Nottingham Forest warned of 'negative impact' of season ticket price rises in hard-hitting message

Many Nottingham Forest fans face an increase in City Ground season card prices for next season
Many Nottingham Forest fans face an increase in City Ground season card prices for next season -Credit:PA

Nottingham Forest have come under fire for “very substantial” price increases announced for 2024/25 season cards.

The club released details of their season card prices on Tuesday, with the announcement swiftly followed by news of plans to introduce sections of safe standing at the City Ground. Forest have said theirs remain among the “most affordable” season cards in the Premier League.

However, many fans have seen huge increases in the cost of their season cards. Moreover, the Reds will still have two games to play after the May 10 deadline for renewals with the possibility their top-flight status could still be in the balance.

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A statement from the Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Trust (NFST) said: “NFST notes the announcement by the club of very substantial price increases in season card prices for all sections of the City Ground. We bitterly regret both the scale of these increases and the fact that the fan groups making up the new Fan Advisory Board (FAB) have not been properly consulted in advance.”

Chairman Tom Cartledge has said: “We aspire to keep our Season Cards amongst the most affordable in the League. At the same time, it is imperative that the club continues to grow financially in order to remain competitive, particularly in light of the forthcoming squad cost ratio rules, which will cap spending as a percentage of club revenues.”

Forest say they have “simplified the pricing structure”. However, the changes will have a significant impact on many fans, not least as a result of an adjustment to age categories.

On Tuesday night, the club posted on social media that they had broken their season card renewals record in “just seven hours” with renewals said to be up 50 percent compared to the same point last year. They also wrote: “Now over 11,000 fans signed up to our Official Season Card Waiting List since launch. An incredible demonstration of the huge demand to follow Forest. Thank you.”

The messages have been criticised for “not reading the room” given the strength of feeling among fans. Likewise, the decision to announce plans for safe standing has been deemed a “deflection strategy”.

The Trust’s statement added: “The Trust conducted an extensive exercise to gather opinion from members and other fans about potential price rises. These views were submitted to the club at the most recent FAB meeting with the overwhelming consensus being only modest increases in line with inflation would be acceptable. The average price increases actually imposed are totally disproportionate to the current inflation rate.

“It is accepted that season card pricing at Forest had been at the lower end of that at other Premier League clubs, however such extreme increases over a single season, during the ongoing cost of living crisis, will massively impact a large number of loyal fans and undoubtedly mean that many will now be priced out of renewing – a concern shared with the Trust by many supporters. There is little consistency to the percentage increases for different sections of the ground with no apparent logic or rationale explained for this seemingly arbitrary decision.

“The significant restriction of youth pricing concessions will impose massive increases on that section of our support who should be being nurtured as the future fanbase of our club. We are concerned that the change for senior concessions from age 65 to 66 could herald future further restrictions, potentially pricing out a group of long standing loyal fans.

“There is no provision for reduced price increases should the club suffer relegation to the Championship. The club have stated that the intention is to keep the season card pricing amongst the most affordable in the league, this claimed ambition would not be met in the Championship, quite the opposite.

“The club’s justification for these rises as preparation for the new sustainability rules based around Squad Cost Ratio (scheduled for the 2025/26 season) is noted, but the relatively modest impact of this single rise (calculated at being in the region of £2m) gives rise to concern that more rises on this scale might be imposed in the future.

“We strongly disapprove of the implication of the message that over 10,000 fans are waiting in the wings to buy season cards, this is likely to cause anger and offence to those who now can’t afford to renew. The timing of what would in normal circumstances be the very welcome announcement of the introduction of safe-standing is being interpreted as an attempt at a deflection strategy by many supporters.

“NFST strongly opposes these price increases which will have a negative impact on all match-going fans. We believe that our fans’ incredible support has been a key factor in the remarkable success over recent seasons. This is no way to reward that contribution.”

Forest season card prices have increased by an average of 24 percent. Zone 1 tickets, near the halfway line, are £850 for an adult and £190 for a child. The cheapest tickets are in Zone 4, in the corners of three stands, and are £550 for adults and £190 for a child. This season’s most expensive adult season card costs £660 for a seat in the Brian Clough Stand. The cheapest is £460, £90 less than next season’s price.

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