SOMERSET County Cricket Club chief executive Lee Cooper says membership prices at the club needed to be changed to cope with 'escalating' running costs of the club.

Cooper released a statement today regarding changes to membership pricing following a negative reaction to yesterday's announcement of "exciting changes" to the scheme.

Changes to 2018 season memberships, which go on sale on Monday, November 13, see Platinum Membership replaced with separate 'Club' and 'T20' membership categories, meaning members would need to purchase both in order to attend matches in all formats of the game next season.

Although there would be a £50 discount for purchasing both at the same time, fans have not reacted well to the shift from last season's 'Platinum Adult' (£254) to 'Club Membership' (£179) and 'T20 Membership' (£195/£167/140 for Categories A/B/C - as T20 games will now be all-seated, so fans must buy an allocated seat within a stand for the duration of the competition).

But today, CEO Cooper made a statement outlining the changes, saying "it’s appropriate and sensible I share our rationale".

The statement said: "Although we've 'sold-out' our T20 games for three consecutive seasons, we’ve not been close to full capacity at any of these fixtures.

"We can't sell too many additional tickets to address this unused capacity as we need to allow for near full attendance from the 4,000 plus members we have.

"If we miscalculate the number of members attending, and the ground is over capacity, then we breach ground rules and regulations."

Cooper added: "The costs of running a county cricket club are escalating, for so many reasons, and the business model must reflect this.

"If we’re to retain and attract the players needed to compete for (and win) trophies, then we must ensure the club’s finances are managed prudently.

"We don’t have shareholders to pay, so income generated for the club is for the club. It’s reinvested back into the club."

Other social media users also took exception to the use of "exciting changes" in the Somerset tweet linking to the membership announcement.

Cooper's statement went on to make the following points:

  • Club Membership is free for juniors;
  • Platinum Members who only watch County Championship and the 50-over competition will see a reduction in cost;
  • Platinum Members who only watch T20 will see a reduction in cost;
  • Platinum Members who watch all formats will see a £45 increase in Membership, or higher if premium seating selected;
  • Other categories of Membership in 2017 have increased marginally for 2018, but a tourist match (or equivalent) is now included.

What do you think of the explanation behind the changes? Have the price changes affected your intention to watch Somerset next season? Let us know in the comments below.