Could Arsenal follow Swansea and subsidise away fans?

Recently, Swansea City announced that they will be subsidising their away fans throughout the upcoming season, ensuring that they pay no more than £22 a ticket.

For a long time, we at She Wore have been huge supporters of the Twenty’s Plenty Campaign. A movement set up by the Football Supporter’s Federation and backed by most team’s supporter group’s to restrict away tickets to just £20.

Swansea’s move to subsidise their tickets is a brilliant move, and hopefully on that other clubs will follow. What is surprising (or not if you have half a brain) is how little it costs. Reports are that it is only costing the club around £300,000 a season. Taking into account that the Premier League has recently signed a new £5.1bn deal, which gives each club around £81m a year, £300,000 is peanuts.

Arsenal could, no they should, look at introducing a similar deal. Every club in the Premier League should.

Now I know what critics will say. Those people who when another club introduces something good, attacks them by saying “it wouldn’t work at Arsenal” and bring up a load of differences rather than simply say “good on them”.

What these critics will state is that it would not cost Arsenal £300,000 a season. It would cost a lot more. Swansea are never Category A for away games. Therefore, away tickets are cheaper. It has been reported that Swansea away fan’s paid an average of £33 last season. Meanwhile, Arsenal averaged £45.

On top of that, Swansea rarely sell out their allocation, often taking the lesser amount of tickets at away games. Whilst Arsenal take the maximum possible.

The cost for Arsenal to subsidise tickets for away fans would be a lot more than Swansea.

This is bollocks.

Yes, Arsenal would have to pay more in subsidies, and subsidise more tickets, but the amount it would cost the club would still be negligible.

My (albeit poor) maths show that tif the club decided to subsidise the away fans, mirroring Swansea to £22, it would cost around £1.25m.

Now in our mortal world, £1.25m is a lot, but in the football world, it is nothing. This season, Arsenal will make over £125m from Premier League and Champions League TV revenue. So it would be c1% of TV revenue going back to fans. £1.25m is a £25k a year salary to someone. It is Joel Campbell, or half a Flamini. It is nothing to the club, and even less once other revenue such as match day and commercial comes into it.

Arsenal could easily afford to subsidise away fans to the tune of £22 a game without it affecting anything.

Of course, another obstacle faced by the club would be the internal fighting between fans. If Arsenal decided to subsidise away fans, two issues would arise:

  1. Home fans would complain that they do not get a subsidy

The away fans are the heart beat of the club. A small group of fans who continually go above and beyond following their side. They are the ones who get a 5.30am train to Newcastle for a 12.45 kick off. Change their weekend plans at the last minute due a late scheduling change. Stand on the side of the M1 for 3 hours missing the game due to their mini bus breaking down. Return home at 2am on a Monday morning and having to get up for work in a few hours. Spend hundreds of pounds a year on rail tickets.

To home fans complaining, i would like to say this is a start, if clubs like The Arsenal can see that by reducing prices for our away fans has no real loss in revenue, they might think again about the home ticket prices, ok they will never reduce them as long as demand is as high but they might think about a needless increase to ticket and membership prices in the future. do not be selfish and complain about others benefitting because you do not yet benefit.

Many away fan’s also have home season tickets. Last year I spent around £4,000 following the club, home and away. It is an expensive hobby. Yes, it is my choice, but only an idiot would begrudge an away fan saving a little bit of cash.

  1. More fan’s would buy tickets and not go

In recent years, due to FA Cup Final credits, we have seen an increase in fans buying tickets and not going. Either attempting to sell them on via twitter (other social media platforms are available) or worse case scenario, taking the hit and not going.

One thing that stops this happening more regularly is the cost of ticket prices. Why pay £50 to buy a ticket for Norwich away just for an away credit and not go. It is something that many people can not afford.

However, reduce that to £22 and it becomes a bit more affordable. More fans will buy tickets just to get credits and not go. This will keep those with a lot of credits at the top, and reduce the amount of tickets available to those who do not have credits – often those without credits can only get away tickets to the expensive, middle of nowhere, on a Saturday morning games.

Whilst this is a bit more of a valid argument against dropping tickets, it is again something which should be disregarded.

Yes, some more fans will purchase tickets and look to shift them on, but this benefits those that they shift them on to (as long as they are charging face value) as the buyer then gets a cheaper ticket. So everyone benefits all round.

 

I applaud Swansea for taking proactive steps to reduce ticket prices. Anyone who puts up obstacles as to why Arsenal could not do similar need to take a long hard look at themselves. It is those people that allow the club a free ride, those people who will stop the pressure increasing on clubs and continue to accept the poor way that clube treat fans.

Well done Swansea, hopefully Arsenal and all other clubs follow suit.

Keenos

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