Tony Fernandes said upon his arrival that Philip Beard was lined up to be the new Chief Executive Officer and his appointment was soon officially announced by the Club with the following statement:
‘Philip Beard has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Queens Park Rangers Football Club. His appointment follows the recent takeover of the Club by Tony Fernandes, the R’s new majority shareholder and Chairman. Beard has worked in the sports and leisure industry for over thirty years, most recently for American music and sports giant, AEG.
Whilst at AEG, he spent two years as Chief Executive of the 02, where he led the team in transforming the venue from the Millennium Dome into the world’s most popular music and sports venue. Latterly, he was Chairman of AEG Sport and Sponsorship where he was charged with developing the company’s sporting interests across Europe.
Prior to this, Beard was a senior member of the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid team. Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk about Beard’s arrival, Fernandes commented: “Philip brings a long history of success in the sports industry with him to QPR. His track record in leading teams and achieving commercial success is exemplary and I am delighted to have him on board.”
Beard added: “I am utterly thrilled to be joining QPR in this hugely exciting chapter in the Club’s history. I will be focusing on helping it become the very best Club it can be, both on and off the pitch. I want to ensure the best possible experience for the people who support us day in and day out – our loyal supporters.”
True to their word, the Board quickly announced their new ticket pricing structure which included the promise of various refunds. The following article then appeared in the Independent:
‘QPR have cut the cost of watching Neil Warnock’s team and promised to refund part of the price of all season-tickets following the Loftus Road takeover by Tony Fernandes. The move comes less than a week after Malaysian businessmen Fernandes bought a majority stake in the club, and includes a deal which will see under-eights admitted free with a paying adult in certain parts of the stadium.
Fernandes, the founder of Air Asia and owner of the team Lotus F1 outfit, was aware of disgruntlement among QPR supporters following the decision, announced in May, to increase ticket prices drastically after the club’s promotion to the Premier League. Under previous owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, the cost of admission went up by as much as 40% ahead of the new season. Vice-Chairman Amit Bhatia resigned from his post in protest at the price rises in May.
Prices went as high as ¬£72 for the best seats at category A matches this season, and although the top price has only been reduced to ¬£70, QPR are confident reductions across their pricing structure will be welcomed. A statement from QPR said the club had undertaken “a full evaluation of our prices across all areas, and listened to feedback from supporters.”
The club listed the changes as: “Significant refunds on season tickets. Significant top-line reductions on matchday prices and the continuation of the ¬£5 adult members discount. Introduction of a third matchday pricing category, representing excellent value for money for QPR supporters. Under-eights go free – all children under the age of eight will now be able to attend every QPR home fixture (subject to availability) free of charge, when accompanied by a full paying adult, in the silver and bronze areas of the stadium.”
The cheapest adult (over-21) tickets will now range from ¬£25 for category C games to ¬£45 for category A games. QPR Chief Executive Philip Beard praised the new owners’ foresight. Beard said: “These changes show how serious the owners are about taking the fans’ views on board. Ticket prices are imperative to the business structure and we are confident our supporters will react positively to the news and help make Loftus Road a fortress on matchdays. I would personally like to thank the QPR staff, in particular those directly affected by the previous ticketing structure, for their professionalism and patience in responding to the fans’ complaints.”
Whether this new structure went far enough is open to debate and we will have to wait and see whether Rangers fans do generally ‘react positively’.