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SBD Global/August 22, 2013/International Football

Israeli Premier League Club To Hand Out 200 Free Season Tickets To Woo Fans

Israeli Premier League side Ironi Ramat Hasharon "announced this week the launch of an innovative -- and quite likely unique -- plan to attract fans to its matches," according to Allon Sinai of the JERUSALEM POST. The club "will hand out around 200 season tickets for free, as long as the supporters actually attend the games." Instead of paying to watch the matches in the stadium, "the supporters will only be charged for the games they miss." That "is how bad it has gotten for some teams in the Israeli top flight." For others, "business is booming." Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv "have all sold record numbers of season tickets this summer." However, beneath the cream of the crop there is "a bowl full of sour grapes that represents the true state of the local game." Most Premier League teams "live from hand to mouth and have no real prospect of improving their big-picture financial status." Numerous matches are played in front of almost empty stands and, as of Tuesday, apart from Ironi Kiryat Shmona, "not one of the league's teams had yet to have their budgets approved" by the Israel FA's Budget Control Authority. TV ratings have plummeted in recent seasons, "while broadcasts of foreign leagues attract more and more viewers" (JERUSALEM POST, 8/21).
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