Predicting the future in football is near impossible. Who would have guessed in 1990 that Liverpool would not win another league title in 26 years, despite winning 13 in the previous 26. Or in 1996 that the weird looking spectacled new Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, would have seen off 10 Spurs managers. Or in 2004, that Arsenal’s invincible’s would not win another league title. Or finally in 2015 that Leicester City would win the title.
Even though it is stupid trying to predict the future, with it being an international break, I thought I would put a few small short term predictions down on paper on a few different things Arsenal over the next couple of days.
If Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, season ticket prices will not drop.
In the Arsenal Terms and Conditions, we sign up to 19 league games and the first 7 cup games, excluding the League Cup. With qualification for the Europa League likely, Arsenal will stick to their guns. You will still get 19 league games and 7 cup games. You will just get Europa League instead of Champions League.
The T&C’s split fixtures up for pricing as follows:
6 Cat A, 14 Cat B and 6 Cat C
Recently Arsenal have created additional games as Cat A, and therefore charged this back to fans in the next years season ticket. Likewise this year, we are due a small refund.
The club will make the decision that despite us being in a lesser European competition, prices will remain the same, and with the same split of A, B & C.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United have been Cat A games this season. That is 5 of the 6 games. The club will either move another Premier League game to Cat A (previously West Ham has been Cat A) or rely on Arsenal getting a big home cup tie in either the FA Cup early stages, in the Europa League to make it 6.
Creating 6 Cat A games will not be a big problem.
The issue is the other end of the spectrum. Can Arsenal create enough Cat B games?
This season, Manchester United were drawn in a group which contained Fenerbache, Feyenoord and Zorya Luhansk. The club would have no qualms about making Fenerbache and Feyenoord Cat B. They would be if they were in the Champions League. Zorya Luhansk would have to be Cat C.
Southampton were drawn with Inter Milan, Sparta Prague and Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Inter Milan would certainly be Cat B, maybe even Cat A. Prague Cat B. Hapoel Be’er Sheve Cat C.
In recent years, the split in the Champions League group stages has been 1 Cat A, 2 Cat B. A move down to the Europa League would create 2 Cat B, 1 Cat C.
So for the club to offer the same amount of Cat A, B & C games, at the same cost, they would just have to boost one Cat B game to Cat A, and 1 Cat C game to Cat B. It will not be that hard to do.
Whether fans will happily pay for their season tickets when they are getting Europa League is another story. But the club do not care about the fans. With a waiting list of around 100,000 people, if 15% of people chose not to renew due to it, the 6,000 season tickets coming available will be quickly snapped up.
Dropping out of the Champions League will not see a drop in ticket prices.