Aberdeen FC has urged fans to buy season tickets to support the club – and directors have pledged to match 10% to go towards community projects.
With revenue streams suddenly cut off, clubs around the country have scrambled to slash costs and mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
But amid fears over the long-term impact of the outbreak on the game in Scotland and around the world, Dons supporters have stepped up to back their team in its time of need.
Season ticket sales – one of the most important revenue streams for clubs in the SPFL – are more than a third higher than they were at this time last year.
And commercial director Rob Wicks admitted the club has been taken aback by the support from fans.
He said: “For any football club, season ticket income is right out there with one of the most vital revenue streams. Our cash flow can often dry up in March when the season nears an end, and being able to know season-ticket income is coming in helps us budget sensibly for the following season.
“Given the current unprecedented situation, it would be unsurprising to see season ticket sales down as much as 50% but I am pleased to say sales now are 36% higher than this time last year, which is testament to the support we have been given.”
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The Dons have been doing their bit to keep spirits high amid strict new laws around social distancing – helped by the AFC Community Trust.
First-team players have been manning the phones, putting in calls to fans isolating due to the threat of coronavirus, while the community trust has teamed up with north-east foodbank Cfine.
Rob said: “I have been at this club for two years and what has become apparent to me in that time is that this club is at the heart of the community, and the current work we’re doing through the club’s community trust reflects that.
“Our players have spoken to many people aged over 70 over the phone and the feedback we have received is truly moving. We’re hoping to speak to 10,000 fans individually by phone in eight weeks.
“We are hoping to progress that good work utilising the pledge our directors have made today.”
To further support the work of the community trust, Aberdeen’s directors have pledged to match 10% of season ticket sales in funds to the organisation.
Community trust chief executive Liz Bowie said: “The power of partnership of different groups coming together to support the community is really important.
“We have worked with Cfine in supporting some of our vulnerable children for a long time, and they also support us with our holiday camps.
“The need now is huge and working with Cfine is hugely important to us.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bits. To have the support of the directors is brilliant and now to have a financial commitment from them is fantastic.
“It sets out a really firm footing for us. To have our directors standing with us is going to make a big difference to the trust and the work we can do.”
Liz urged fans to continue to sign up for season tickets and back both the club and the community trust as it works round the clock to provide support.
She said: “Having the financial support behind us will allow us to get out and about in the community. The chairman Dave Cormack is a huge supporter of the trust.
“At the heart of it is the club. The club needs support, and the club and the trust are one.
“If the fans can get out and support the club by buying that season ticket, they will know they are also helping the community.”