Premier League clubs are said to be canvassing to persuade the Botswana Premier League (BPL) to ditch Webticket.
The company was enlisted “on trial basis” to provide computerised ticketing system for BPL teams in the BTC Premiership matches.
Webticket has, however, since fallen out with many BPL teams that have since expressed some misgivings about it.
Top among clubs’ concerns with Webticket is shortage of tickets on match day as well as “lack of credible proof of ticket”.
While just a handful of teams expressed misgivings after just a few games, Webticket seems to have lost the support they had as more teams have now joined in the growing clamour to have it kicked to the gutter.
“As clubs, we suspect that we are not getting what we deserve from the deal. Ever since Webticket came into the spotlight, our gate revenue has fallen dramatically,” said one team chairman.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said while he supported the enlistment of Webticket, he now feels ties with the ticketing company must be severed.
“I believe the idea of using a ticketing company is very good. However, I believe we need a system where clubs can keep track of the number of tickets sold,” the club chairman explained.
The words were echoed by another club chairman, who also said he would support any ticketing system that was transparent.
“The idea of online ticketing system is good as it can effectively cut off wastage incurred with pre-printed tickets as we pay for all printed tickets even if we return them to the BPL offices,” the chairman explained.
“I, however, will only support any computerised ticketing system provided it is comprehensive and auditable. We need a system that is transparent and fair so that clubs can keep track of the number of tickets sold for a particular match,” he explained.
“If you compare the gate revenues from last season’s first five games to this season’s, there is a vast difference. Teams are not making any monies from the gate,” another chairman said when reached for comment.
According to the official, he has now received calls from various chairmen of other clubs, calling for a review of the ticketing system.
“Whereas teams playing against massively followed teams like Gunners, Rollers and Chiefs made better monies from the gate revenues this past season, it is not the case this season,” the chairman explained.
“Now, teams with no sponsors, investors or massive following are now crying because they are feeling the pinch,” he concluded.
With all this in mind, it is now said several club chairmen will be pushing for Webticket to be kicked out very soon.
In fact, if some BPL teams can get things done their way, Webticket will be kicked out by the time the BPL board finishes its next meeting which is scheduled for the beginning of December.
Despite the clubs’ outcry, Webticket has found an ally in the form of acting BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang.
Speaking in an interview, Ntshinogang said contrary to clubs’ assertions that revenues have fallen since Webticket came into the picture, revenues have fallen as supporters are not going to stadiums in numbers.
This, he said, is compounded by the fact that clubs have not come on board to encourage supporters to buy tickets well before the games.
“Clubs should rather encourage supporters to buy tickets from outlets ahead of matches. If they do not, they will find that teams only have limited number of tickets at the gates, which most of the time are not enough. This then results with some supporters forcing their way into match venues without paying,” he explained.
Ntshinogang implored clubs to fully embrace the Webtickets system and encourage their supporters to use it.
The acting BPL CEO further reiterated that “if fully embraced, computerised ticketing will reduce wastage of papers and curb losses incurred by clubs from returning unsold tickets.’
On the issue of monitoring and transparency, Ntshinogang said contrary to what clubs have said, they could monitor the number of tickets sold through Webtickets for their games.
“We have given the teams codes which they can use to monitor the number of tickets sold. They should learn how to use them as the codes give them access to the system and enable to see the numbers of tickets sold for each match,” Ntshinogang said.
Ntshinogang further called for clubs to come forth and alert the BPL Secretariat of any problems encountered with the ticketing system.