Following Friday’s season card announcement, Sunderland AFC has collated comprehensive feedback from supporters and would like to provide further detail across multiple areas of the club.
The Red & White Army and the Branch Liaison Council both provided SAFC with numerous questions from their members, while numerous queries posted on social media have also been answered below.
The areas discussed include the potential refunding of 2019-20 season cards, 2020-21 renewals, streaming passes and key details for commercial clients.
Supporters are reminded that the Box Office remains closed to the public until further notice, but a further update regarding ticketing operations is available below.
Should the 2019-20 season be curtailed, some supporters have suggested donating their refunds to charity. Will this be implemented?
A. We are aware that many supporters have expressed a desire to redirect any potential refunds to charity. Due to the wide range of personal circumstances to consider, the decision was taken to refund supporters directly so that each individual is able to make a personalised decision.
If a supporter is eligible to apply for a refund, can the total be deducted from their 2020-21 season card when renewing?
A. Due to the uncertainty surrounding both the current campaign and the 2020-21 season, we have opted to process each season on an individual basis and therefore this mechanism will not be put in place.
If the 2019-20 season is completed behind closed doors, it was stated that supporters will not receive a refund and instead be entitled to a streaming pass. If a supporter does not want, or cannot access, a streaming pass, are they able to obtain a refund or an alternative voucher [such as retail]?
A. Should the season be completed behind closed doors, season card holders would be automatically entitled to a streaming pass only. No further refund would be provided either by way of cash or voucher.
Will home and away fixtures be included in the streaming pass?
A. The streaming pass will include home games only and represent the games included within the corresponding season card. Streaming passes for away games would be available to purchase separately.
Will non-season card holders still be able to stream games during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 season?
A. Yes, streaming will continue to be offered on a seasonal and matchday basis for all supporters. The availability of the service to UK and international subscribers will continue to be determined by EFL broadcasting regulations.
Why did the club decide to proceed with renewals despite the ongoing uncertainty with regards to the 2020-21 season?
A. Members of the club’s fan base have stated their desire to renew despite the uncertainty, so the club are offering them the opportunity to do that. However, we also appreciate that many supporters are not in a position or may not want to renew at this time. Like all clubs, we are currently operating without any revenue streams, but our cost base remains unchanged. Along with the current owners meeting their financial obligations to provide funding, it is important that the club generates as much operational income as possible to achieve security and success both on and off the pitch.
If I don’t renew by 1 July, will I lose my seat?
A. No, all unrenewed seats will be reserved until further notice.
If I don’t renew my season card by 1 July, will I lose my Black Cat [loyalty] Points?
A. No, Black Cat Points are attached to your customer number and not your season card.
If the entirety of the 2020-21 season is played behind closed doors, would Black Cat Points be frozen until supporters are allowed to attend?
Should the 2020-21 season start, or be played in its entirety, behind closed doors, would supporters that have renewed receive a proportional refund for the games that they are unable to attend?
A. In the event that any 2020-21 games are played behind closed doors, season card holders would receive a streaming pass only for the corresponding games and no further refund would be provided either by way of cash or voucher.
It was stated that if the 2020-21 season starts behind closed doors, supporters who renewed would receive a streaming pass at no additional cost. Is this as well as a refund, or would this be the solitary replacement for any games missed?
A. No, as stated above, season card holders would be provided with a streaming pass only for any games missed and no additional or alternative refund would be given.
If there are multiple season card holders in one household, will incentives or proportional refunds be offered for multiple renewals as opposed to offering multiple streaming passes?
A. No, as detailed above.
If I do not renew and the 2020-21 season starts behind closed doors, will I be able to purchase a season card if fans are allowed to attend fixtures at a later point in the season?
A. Yes, the club would offer part-season cards priced on a pro-rata basis subject to availability. In the event that the Government reduces the club’s stadium capacity, attendance would be on a first-come, first-served basis, with supporters who renewed for the 2020-21 season taking priority.
If I have already purchased a 2020-21 season card and paid in full, what are my options?
A. If you have already renewed and paid in full, and would like further information relating to your purchase, please email email@example.com.
Supporters have been informed that the Box Office remains closed. Can you advise when staff will return?
A. The Box Office at the Stadium of Light remains closed until further notice. However, several members of staff returned to work on Monday 1 June in order to prepare for all eventualities. As per Friday’s announcement, all contact in the interim should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some supporters renew by paying with cash and others are required to provide identification at the point of purchase. How can they do this whilst the Box Office is closed?
A. The early-bird pricing initiative has been extended indefinitely to ensure that no supporters are penalised. This ensures that they can renew at the reduced pricing once the Box Office re-opens. The club is investigating ways to re-open the Box Office and it will do so at the right time, as the safety of supporters and staff is paramount. There are likely to be revised measures in place, including social distancing.
The previously announced Direct Debit scheme details that the fourth and final payment will be processed on 1 January. Would the club consider moving this to February?
A. No, the deadlines announced last week will remain in place.
If a supporter purchased a ticket for an away game against Southend United or Blackpool, can you advise when they will receive a refund?
A. We are still awaiting confirmation from the EFL regarding the completion of the 2019-20 season. Further information regarding this process will be provided once an outcome has been determined.
If a supporter purchased a single match ticket for one of the club’s remaining home games, will they be entitled to a refund if the season is curtailed or games are played behind closed doors?
A. As per season cards, supporters would receive a refund should the 2019-20 season be curtailed. In the event that games are played behind closed doors, supporters would receive a streaming pass for each fixture they have purchased a ticket for.
Some partners, sponsors and hospitality clients are yet to be contacted about plans for next season, while others are yet to receive information regarding their existing packages. What plans are in place to contact them?
A. Our commercial team was in the process of contacting our partners, sponsors and hospitality clients regarding 2020-21 renewals before the country went into lockdown, which resulted in many members of staff being placed on furlough. The commercial manager has now returned to work, with some other additional members of the sales team also set to return imminently. This will resume the process and clients will also be contacted regarding plans for the 2019-20 season.