They’ve done it again, they’ve done it again, Greedy Arsenal, they’ve done it again.
For those not aware, as a season ticket holder, he automatically pay for the first 7 home cup ties of the season (excluding the League Cup). This is the primary reason when studies on season ticket costs are done, Arsenal always appear so much more expensive than other clubs.
Now this for me is already a bone of frustration. Especially when we have to play a Champions League qualifier, which often becomes our first cup credit used. There have been previous suggestions from the club’s fan groups (I think the BSM came up with this one) that Arsenal should offer a ‘Season Ticket Lite’. An option to exclude cup games, and just pay for the 19 league games.
So these Emails, and there are plenty about, show that due to the amount of games that the club have deemed ‘relevant’ this season, there will be an additional charge to season ticket holders. Ranging from £16.11 to upwards of £25.
How can they tag on additional costs, you may ask? Well within the clubs General Admission Season Ticket Terms and Conditions 2015/16 it states the following:
4.5 In the event that the First Team plays more than seven Relevant Cup Matches during the Season and/or there are, during the Season, more than six Category A Matches, or more than 14 Category B Matches, or more than six Category C Matches, the Club will provide information regarding the availability of tickets for such matches through the Club’s box office on request and on the Website (as well as information on where entry to the Ground for such matches can be obtained by the use of the Season Ticket). The cost of the tickets for any such matches shall be payable by you.
Now in the season ticket, paid for before the start of the season, we know we get a mixture of Cat A, Cat B & Cat C tickets making up the full cost. The club dictates that of the 26 games covered by the season ticket, there will be “six Category A Matches, 14 Category B Matches and six Category C Matches”. The 6 Cat A games are usually Spurs, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and more recently Manchester City. They then usually throw in the 1st knock out game of the Champions League. Thus making 6 games.
However, this year, due to greed, the club made an unprecedented move and made a group stage game Cat A. The home match against Bayern Munich. Having already played (or release ticket information) for the above 5 home Premier League games, it meant we had already had out 6 Cat A games. And then we drew Barcelona. This in turn led the club to make the Barcelona game Cat A, and enforce clause 4.5 of their terms and conditions.
Now £16.11 is not much money. It is affordable. But it is more the principle of the matter.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Arsenal announced the news that ticket prices would be frozen for 2016/17.
At the time, Ivan Gazidis said: “We have incredible home support with sell-out crowds for every game. This decision reflects our on-going aim to maintain a fair and balanced approach to our ticket pricing.”
The clubs website even boasted “It will be the seventh time in 11 seasons at Emirates Stadium that prices have been held flat.”
And then they do this. It essentially works out to nearly a 2% rise. Talk about spin!
What also grates is that with the new TV deal, the club are set to earn hundreds of millions more over the next few years. This additional charge makes the club a little more than £720,000. I n the grand scheme of things, it is nothing. Just a little bit more money to sit in the bank.
Of course, the situation is exaggerated further by Arsenal’s current form. No wins in 4. Next to nothing spent in two transfer windows. And all this news will do is alienate the fans more. Cause my divisions. And eventually it will boil over and the fans will vent their frustrations in the only way they know, and can, at the team.
It just does not sit right.
Of course, Arsenal are not the only club who seem to think “Greed is Good”.
A £30 cap on away tickets is not quite as far as The Football Supporters Federation Twenty’s Plenty campaign, but it would at least be a start.
The fact that clubs rejected this proposal shows that deep down, they really do not care about the fans. They care about money. Reducing tickets to £30 for away fans would not have cost the clubs much. Maybe a couple of million a season, if that. Taking into account that TV deal, it would have been a nice gesture.
But the Premier League do not do nice gestures. They are looking to maximise income. No matter who it upsets.
It is worrying that Arsenal apparently led the No Campaign. How true this is (as it was a closed vote) is not clear. Is it just an attempt by the Daily Mail to add a top club to it for click bait, or is it true? It would not surprise me if Arsenal voted no.
What is frustrating is that whilst it is true, Arsenal do charge the highest for away fans (those 5/6 Cat A games, they get charged £64ish), we also get charged the most as away fans.
Wherever Arsenal fans go, alongside Manchester United and Liverpool, we are always Cat A. This means we have to pay £50 to go to holes such as Norwich, West Ham & Sunderland.
An Arsenal away fan who go’s to every Premier League away game will pay about 35% more than a fan of Leicester, or Southampton, who often pay the lowest categories.
The majority of tickets we pay are over £40. About 4 or 5 games northwards of £50.
Whilst the club voting yes might have cost the club more than any other side, it would have also saved clubs fans the most. It would have saved me around £300 a season. A big chunk of change that.
So in their own self greed, by voting NO, Arsenal have kept their profits high, and missed a chance to save their own fans a lot of money.
This weekend, fans of Liverpool will be protesting against their owners, FSG, after it was announced that next year tickets will be as high as £77.
Considering that when FSG took over from Gillett and Hicks, they were seen as white knights, riding in on their Yankee horse to save the club, it is a massive shift in popularity. It shows that owners, especially seemingly the American ones, are no different to each other. you get rid of one lot, and the new lot are just as bad.
Over at Manchester United, we are seeing what could potentially happen if the bubble bursts.
Reports this morning are that the Alex Ferguson Stand could be closed for their UEFA Cup home tie against Midtjylland.
Despite dramatically reducing ticket prices (allegedly), there are still 27,000 unsold tickets. this despite them having a policy where season ticket holders are forced to buy tickets via direct debit – if they cancel their direct debit their season ticket get’s cancelled.
In the grand scheme of life, £16.11 is not a massive amount. My rail season ticket has gone up more this year. But it is the principle of the matter. When there is more cash in the game then ever before. And this cash is going to dramatically increase again, the fact that Arsenal, and other clubs, are trying to squeeze every last penny out of fans is just wrong.
Of course, there are some who say “the solution is easy, just do not go.” It is not easy.