(Tuesday 15th December 2015)
Wanderers are taking a price rise gamble for the FA Cup tie with Aston Villa on Saturday 9th January 2016. Ticket prices announced on Monday (14th December) and agreed with Villa, included prices rises of more than 33% compared to regular match day Adult prices at Adams Park. Families taking juniors will also need to break into additional funds with Villa tickets costing £15 for ages 8 to 18 compared to as little as £5 for an advanced ticket for a League match at Adams Park during 2015/16 - a rise of 200%. A family of two adults and two children attending the Villa game will have to pay £80 compared to £40 for a regular League game. Meanwhile, some Adult Season Ticket Holders will pay close to 100% more for a ticket compared to their average match day cost over the course of the season.

The prices rises for the FA Cup tie come despite the both Wanderers and Villa receiving a £144,000 payment for being selected for live TV coverage – the tie being switched to a 12.45pm kick-off compared to the regular 3pm slot in order to cater for BT Sport schedules. The broadcast income for the Villa game compares to the £102,000 the Club received for the whole of the 2014/15 season when they reached the Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Club officials will be hoping that their pricing policy will not put off fans who want to see Wanderers take on Premier League opposition in the FA Cup for the first time in 14 years. That previous encounter saw Wanderers take on Fulham in a weather delayed Third Round tie at Adams Park. A then record Adams Park crowd of 9,921 turned out to see Lawrie Sanchez’s side take The Cottagers to the wire – an 88th equaliser saving the day for the Premier League side before they triumphed in the replay at Craven Cottage a week later.

Meanwhile, most Villa fans will be oblivious to the price rises for the tie in High Wycombe. They have been allocated 2,550 tickets – split between 1,800 in the Hillbottom Road away end and a further 750 tickets in the ‘old’ Main Stand. Their prices include a £25 price tag for an Adult seat but that is at the bottom end of the usual Premier League rate – on the day adult prices at Villa Park ranging from £25 to £42.

Wycombe are not alone in raising their prices for a Third Round tie this season. Exeter City have ramped up prices for their home meeting with Liverpool. That tie is being shown live on BBC2 on Friday 8th January 2016 and prices have been raised to a staggering £37 for an adult seat in the Main Stand, with under 18's having to pay £32. A terrace ticket for the tie with Liverpool will cost £23.

Critics of the price rises at Wycombe suggest that Season Ticket Holders and other regulars are not being rewarded for their loyality, while the price increases could damage the chances to attract back the missing 2,000 regulars to Adams Park, However, during a tough financial time for Trust owned Wanderers, Club officials will be hoping their strategy pays off. If Wanderers manage to fill Adams Park to its new revised capacity of 9,617, then the Club would hope to bank close to £100,000 from their share of the gate and match day commercial sales. Gate receipts for the Villa game will be split 45% between each club after taking into account Wanderers matchday costs and Villa’s travelling expenses. However, Wycombe will benefit as the home side from catering, hospitality and other matchday income not included in the gate receipts. With Wycombe’s cut of the gate money added to the broadcasting income, you then have the potential for a payday worth close to £250,000 of unbudgeted income.

1 = Adult terrace ticket bought on the day for League games at Adams Park is £15 compared to £20 for the Villa game.
2 = Junior ticket in advance for the Family Stand (ages 8 to 18) for League games at Adams Park is £5 compared to £15 for the Villa game.
3 = Adult ‘early bird’ season ticket for terrace at Adams Park was £223 (£9.70 per game) compared to £20 for the Villa game.

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24 October 2015
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