THE RAIDERS will cut their cheapest adult ticket price at the turnstiles by 34 per cent in an attempt to make NRL games more affordable next season, and have also revamped their membership packages as they seek to stop fans from walking away.
Spectator numbers and television ratings have dropped across the NRL this year. Now the Raiders, after a particularly tough season, are trying to deliver some positive news.
Casual fans who did not pre-purchase tickets had to fork out $38 at the gate for an adult entry to Canberra Stadium this season - one of the highest general admission prices in the NRL.
But the Raiders are about to approve a new $25 general entry option for 2014.
Raiders research has also revealed the club's ticketed members had a turnover of more than 28 per cent between the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
In response, the Raiders will offer 12-month memberships to try to lower that churn rate and to establish greater loyalty.
The Raiders are to unveil new membership packages this month. Some of the new features include:
■ Introducing a general admission category, termed a ''bronze membership''. It will not provide allocated reserved seats, but access to uncovered general seating at the northern and southern ends of the stadium. It will enable an adult member to watch all 12-home games for approximately $140 ($12 a game) and a family of four for approximately $380 ($32 a game).
■ A new five-game ''regional membership'' offering, specifically catering to members outside the ACT who are unable to get to all 12 home games.
■ Enabling members to pay off all memberships in monthly instalments and to roll over renewals automatically.
There has been some initial criticism from Raiders members who were located in premium seating beside the players' tunnel as those prices have risen.
But the bulk of memberships will be cut, such as the ''gold category'' grandstand memberships, which will fall from $335 to $270.
Raiders home crowds have dipped in the past two years, averaging just 10,226 per game this season, while ticketed memberships have risen 3 per cent to almost 9000.
Raiders commercial manager Jason Mathie admitted the club had identified a high drop-out rate in its members.
Mathie said the club was determined to improve service and engender more loyalty.
''Our focus this year is to reduce our annual churn rate,'' Mathie said. ''We are actually trying to reduce the amount of people that let their memberships slip.
''I think the NRL's annual churn rate is about 25 per cent and ours is about 28 per cent.
''It's not necessarily about attracting more members, it's about making sure we service those members to the 'nth' degree and give them a good reason to stay.''
Mathie said the Raiders would continue to push their preference for afternoon matches in winter to the NRL and to broadcasters.
It is understood broadcasters are already reconsidering the fixed scheduling of matches for 2014. They are not completely satisfied with this year's initiative to schedule the first 20 rounds in advance of the season.
The Raiders have traditionally offered only covered and non-covered seating options for members, but will now offer four different categories so members have more flexibility, depending on what comfort levels and prices they prefer.
Because of Canberra's transient population, the Raiders are also looking to draw fans of other NRL clubs to their matches at Canberra Stadium. Fans will now have the option of buying memberships without having to pay for accompanying Raiders paraphernalia.
Drawing more junior members is also a priority. The Raiders issue complimentary passes to all registered junior players in the ACT, but only 13 per cent of those are being used at home games.
The cheapest junior membership will be $100.