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Football attendances in Europe – Arsenal in Europe – the final part: how much does it cost?

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Victory Through Harmony

By Walter Broeckx

As I was working on the articles about the football grounds in Europe I had to do a lot of research. And the more numbers I got the more interesting it became.  I found it particularly interesting to see who was having the highest number of people in their stadium and who can fill their ground the most.

As some people said that it also maybe would be interesting to see how much a ticket cost in all those grounds and see if this has any influence on the number of people. We all know that Arsenal has some of the highest ticket prices in the EPL. But how do we compare to the other big clubs in Europe?

So on another search I went. Not the search for the Holy Grail but the search for the tickets. And some clubs are very open on this but some clubs you really have to dig deep to find their prices on their websites.

The first problem I had was how do you start comparing all those prices. As every ground is different and some teams really can make a mess of their prices. There are teams who have more than 20 different prices for one single game. And others only have 3 categories of prices.

In order to make the article a bit understandable I decided to cut it in a somewhat more normal situation.  So I will  not take prices of seats next to the president of the club. I will only compare the prices of the tickets that are on sale for the average fan who wants to see a game of his favourite club.

So for each club I will give a maximum price and a minimum price for the seats and if they have standing places I will also give those. And then I will give an average price of tickets and by this I just took the highest and the lowest added them and divided them with 2. I know this is not perfect but believe me otherwise it would be totally unreadable. All the prices are in £ and believe me this was a hell of a job to get them all in this currency as most prices were in euro first. But this is an Arsenal supporters blog so I thought it would be best to give the ticket prices in £.

So here we go with the prices of the clubs which have ended high in the last two articles which you can find HERE and HERE. And the table is ranged from the highest average price to the lowest.

club capicity Highest price Lowest price Average price Standing
Barcelona 99354 119 45 82
Inter Milan 80065 143 18 80,5
Real Madrid 80354 101 59 80
AC Milan 80065 126 12 69
Arsenal 60355 66 33 49,5
Bayern Munchen 69901 59 25 42 12
Marseille 60031 50 25 37,5
Manchester United 75957 47 27 37
Schalke 04 61482 42 25 33,5 12
Borussia Dortmund 81264 40 23 31,5 10
Ajax 52960 37 14 25,5

So if you look at this table you can see that Arsenal has the highest average price in the EPL clubs listed here, but that in Europe we certainly are not top in this league.

But let us look at the other teams and those who can remember the percentage of how clubs fill their stadium will notice that this table is looking to be the opposite of that other table. The clubs that had the most unsold tickets are the clubs who have the highest prices for tickets.

Barcelona top the league and yes the money for those big signings and the wages for those players do have to come from somewhere. It looks like the average José Catalan has to dig deep in his pockets to see them play. So no surprise when you see big gaps in the stadium. And on my survey you could still buy tickets for their next home game.

In second place we find Inter Milan and their fans must pay for winning the CL. They are just behind Barcelona but we must note that they also do have very cheap tickets available. But those are mostly in the upper tier and from there you see some small players running around and then you go home and watch the game on TV to see what you couldn’t quite work out when you saw it in the flesh.

And for a club with a lot of  the superstars you also must pay a lot to see Real Madrid play.

AC Milan is the next on the list and to see Flamini warming the bench you have to dig deep in your pocket . So one could spend his money on something else if you ever are in Milan.

And then there is a big gap and in 5th place we find Arsenal. On average some £32 cheaper than Barcelona but also £25 more than the average price paid by the fan in Amsterdam.

Bayern Munich is next on the list and the Bavarian fan still has to pay over £40 to have a seat in the Allianz Arena.

And then we find two teams close to each other who happen to play each other in the CL in the next weeks. Marseille and United have almost the same price for a ticket.

And then we have Borussia Dortmund who have the second biggest attendance if you remember my second article in this series and where the fans don’t have to pay that much money to see them play. Borussia Dortmund is currently top in the Bundesliga.

And the lowest prices are paid by the Dutch fans from Ajax Amsterdam. They have the lowest highest price (is this okay in English? – fine Walter I’m right with you, Tony) and their average price looks real low. But Ajax is also a team in a relative small league and they cannot afford to ask higher prices I think.

A general conclusion is that the fans in the Bundesliga pay the lowest price for a top league. And in Spain you pay most for a two team league. If I had to make a choice I know which I would prefer.

But if we see at the table we could say that to win the CL and the league you must ask the fans a lot of money. So if we were to raise our prices at the emirates with some 60% we would be able to compete with them. But we also would be facing a lot of empty seats I think.

Raising the prices brings you more income per seat but will it mean more money in total? I don’t think so. As it would drive a lot of people out of the stadiums at the end of the day. A difficult choice many clubs have to make: asking more money with the risk of losing a part of the supporters. Of asking less money and hope the fans come back.

