Arsenal Football Club have announced that they intend to ‘freeze’ ticket prices at the Emirates in the wake of criticism from supporter groups.
The North London outfit have fielded criticism from away fans of Manchester City as well as their own supporters for what they deem as over-priced tickets that out-price a number of die-hard fans from attending matches.
Just under a third of Manchester City’s allocated tickets to their January 13 trip to the Emirates were returned to Arsenal as around 900 fans ‘boycotted’ the game in angry backlash over the £62 starting price for a ticket.
Now, the club has revealed they have decided against increasing the prices next season, leaving many fans and pressure groups feeling they have achieved some degree of success with their attempts to reason with the club.
In fact, the club itself released an official statement that stated it was, amongst other factors, ‘feedback from fans’ that had lead to their decision.
"Arsenal Football Club has announced it will not be making any ticket price increases next season.”
"The move follows a full review by the Arsenal board which included an assessment of the current economic environment and feedback from fans' groups.“
In the overall context of the modern game, increasingly ticket prices are reflective of the inflation in other areas of the sport – transfer fees, wages, agent fees, television rights, and sponsorship deals are all ever-increasing in price.
There is a modicum of hypocrisy intertwined with calls for clubs to spend more money on bringing new players in and increase wages to keep star players already at the club, yet there are complaints that ticket prices are too high.
I assessed the situation earlier this month when Manchester City visited the Emirates amid a flurry of media interest and commentary from all angles on the very subject.
I came to the conclusion that when City a supporter group expressed their belief that £62 was a ridiculous amount of money’, they likely hadn’t pondered whether the £500 million City had spent on transfer fees alone in the last 5 years had affected that whatsoever.
Now, it seems that the Arsenal Football Club have in fact yielded to their own supporters and, whichever way you look at it, that is no bad thing. I must admit I was a little surprised that there had been such a quick turn-around in the club’s standpoint and I believe that other clubs would be wise to follow suit.
There are many uncertainties in football but one thing is for sure – without bums on seats across the globe, there would be no transfers, no wages, no agents, no lucrative television rights or sponsorship deals. In all likelihood there would be no football.
Fans, like the masses in any political structure, have power in their numbers.
image: © michael hilton