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Free holiday for Northampton fans buying season tickets

By Marc Vesty

A beach in Lloret de Mar, Spain
Cobblers fans will get a free holiday if they buy a season ticket

Northampton Town are offering fans a free week's holiday abroad - if they buy a season ticket for next season.

Cobblers fans who buy a season ticket before 5 March will be rewarded with a week's self-catering accommodation in Spain or Tenerife.

The deal is the latest example of football clubs trying bizarre schemes to attract more people to their games.

On Saturday Mansfield Town fans will be able to pay whatever they want to see their home game against Gateshead.

That idea is intended to attract a large crowd to Field Mill - and Northampton also think their offer - which does not include flights - will help to increase support for the club.

"I think this is groundbreaking stuff; it's a fantastic deal," Cobblers chairman David Cardoza told BBC Radio Northampton.


"You get a week's holiday and all your football for a season, it's a great deal so hopefully it's popular."

Football clubs have long offered match-day deals such as 'kids for a quid', or 'buy one ticket - get one free'.

But Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sport business strategy and Marketing at Coventry University Business School, believes Northampton's holiday offer might be the start of more extreme deals.

"The difference between now and a year ago is the financial downturn which means getting fans through the turnstiles is imperative, hence the drastic promotions," Chadwick told BBC Sport.

"We will see more widespread and more focused schemes in the future but, in the meantime, we will see these strange promotions - this could be just the tip of the iceberg."

Despite the publicity generated by such an abstract promotion as offering a holiday, Professor Chadwick sounded a warning to clubs looking to cash in.

David Cardoza
Cardoza has been Cobblers chairman for seven years

"What has started happening at football clubs over the past five or 10 years is the emergence of a marketing culture," he said.

"The main problem with giving away a holiday is that it is quite simplistic and naive, as clubs need to build loyalty to retain fans beyond the one season."

While offering a holiday is a way of boosting season ticket sales and generating publicity, Northampton have insisted there is a sincere intention behind the plan.

"It's been a tough year for the club what with relegation and the poor start to the season although thankfully Sammo's (Ian Sampson) turned that round," said Cardoza, whose side are 13th in League Two.

"Money is in short supply for everyone so we are giving something back if you like.

"If the football's rubbish you can go on holiday and forget about it - not that it will be rubbish!"

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see also
Pay what you want, say Mansfield
02 Feb 10 |  Mansfield
Cardoza backs Sampson to succeed
29 Jan 10 |  Northampton
Sampson has galvanised us - Cardoza
06 Oct 09 |  Northampton

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