Many clubs are operating on an extremely tight budget these days and simply cannot afford any unexpected setbacks in revenue. Like, say, fans who get themselves banned for throwing bananas on the pitch during a match against St. Pauli, rioting and launching fireworks and stones at the visiting supporters, injuring eight police officers and two bystanders. Which is exactly what Hansa Rostock fans did last month, resulting in the punishment of the club having to play this Sunday's match behind closed doors.
But since Rostock can't afford this total loss of matchday revenue, it's decided to sell tickets to the match anyway. Even though they are essentially worthless.
From the AP:
Rostock said Wednesday it had sold over 2,400 "ghost tickets" for a game that will be played behind closed doors because of a stadium ban following rioting a home game in November.
The second division club is urging fans to buy tickets, which range from €5 [$6.50] to €19.65 [$26], to show solidarity for the club. Limited edition T-shirts commemorating the "ghost game" are also on sale.
Rostock chairman Bernd Hofmann said Hansa appreciated "the willingness of our loyal fans who want to assist their club at this difficult time."
"We want to limit the financial damage to the club," Rostock manager Stefan Beinlich told 11 Freunde magazine. "And we want to bring the fans on board."
That's the polite way to put it. If I were Rostock's chairman, I would've said something more like, "You idiots are the reason we have to play behind closed doors, so you're the ones who are going to pay for this. And if you don't buy a ticket to nothing or a stupid T-shirt, we're going to empty your pockets the next time we are allowed to let you inside the stadium. So, thanks guys. And I mean that in the most sarcastic way humanly possible."