But in fact this is a question the board of Arsenal doesn’t have to ask themselves for the moment. We fill our stadium almost at the maximum capacity so no problems in this area for the moment.

Here’s a complete index of all the recent stadium stories

Which clubs in Europe are most successful at selling every ticket?

In Europe, which football clubs fill their grounds the most?

The biggest football stadia in Europe

Attendances in the EPL – comparing clubs across four years

Was the prediction of an empty Emirates correct?

Financing the Emirates: how it affected Arsenal

16 comments to Football attendances in Europe – Arsenal in Europe – the final part: how much does it cost?

  • walter

    A final remark: when there are 2 sets of prices like we have at Arsenal for top matches and the other I took the lowest category as most of the games are in that category.
    I did the same for other clubs who use two different price settings. The clubs in Italy also have the different price settings for example.

  • Wrenny

    The price of the cheapest tickets to watch Barca or Real are astonishing! £59 to watch Real from the nosebleed section where the players must look like ants. That’s more expensive than the highest priced tickets at many of the other clubs in the table.

    It’s interesting to look at just the German clubs, their cheapest seated tickets are all very similar – between £23 and £25 – as are their standing allocation – £10 to £12. You have to admire the Bundesliga financial model – no debt, reasonable ticket prices, and an exciting, competitive league.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Wrenny you are right about the distance to the pitch and the high prices you pay in some big stadiums.

    I think that expanding the Emirates can only be done with this kept in mind. I have had the pleasure of seeing games from behind the goal most of the time and from the half way line in the Emirates. And on one occasion I had to sit very high behind the goal. And even with my good eyes from a distance I must say this was the furthest for me to have a reasonable view on what was happening in front of the other goal.

    From the half way line I also was sitting high but there I could see both goals very well still. So an expansion could be made on the length of the pitch but not behind the goals I think. Be this expansion made by lowering the pitch or by putting another tier on top. We must keep the distance between the supporters and the pitch reasonable.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Walter, I’m very sorry but those prices you quote are ABSOLUTE NONSENSE.

    There is no way on earth that the most expensive ticket at Arsenal is £66. No way. Club Deck tickets, which are not next to the President, but are clearly on a par with the expensive tickets at Inter, Barcelona etc, are available through ticket exchanges as many of the tickets were sold to agencies recently. Those tickets are £100+ a game.

    The other issue you might want to address is this: how many really expensive tickets are there and how many cheap ones? Because the average price is a weighted average of the different prices. If you have 1000 tickets at £124 and 20,000 at £25 the average is nowhere near £75. And you know it.

    This article is deeply manipulative and paints an inaccurate and inappropriate picture.

    I truly trust that you did this through ignorance and not as some kind of machiavellian scheme.

    Your worthiness as a commentator went a long way south by writing this………

  • Wrenny

    Rhys,

    Walter acknowledges in the article that the ‘average’ he has calculated is far from perfect. This is clearly more of an overview than a meticulous analysis of the true average ticket price (which might be impossible to calculate) and even this has no doubt consumed a lot of time. It’s absurd to accuse Walter of trying to be manipulative, he has simply collated what little figures he has managed to find in the best way. They can be slightly misleading, but there are still some interesting numbers to look at, namely the lowest ticket prices of Barca and Real.

  • walter

    Rhys,

    I think I never have said that this would be the perfect comparison between the different stadiums.

    an example for a game in Inter Milan you can have 23 different tickets. And as they work also with A and B games you can end up with 46 different prices. And in the case of Inter (and AC Milan also) I left out the 3 most expensive which are sold at prices of around 350 euro or £292. As I thought that it would be a bit more relevant for the average reader to compare the more common ticket prices. I think you could sit next to Berluscone for that price and who wants so sit next to him. Unless you are a young girl who want to know the president of Italy in a more closer way.

    But as you can see in this case (Inter) I could go out and try to check how many tickets of each price (23) are available and then go out and calculate an average price.
    But how do you then compare a two tier stadium with a one tier or a 3tier stadium. as it all has its effect on the price settings.
    Some clubs have only 3 prices (OL. Marseille) so how can one compare 23 different prices with 3 prices.

    So I chose for the option to look at the prices that people like me and other (I think you can pay a lot more than I can) can afford to spend on football.

    And between the highest and lowest prices there are many other prices. How much of each category are available is a job that could be done but most clubs don’t have this information available on their site. Most clubs give the total capacity but they don’t give information like in stand X, block 1 you have 1250 seats at £40 and in stand X, block 2 you have 1250 seats at £45….

    If clubs would give me this information I could write about it. But in a book I think as it would be so much information it would be not possible to put this in an article on a blog.

    I put them in some kind of league table because, well don’t we just love any table we can find? And I sorted them on average prices because otherwise I had to come up with 3 tables. One from the highest to the lowest in high prices. One from the highest to the lowest in low prices. And than the one I made now which contains this all in one but you have to see where cou can spend a lot of money to go and see football and where you can spend a lot less money if you ever would like to go and see a game in one of the other big stadiums in Europe.

