The BBC Sport Price of Football survey has been released today with great fan fare, and once again, Arsenal have been labelled as the club with the most expensive season ticket. This will be used once more by papers and radio stations to bash us and criticise us. Lets not forget last season, the press hyperbole resulted in the ticket price protest by City fans at the Emirates last season. Which then in itself was used to bash the club further.
Whilst I am not going to attempt to justify our season ticket price, it is too high and prices out the man on the Clapham Omnibus, what I hate is when my club, our club, Arsenal is attacked by all and sundry. Whether it is the press highlighting our disciplinary record, our lack of Englishman, our trophy drought, or our ticket prices. This is then picked up by opposing fans, who then continue to attack out club using what they have read in the papers or listened to on the radio. It is every man’s duty to defend his club.
The headlines from today’s survey will end up getting written as ‘Arsenal have most expensive Season ticket price again.’ Whilst based on the grand total of the season ticket, it is true, we are the most expensive, when you break it down to what we get, the headlines are simply a lie. Spun to bash The Arsenal. Lets look at some FACTS.
- Arsenal’s season ticket covers 26 games. The 19 league games and the first 7 Champions League/FA Cup games. No other Premier League club does this.
- This means our cheapest season ticket price per game is £37.88, and most expensive is £75.19
- Tottenham Hotspur’s cheapest season ticket per game is £39.21, their most expensive is £99.73 – Both more expensive than Arsenal
- A season ticket for the Shed End Lower will cost you £39.47 per game, Chelsea’s cheapest
- At Liverpool, their cheapest ticket per game is £37.36, although this is a restricted view. Their cheapest unrestricted is £38.15
- Liverpool’s cheapest individual ticket is £38. £12 more then Arsenal’s at £26
Again, to re-iterate my point, I am not justifying Arsenals ticket price here. What I am pointing out is we are not the most expensive club to go and watch. We sit 4th behind Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.
What the above shows is that Arsenal should offer two tiers of ticket prices. An idea first bought up by the Black Scarf Movement, a ‘Season Ticket Lite’ where cup games are not including would make tickets a tad more affordable. It would bring our cheapest season ticket down to £720. Whilst the average ticket price per game remains the same, fans make a huge 20% saving on their season ticket purchase in July.
Whilst doing this research, I glanced over various rival club’s websites to pull the data of cheapest and most expensive ticket prices. I ignore Manchester City as, whilst they are very cheap – they offer the cheapest in the Premier League – they do not rely on match day income to buy players and strengthen their squad. If FFP comes in properly (it won’t) there prices will soon sky rocket. One club did surprise me, however. Manchester United.
Manchester United’s lowest season ticket price works out to £28 per game (£532). There most expensive is £50 per game (£950). Now I know Old Trafford has 75,000 seats, therefore meaning that they can offer slightly lower prices to other clubs, whilst still maintaining high revenue, but these prices are very much affordable. Manchester United also supplement match day revenue with a lot of very good commercial deals.
So over the last few years, Manchester United have had affordable ticket prices and success. Surely this should be the model every club should be striving for? Hopefully as we continue to pay down our stadium debt and increase our commercial deals, we might see ticket prices starting to drop, as we no longer become as reliant on match day revenue.
A final thought, ticket pricing justifies our move to the Emirates. Whilst some might see this as controversial. Look at Tottenham. They are in a tiny stadium and are unable to compete in the Premier League due to a low match day revenue. This is forcing them to continually put their season ticket price up as the only way to increase revenue. For a team who has not won the league in over 50 years to have the countries most expensive ticket prices is shocking, and should be highlighted in the press (it won’t). Had we stayed at Highbury, our season ticket prices would have been much, much higher.
Yes, our most expensive single game ticket at £126 is disgusting, the club should get credit for having a cheapest ticket now at £26. This now means a father can take his two kids for less than £100. Fairly affordable! OK, he can not go to watch Manchester United or Spurs at the Emirates for this, but he should be teaching his kids that it is Arsenal that is important, not just the big games.
This information by no means justifies our ludicrously high season ticket prices. And the higher prices go throughout other clubs, the more it will be to go away. However, the aim this article is just to put some sensible talk out there against the media bashing who continually criticise our ticket prices, but do not criticise those with more expensive tickets then us.
Ticket prices throughout England are too high. They need to come down. Not just at Arsenal, but at every club. We need ‘joined up thinking’ to ensure all clubs drop prices. If one club did it, and others did not, it would put them at an unfair disadvantage. High ticket prices is not just Arsenal’s problem. It is England’s problem.
Prices need to drop. Not just be frozen.