Scunthorpe United: More midweek matches will mean less revenue
Scunthorpe United will be left counting the cost of a shorter season in 2012-13, general manager David Beeby has claimed.
The decision to kick-off the campaign a week later than normal, because of the London Olympics, coupled with an earlier finish, to ensure play-off matches can be completed in time for Wembley to stage the Champions League final again next year, has increased the number of midweek matches on the League One calendar.
That will result in a sizeable loss in attendance revenue, given crowds for Tuesday night matches are traditionally lower than those on a Saturday afternoon.
"It's not an ideal situation because attendances generally are down for midweek fixtures," Beeby told the Telegraph.
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"Young children, that attend on a Saturday, can't attend a midweek night match and people's circumstances are also different – like they might not be able to get to the game because of work.
"We lose supporters on night matches and therefore revenue, so it is a bit of a blow.
"How many varies depending on who we're playing and the attractiveness of the game, but it's certainly down, probably 700-800 as an average.
"We would have preferred to have played more of our matches on a Saturday, but we realise the difficulties the Football League have had this year through a unique set of circumstances.
"The start of the season has been put back a week because we've had the Euros and the Olympics and at the end of the season, Wembley had the opportunity to host the Champions League final again which has resulted in the end of the season being brought forward."
In 2011-12, when the fixtures were released, the Iron were scheduled to play nine matches on a day other than Saturday – four of which were at home.
Next season that figure will increase to 12 and seven, with only two of those clashes at Glanford Park coming on Bank Holidays with afternoon kick-offs – the New Year's Day meeting with Oldham Athletic and the home clash with Leyton Orient, which has been brought forward to Good Friday, March 29.
Last year, the Iron were fortunate that two of their Tuesday night home matches came against two of the division's bigger clubs, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday.
That meant midweek attendances in excess of their Saturday average of 4,251, but in other games against Oldham Athletic, Rochdale and Walsall, spectator figures were well below that marker.
The loss of revenue comes at a difficult time for lower division clubs like the Iron, who as well as having to conform to the Football League's financial fair play rules – where only 65 per cent of turnover can go on players' wages – have also suffered from a reduction in TV money.
"Clubs themselves voted in the financial fair play rules, which I think clubs should be working towards anyway. Anything above a salary cap of 65 per cent is not really viable," added Beeby.
"We were in favour of that coming in, but what doesn't help is the new TV deal that starts this summer, which is a 26 per cent decrease on the previous year and means our revenue is substantially down.
"Playing midweek matches means we will lose additional revenue as well.
"It's a tough year, but it's the same for everybody. Most teams will have the same circumstances, so it's still a level playing field. We've just got to try to make the most of it and get on with it."