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Northampton Town offer fans free holiday

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

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.

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

"I think this is groundbreaking stuff; it's a fantastic deal, You get a week's holiday and all your football for a season, it's a great deal so hopefully it's popular." Cobblers chairman David Cardoza said.  

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 said.

"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.

"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."

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