As part of the process to overhaul our ticketing and membership systems, we also took the opportunity to review the distribution of our season tickets and our membership packs. This year, it was decided to combine the distribution of the season ticket books and the packs and to send out new materials to supporters later in the summer than in previous years. This is because over recent seasons we have witnessed an increasing number of season ticket books being lost during the summer months leading to a range of administratve headaches, potential security issues, and added costs for both the Club and supporters as the new season approaches.
We are pleased to report that the Ticket Office and Membership team have now renewed and processed close to 70,000 One Hotspur applications for the 2007/8 season - and the team continue to process One Hotspur Bronze and Lilywhite applications at a rate of around 100 per day. This is a record number of applications for this stage of the season and, with almost 11,000 One Hotspur Bronze members on the waiting list for season tickets, these statistics underline the growing and fantastic strength of support the Club has. It's also worth noting that the work carried out during the summer has also included many hundreds of seat changes and special requests from our fans, including around 400 movements (from over 1,000 offers)out of the North Stand to make space for more families and younger fans. Thank you for your support with this initiative.
The vast majority of One Hotspur memberships have been processed quickly and efficiently and we have comfortably met our timetables and deadlines for distribution, despite a production issue with the One Hotspur packs earlier in the process which delayed us slightly. Unfortunately, however, this year's distribution process, which began in early July, has also coincided with a number of planned strikes by Royal Mail across different parts of the country at different times. We therefore deliberately staggered the distribution of our packs to ensure that we minimised any risk of our One Hotspur packs being caught up in the industrial action, including yesterday's latest strike, and to ensure that, insofar as we could, supporters were not inconvenienced by One Hotspur packs going astray at Post Office sorting offices up and down the country
The combined effect of our changes to the distribution process and the postal disputes has meant that, whilst many supporters have had their One Hotspur packs and season ticket books for some weeks, other supporters are receiving their One Hotspur packs and season ticket books later than we had originally intended - and certainly later than supporters will have been used to in previous seasons. We apologise for this delay, particularly if it is causing supporters to worry. All remaining season ticket books and One Hotspur packs will have left the Club by 1030 on Saturday morning (4 August 2007), so any supporters still waiting for their books or packs should, subject to Royal Mail, receive them very early next week - a full week before our opening match. Supporters that have opted to collect their season ticket books and who are attending tomorrow's match with Torino (kick-off 2pm) can collect their books after the match as the Ticket Office will remain open.
Inevitably (but nonetheless frustratingly), the implementation programme for One Hotspur and our new ticketing and membership system has thrown up one or two annoying system errors and glitches - things that are only discovered when the system goes "live" - even after weeks of testing. Most notably, supporters will be aware that the new system has not accurately displayed loyalty points during the summer. Again, the Ticket Office team were aware of this issue at an early stage of implementation and they have been working with Ticketmaster throughout the past few weeks to resolve the problem. This issue led to a slight delay in updating loyalty point totals, although, whilst the loyalty points displayed to supporters were incorrect, the displays on staff's screens in the Ticket Office were accurate. As of Wednesday night this week, Ticketmaster confirmed that the loyalty point glitch had been resolved and that all supporters should now be able to see an updated and accurate account of their loyalty points.
The first two on-sale dates of the season - Everton and Derby County - passed off smoothly. The Derby match is now sold out and Everton is expected to sell out imminently. However, the new ticketing system was rigourously tested for the first really major on-sale date of the season on Monday of this week when the Club sold out its entire allocation of One Hotspur members tickets for the home fixture with Arsenal in far less than two hours - a rate of almost 100 tickets being sold every minute. Our partnership with Ticketmaster meant that we had five times the number of phone lines available - around 50 lines throughout the on-sale period - and a far greater online capacity than we have ever had available to us previously.
However, demand for tickets for the Arsenal match was also larger than ever before and, whilst the majority of supporters succeeded in securing tickets for this fixture online or by phone without any problems, we were very disappointed that some fans experienced online and telephone payment processing issues. The knock-on effect of the payment processing issues meant longer telephone calls for some people and an increased use of the telephone lines as people booking online called to report a problem with the payment processing. Ticketmaster are investigating why some people experienced these delays and also, in some cases, why some people were unable to complete their purchases. We can only apologise to those fans who did miss out on tickets for the Arsenal match and we will work with Ticketmaster to ensure that, if this fault is found to be within Ticketmaster's direct control, our supporters do not face this problem again in the future.
Finally, we are aware that the Club has made huge changes to its ticketing and membership operations this summer. Introducing new systems, new products and new methods of distribution in one fell swoop has meant that everyone has had to adjust to a new way of working and, in some cases, a considerable shift from the way we have done things for may years. We appreciate that this sort of change is unsettling and can be very frustrating if it does not follow the pattern with which so many of us have become familiar and comfortable over many seasons. We are however very confident that our supporters will start to benefit from improved service levels, more efficient ticket processing and distribution, and better communication on ticketing and membership matters over the course of the coming weeks and months. Your patience and support throughout this period of change is very much appreciated. We thank you for helping to make our new One Hotspur membership programme such an outstanding success so far and we hope that you enjoy the 2007/8 season.
As many supporters are aware, the Club has spent the summer months selecting, installing and testing the new ticketing and membership system.Supplied by Ticketmaster, the world's largest ticketing company, the system provides the Club and its supporters with the market's most used and most reliable online and telephone based ticket booking service. At the same time, the Club has introduced its new supporter-wide five tier membership scheme, One Hotspur, and has taken time to capture up-to-date contact details and customer information to make our communication with supporters more personal and more efficient in the season ahead.