.

PUSB-Lee: For the first time Doug you have got this totally wrong , I live in Devon and have season tickets for me, my dad and 2 of my daughters who are under 10 years of age. In total we attended only 8 or 9 home games in total because of 3pm being moved, we spent in excess of £1500.

PBilling: Can’t understand the meltdown. If you can’t attend 10 of the 23 home games surely a season ticket isn’t suitable.

My name Jeff: Good idea to make tickets available that otherwise would be left empty. At the end of the day you know games will get moved from 3pm on a Saturday it’s the way the game is nowadays.

Justin Locker: Seems fair. It’s embarrassing when it’s meant to be a sell out crowd but still so many empty seats.

Steve: This is a joke when so many games are arranged for a midweek school evening. Sky change games at the drop of a hat. Also should this not apply across the stadium rather than targeting young supporters?! Lost count of games rearranged from 3pm Saturday to midweek this season.

Chris: Not sure about this. Particularly in advance of the fixtures being announced and the fact the TV people will THEN decide how much disruption they intend to commit. Good luck selling Season Tickets though.

Sue Scott: Good to see that you are dealing with those that abuse the system!

Chris Mutton: This is outrageous , when games are moved all over the place people can’t get to them , especially those with kids - disgraceful Coventry City.

BadManBadly: Bravo Doug. Those that are outraged by this should really consider if a season ticket is the right thing for them. Would probably be better suited buying individual tickets for the matches they feel they can make. Season tickets are a commitment.

Patrick: What the....! You get someone to pay for a seat & then if they don’t use it more than 3 times, you take it off them? Absolutely ridiculous & completely out of touch. Understand the sentiment about having a full stadium but this is wrong.

Will you be renewing your season ticket in the family zone? Tell us what you think in the comments HERE: