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Arsenal remain in the low tier for cheaper seats

By Tony Attwood

Another summer, another survey showing that Arsenal is the most expensive football  club to watch.

Except of course it isn’t. It all depends on what you mean by most expensive.  If you mean, the highest possible price for a ticket, yes that is the case for Arsenal.  But if you start taking into account what the seat offers (for example excluding seats that have restricted views, and comparing like for like) Arsenal come out quite well.

And if you consider the lowest price you can pay to get into games, Arsenal come out below average for pricing.   For years Arsenal have charged £10 to get into a League cup game – even the semi-final.  No one is cheaper.  If you look for the average lowest price ticket in Premier League grounds, even including the ones with restricted views in old grounds, the average price is £27.  Arsenal’s price is £26.  And that average does not include the £10 games.

At Swansea the lowest price is £35. At Tottenham £31.  And at Chelsea it is a whacking great £41, more than one and a half times the price of an Arsenal cheap ticket for a category C league match.  And still they claim Arsenal is the most expensive!

And none of those prices take into account the quality of the provision inside the Emirates.

And here’s another thing.   The season ticket prices that papers love to quote don’t take account of cup games.  Arsenal include six or seven cup games (other than League Cup) in their ticket prices, which usually means a number of Champions League games and FA Cup games.  I don’t think any other club does that.  Indeed Man U used to force season ticket holders to buy full price League cup tickets whether they wanted to go or not, although I think after bad publicity they stopped that.

So when we do the complicated sums in which we compare seats with a similar position and view, and compares season tickets in terms of the actual number of games they entitle you to attend, the figures revealed are very different from those in the press.

But of course no journalist likes to let the facts get in the way of a good story.  However the reality is that for many clubs prices have gone up again this year – and the reason is clear.  Player wages and transfer fees.  These spiral so the money to pay for them spirals out of control.  We want more and more top players at Arsenal, so we have to spend.

As you might expect the newly promoted clubs have pushed up their prices dramatically, as have Stoke and Hull.  Overall Average price rises have been around 6.5%.  Arsenal is less than half this.

The  Football Supporters’ Federation however came out with a strange comment… “Nine out of 10 fans already think they are paying too much for tickets and these figures only back that point of view.  Clubs are swimming in cash and the last media deal was worth £5bn. The huge increase would have been enough for clubs to let every fan in for free and they would have been no worse off.
“Top-flight clubs need to think long-term and cut prices. Never mind all the clever PR strategies clubs come out with – nothing would earn goodwill like dropping prices.   The FSF will lead a march on Premier League and Football League HQ demanding ‘Affordable Football For All’ on Thursday 14th August. We would encourage all fans to join us.”
Now let’s just consider that “swimming in cash” comment.  If that is the case, no one should be making a loss, and no one should be worried about FFP.   Except Man City fell foul of FFP, but is swimming in cash.  And hardly any clubs are making a profit.  Arsenal do.  And so do three or four others from time to time.  But talk to the likes of Tottenham, Everton, Man U, Man C, Liverpool, Chelsea – most seasons they are not making a profit.
So the FSP argument is that we should all support benefactor clubs so that they can come along and buy success, because it makes the tickets cheaper.  (Although Man C most expensive tickets are up 10% this season which doesn’t quite fit the model).
The notion of the Football Supporters Federation supporting the benefactor model as the foundation for a secure future in football is just so bizarre, I can’t really think of what to say.

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21 comments to Arsenal remain in the low tier for cheaper seats

  • ZOON

    Arsenal’s average lowest priced ticket is £26 please provide evidence for this. The lowest priced ticket for an Arsenal game is £26 but across all catergory games £26 doesn’t seem right

    Lowest season ticket price is £1014 divided by 26 games = £39 would seem a fairer reflection on an average seet at Arsenal.

  • oldgroover

    We’re number one!

  • Ben

    But why 26 games and not 38 you divide by?
    Going by 38 bought me close to £26

  • ZOON

    We only play 19 home games in the league plus the 7 possible cup games the season ticket includes.

  • ZOON

    2014-15 Matchday Prices – Members

    Cat A

    Cat B

    Cat C

    Upper Tier

    Centre Upper

    £127

    £73.50

    £51.50

    Centre Upper Back

    £95.50

    £55.50

    £38.50

    Next to Centre Upper

    £95.50

    £55.50

    £38.50

    Next to Centre Upper Back

    £84

    £49.50

    £34.50

    Wing Upper

    £84

    £49.50

    £34.50

    Wing Upper Back

    £74.50

    £43

    £30.50

    Corner Upper

    £84

    £49.50

    £34.50

    Goal Upper

    £90

    £52.50

    £36.50

    Goal Upper Back

    £74.50

    £43

    £30.50

    Lower Tier

    Centre Lower

    £70.50

    £40

    £28.50

    Wing Lower

    £64

    £36.50

    £26

    Corner Lower

    £64

    £36.50

    £26

    Goal Lower

    £64

    £36.50

    £26

    Family Enclosure – Lower Tier

    Adult

    £64

    £36.50

    £26

    Senior Citizen / Cannon Club

    £27.25

    £16

    £11.25

    Junior Gunner

    £24

    £10

    £10

    Family Enclosure – Upper Tier

    Adult

    £84

    £49.50

    £34.50

    Senior Citizen / Cannon Club

    £36.50

    £21.50

    £15

    Junior Gunner

    £32.50

    £19.50

    £13.75

  • ZOON

    When you cosider Crystal Palace at home is a Catergory B Game this year and the cheapest ticket is £37.50 and the most expensive is £75 so the average would be somewhere in the middle.

    If Palace is Cat B that tells you there are not many Cat C games.

  • Oliver

    On the one hand I like that the tiered system, it means that people can get to premier league games for under £30, and your average B game is not bad if you sit behind the goal. On the other hand, the hike for class A matches is huge.

  • H Bo

    Great article Tony and a very good point, Zoon great research but the average is calculated by the sum of all 60000 tickets at their various prices divide by 60000 hence why your average is probably different. I mean I am a disabled member and the most expensive ticket I had last season was £38.50 (Bayern) and the cheapest was £14.50 you also need to think about kids prices which are in the family enclosure is cheaper than stadium seats. I do believe Tony has yet again found the story hunters as usual finding a way to try and make us look bad I think we should try and spam all media sights with this article infact blog, you guys at Untold have me avoiding the papers as the b.s and repetitive stories are driving me to insanity.

  • Brent

    The media has perfected the art of crafting narratives from false truths, but even so is it really that surprising that the newest stadium in the EPL with the greatest number of amenities which also happens to be in London has expensive top tier tickets? If Arsenal really only raise their ticket prices around 3% per year that’s pretty impressive considering that’s only slightly more than the rate of inflation.

    Furthermore, what’s the deal with FSF? People have a right to a lot of things, but cheap top flight football probably isn’t one of them. By the same logic I could say that we should organize a march on Apple to demand a decrease in iphone prices. Seeing as Apple made a $7.7bn profit in Q3, they’re clearly taking advantage of their loyal fan base…but unlike Apple, Arsenal reinvests it’s profits into the Club so maybe that’s not the same thing.

    I guess the most important question is–do we want a brand new state of the art stadium with some of the world’s best players and one the greatest ever managers, while simultaneously having a sound business model that doesn’t rely on corruption, cronyism, or money laundering, while preserving the ability to grow the business organically? To me, Arsenal’s class is worth the premium even there technically isn’t one.

  • ZOON

    It is fine that people have to pay top money for top football but to say Arsenal is not one of the most expensive football seats in Europe is simply not true. We all love Arsenal but facts are facts.

    We have the top priced single ticket and the top priced season tickets and yes there are a few cheap tickets for league cup and Cat C tickets in the lower tier corners.

    Just look at the money made from our ticket sales and matchday revenue we are one of the highest in Europe.

  • ZOON

    Old Trafford, Manchester United

    127.3 (172)

    2

    Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madryt

    119.0 (161)

    3

    Camp Nou, FC Barcelona

    117.6 (159)

    4

    Emirates Stadium, Arsenal FC

    108.3 (146)

    5

    Allianz Arena, FC Bayern

    87.1 (118)

    6

    Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC

    82.5 (112)

    7

    Signal Iduna Park, Borussia Dortmund

    59.6 (81)

    8

    Parc des Princes, Paris Saint-Germain

    53.2 (72)

    9

    Anfield, Liverpool FC

    52.1 (70)

    10

    White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur

    46.9 (63)

    11

    Etihad Stadium, Manchester City

    46.2 (62)

    12

    Imtech Arena, Hamburger SV

    43.2 (58)

    13

    Veltins Arena, Schalke 04

    42.5 (57)

    14

    Juventus Stadium, Juventus Turyn

    38.0 (51)

    15

    Turk Telekom Arena, Galatasaray

    35.4 (48)

    16

    Şükrü Saracoglu Stadyumu, Fenerbahçe

    27.7 (37)

    17

    Estadio Vicente Calderón, Atlético Madryt

    27.5 (37)

    18

    San Siro, AC Milan

    26.4 (36)

    19

    Stadio Olimpico, AS Roma

    20.1 (27)

    20

    San Siro, Internazionale FC

    19.4 (26)

  • ZOON

    As you can see we are 4th and we have a far smaller stadium than those above us.

  • Mick

    @Brent
    ‘but even so is it really that surprising that the newest stadium in the EPL with the greatest number of amenities which also happens to be in London has expensive top tier tickets?’
    This is an important point and one which is hardly ever mentioned. Drawing a parallel with hotels would you expect to pay the same for a room in the London Hilton as you would to stay in an old lodging house in Blackpool? Of course you wouldn’t and yet where football ticket price comparisons are concerned the quality and location of what is on offer is conveniently ignored. It will be interesting to see what Spurs prices are like when their new stadium is up and running.

  • finsbury

    “The notion of the Football Supporters Federation supporting the benefactor model as the foundation for a secure future in football is just so bizarre, I can’t really think of what to say.”

    Wow. As Jamie Redknapp would say, that is “literally” insane. In the meantime the numbers of people playing grassroots, the facilities, the relative (to Spain and Germany) staggering lack of investment in the UK in real football, the lining of one’s pockets by all involved, what what?

    Arsenal tickets are better value then Tottenham tickets but we don’t want to tell that to Newscorp. Why ruin the party?

  • finsbury

    All football in the UK is overpriced.

    A shame a hghly publicised supporters group formed by experts in PR were more interested in promoting themselves and attacking the coaching of one of the best coaches in the world instead of, you know, focusing their time and energy on cheaper seating, safe standing areas etc…

    Yes that’s right. Fellow fans weren’t important to these super fans speaking to their friends in the media on behalf of all fans, as they sought publicity. Which is why they were telling everyone that knew how to coach. Experts on coaching who didn’t have the badges that coaches are encouraged to get elsewhere with the appropriate funding who thought that their salvation was not in cheaper tickets so that their kids to afford to come to the games with their friends, but in buying more overpriced players so that they could then pay even more for their tickets, and admire their beloved agents from afar.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    How many of the supporters that want the club to ‘Splash the Cash’ also want the same club to lower prices for seats?It is about finding a balance, I guess.

  • It hurts to read stuff about our darling club in the papers that are either untrue or completely out of context.

    Having said that, ticket pricing is one of those issues that I don’t get people whinging about. Crass as it might sound, I consider it a luxury to go see matches at Premier League stadiums. It is kinda like eating out at a fancy restaurant to me. Some people do this all the time (we can call them the ST holders) while for most of us, it is only once in a while. On my wife’s birthday or our anniversary, I’ll take her to very expensive restaurants and pay the bill without complaining. I can’t be eating at restaurants where you have to book appointment to eat and then complain about their prices.

    I go to the Emirates only a few times a year because I can’t afford to go often. I respect and commend Arsenal season ticket holders but I have always believed that they are because they are economically comfortable enough to be one.

    The FSF comment about clubs letting fans in for free is both financially stupid, selfish and hypocritical. These are people who already possess STs. If their proposal is to be based on raffling for every fan, I might get on board 😉 But seriously speaking, fans can’t complain about the cost of match tickets when we request clubs to splash the cash on new signings and pay whatever current players demand to keep them (case in point, the pay-him-whatever-it-takes-to-keep-him campaign for Sagna).

    If the ticket costs are too high for you, go only when you can afford to. This is actually the only way to drive the cost of tickets down. If there are fewer clamour for tickets, the clubs’ management might reduce the prices to encourage more people to come. Complaining about the cost of attending matches at the stadium of a club with tens of thousands on their ST waiting list is nothing but noise and a waste of time.

  • ZOON

    I wasn’t moaning about the prices just informing the author of the facts of the prices at Arsenal.The tickets are not cheap at Arsenal and are certainly not averagely priced in terms of the PL or Europe.

    You cant post things like this if there just not correct and not expect to challenged.

  • ZOON,

    I love your fact based comments and posts, even if I don’t agree with all of them. I love facts.

    My rant is not aimed at you or anyone on this thread. I was ranting at those who complain about high costs of premier league clubs’ match tickets, who wouldn’t give up their STs and would often urge the clubs to spend and spend and spend some more.

  • insideright

    The ‘real’ price of gold membership at Arsenal (season ticket plus access to Arsenal Player) is significantly cheaper now than when the new stadium first opened.
    As far as Arsenal is concerned this is a non story apart from the fact that there remains a waiting list and that most games sell out despire price levels. It’s called supply and demand – get used to it.
    Other clubs who, in the past, have not pushed their prices up whenever they had the opportunity are now having to make up lost ground – not least because FFP is cutting off the supply of non-approved money and because they have failed to develop their grounds due, in part at least, to mismanagement.

  • M18CTID

    A couple of things re the FSF statement:

    Firstly, I don’t see anything in it that supports the benefactor model.

    Secondly, they’re not saying that every fan should be let in for free – they’re just making the point that the current TV deal sees clubs getting an extra £20 million-£30 million a year meaning that surely some of that extra cash, even if it’s only a tiny percentage, could be passed onto the fans in terms of subsidising ticket prices. Why should every penny of that extra money find it’s way into the pockets of players and their agents?

    While I accept that the FSF have got some unrealistic ideas regarding ticket pricing, the point remains that all clubs can do more for their fans without it affecting their finances to any great extent. Note I said all clubs because I’m not interested in just attacking Arsenal on this issue. Besides, when it comes to category A pricing for away fans, City are hardly any better than Arsenal. I think we charged Arsenal fans £58 (lower tier) and £60 (lower tier) last season and that’s out of order IMO. Why should one set of fans pay double what another set pays? Clubs are abusing the concept of price categorisation – when it was first brought in, it was used to categorise matches based on the amount of extra policing that might be needed in the event of crowd trouble. These days it’s used pretty much in accordance with how attractive a fixture looks on paper. Not only that, the price differences between each category are huge in most cases. I doubt we’ll ever see an end to price categorisation but it’s not unreasonable to ask clubs for a bit more uniformity and to reduce the price differentials in each category which would make the cheapest tickets more expensive but the most expensive tickets less so.