CHESTER Jets have defended their decision to increase ticket prices by 40% for the new BBL season which starts next month.
Fans of the all-conquering team are being asked to pay £160 for an adult season ticket (£100 concessions) as Jets bid to repeat last season's recordbreaking feat of winning every trophy on offer. This amounts to a saving of around £30 on matchday prices (£8 and £5).
Club spokesman Joe Lofthouse said: 'We have had to cover an increase in running costs since last season and try to keep the team competitive.
'We always felt last season was a cheap one for our supporters and it has to be remembered that apart from our head coach and the players, everyone at the club works for nothing.
'The fans are very important to us. We had the most exciting team in the country last season and we feel we are giving them good value for money.
'People say that the players should be paid from sponsorship, but any sponsorship we get is in kind and not hard cash. If the fans feel they can't afford this outlay for season tickets they can still come and pay on the day.'
Chester's new prices are on a par with most of their rivals for the new season with Brighton the most expensive at £10 for adults on matchday.
Despite the price increase, season tickets are selling well and Jets hope to improve on last season's total of around 150 before the season tips off with a visit to Newcastle Eagles on Friday, October 4. The first home game is the following Sunday against Birmingham (5.30pm).
The American players and New Zealander Pero Cameron are due to arrive in the city around September 20 in time for pre-season.
* Two of last season's American stars, James Hamilton and John Thomas, have found new clubs. Thomas, the BBL player of the year, is in Israel's first division and Hamilton is playing for Strasbourg in France.
Mike Redd, sidelined with a broken leg for most of last season, has joined BBL rivals Birmingham Bullets.
* Jets will go to Sheffield Sharks for a pre-season friendly match on Friday, September 27.