    And like I also said in my article: I know the average price setting is not the real average price. And I just gave the reason why it is almost impossible to find the real average price for any stadium.

  • Dark Prince

    Rhys Jagger is right…i think it would be wrong to make it as a simple average. Either weighted average system must be used or the pricing system must be segregated in 3 levels – the high priced seating areas, the medium priced seating areas and the low level priced seating areas.

  • critic

    agree with rhys,….highest priced arsenal ticket 66??? ridiculous…i once surveyed through sites and found it to be around 110.

  • walter

    I found these prices (like I found the prices of the other clubs in this) on the website of the clubs.
    http://www.arsenal.com/membership/buy-tickets and then scroll down and look for category B matches (as I did with other clubs)

    And I did take the category B matches of all teams who have different prices for different matches.

    In the bundesliga most clubs only have one price.

    And the reason I took the B category is just because most games fall in this category.

  • Samuel

    There are only two EPL clubs mentioned here Arsenal and Trash.United who have a 15000 more spectators advantage in the old Trafford stadium so it,s obvious the average ticket price there is lower than Arsenal,s ,the usual claptrap from this blog?

  • Paul C.

    I think Walter has done an excxellent job here. It is extremely difficult to compare prices between clubs fr all the reasons he has given. At Barcelona they have cheap tickets that are up in the nose bleeds opposite the main grandstand. I have sat in those seats and believe me they are a long, long way from the pitch. I tried to get better seats (for Barca v. Alavez in 2005, Alavez were at that time bottom of the league) but they shot up in price the moment you came down from the nosebleeds. The cheap seats at Milan are actually much, much better views. Because of the steepness of the San Siro the view you gte from the upper reaches is still pretty decent, and you actually get a terrific view of the flow of the game, it seems as though you are looking straight down at the pitch at times. You cant see players faces however.

    If Arsenal had another tier of seats above the existing ones that would be the equivalent of the Barca/Milan nosebleeds. They would probably be cheap tickets as well.

    Considering London is the most expensive city in Europe I have always thought Arsenal have pretty decent prices for tickets. When you review prices for London clubs they are all pretty similar. What Arsenal have, due to the Emirates, is luxury seating that the other clubs just do not have. That means our upper prices are higher than anyone else. Those are often the prices quoted in the media when the “Arsenal have expensive tickets” stories are run.

    A similar thing has happened in the US over the past 20 years with teams in all Leagues building new stadiums/arenas that have large Executive/Premium Seating capacities. The normal ticket prices havent changed much, but the most expensive ticket prices have skyrocketed because those seats have dedicated restaurants, bars, and other amenities. Those are the seats that make your profit, and that is why Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool are so desperate to build a new stadium. It isnt just to get new capacity. It is to get the premium seating areas that you can charge the moon for.

  • Samuel

    And the best spectator attendance in all of Europe ,Germany with it,s recently built or refurbished stadia for the 2006 World Cup ,compared to Englands dilapidated or smallish ones,with Arsenal the leaders in supporters comforts and more season ticket holders waiting to get their season tickets ,every season that goes by ,so how much a new stadium for Liverpool ,Spurs or Chelsea at today 2011 prices when Arsenal forked out 340 million pounds for the Emirates and has already paid off half of that amount in just four and a half years,figure that one out mister ?

  • RedGooner

    I agree I think the article is balanced and interesting to see where we stand in general compaired to other clubs.

    Rhys, I think you got out the wrong side of the bed this morning.
    We all do sometimes 🙂

  • Matoo

    Ummm….When I visited Spain in Feb last year, I bought a Barcelona v Malaga ticket for 42Euros. And those were the mid-range tickets, there were also many tickets available for 33, 29 and even 19Euros (although that was so high up, I wondered what people could actually watch from there). So I’m sorry to say, you’re data is factually incorrect on what was otherwise a very interesting series of articles. Possibly those were the prices for a Real Mad game but even for a decent team like Mallorca (who were 6th at the time) it is much cheaper. And yet, there were only about 75-80k at the game, and even this may be a generous estimate (might be interesting to consider the income that Barca makes from their stadium if they cant fill the stadium with 25-40pound tickets).

  • Harman

    Walter,
    You can certainly do an article on the top 6 clubs in EPL using the ‘real’ average price. The information about the size of various stands must be available easily for them, else ask someone. If you add other sources of income to it and do a projected average annual profit after 10 years for all those clubs. Add some of your own bells and whistles to it and that will make a cracker of an article.

    I have sort of roughly calculated from your figures that Arsenal will overtake Manure in future. However, the date seems far away for now. You can tell us exactly how far !! Go for it !!

  • Dark Prince

    I think it would be impossible to come to any definate conclusions if we start comparing clubs with their ticket prices. Not only does the economy have an effect but the purchasing power of the people of different cities too vary a lot.