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Now that us spectators are the product, we actually do have some power.

By Tony Attwood

“The omnipotent broadcasters who bestride English football often seem to reserve as much regard for match-going supporters as McDonald’s do for their cows.”

I like that comment.

The fact is that in Spain if clubs allow TV cameras to show empty seats the club is fined – so it is encouraged to give away tickets in “vulnerable” (ie likely to be seen by TV) areas.  That policy which started in 2016/17 was due in part to the lack of tradition of away support.  Since every game is on TV, when their club is not at home most fans gather in their favourite local bar and watch there.

Trouble is, the home fans have latched on to the issue, and so don’t buy tickets until the price is reduced at the last moment.  As usual TV wins by having a product that looks as if everyone wants it, and the clubs lose, tied into a deal that does them no good.  Apart from when they play each other even Barcelona and Real Mad usually have spare tickets – but high away out of the sight of cameras.

In England, no one thought to put the issue of empty seats into the newspaper contracts, so the newspapers publish pictures (as we have shown before, not always honest pictures – such as using a picture from the Ems during an Emirates Cup day at a time when Arsenal were not playing) of empty seats.   They rarely publish pictures of a full stadium.

So as Vincent Kompany wrote on Twitter, a full ground makes for a better ‘product’ thanks to the colour and noise they project through the screen.

Thus us fans – the guys who go to games as often as we can – have made the journey from fans to customer to product accessory.   Hold that thought next time you go to a ground.

Just as when something is available free on the Internet (such as with Facebook) you, the reader are the product (as Facebook collects your data) so now you are the product for TV.

Of course it doesn’t always work: West Ham supporters have found a jolly good way of not being product. And I wonder what Mark Hughes does for supporter numbers at Southampton. No one would ever call him the Product.

Ticket prices in the last 20 years have gone up by over 1000% which is about 900% more than general inflation, and as a result large parts of the ground are full of old farts like me.  Still supporting, still as passionate as ever, but sometimes glad that Arsenal don’t score that many goals because that business of getting up and down all the time is a pain in the…

We also mess up the system because we care about other things too, such as staying in touch with our families no matter what matches we miss.   Hence my missing our run of three successive victories due to a desire to see my youngest daughter each year, which means a trip to Australia.  Family before football.  It’s an old person’s thing.

But being the product gives us power – as they people who fly aeroplanes with banners on, or hold up placards realise.  Trouble is that sort of product is just a sideshow.   The real product power is not being there.  That affects the club’s income a little, but much more – it affects TV and TV already has massive problems with falling viewers.

So if TV has a problem then TV has to find the answer.  If we are the product they have to do something for us and that means forcing the clubs to cut the cost of tickets – as has effectively (although in a roundabout way) in Spain.

This already happens to a degree by making sure no away ticket costs more than £30.  Next they will make the behind the goal area cheaper than now.   Then they will direct players always to celebrate in one specific place.

Then after that they will want bright young things who can and will leap up and down and shout, and restrict old farts to out of the way areas… which is then when I bid farewell to Arsenal.    But it is the route we are taking.  We are the product.

The only hope is that we find a way to use our new status wisely.

37 comments to Now that us spectators are the product, we actually do have some power.

  • Chris

    Tony,

    in France there has been, after the 98 World Cup a whole marketing strategy at ringing women into the seats.
    Now, isn’t that a nice one ?!?!

    Cheers, as so often you are right on spot.

    Wonder if there is not a business angle to these developments. How about an App to direct fans to the right seats…

  • Steve

    A simple solution which might help is to allow sales through ticket exchange before s match is sold out. I bet loads of the empty seats are season ticket holders who are unable to sell their tickets because the game is not (quite) sold out

  • porter

    Staying away from the ground has always been the only real way to influence the powers . See the infamous demise of Billy Wright following the Leeds match all those years ago.
    The conundrum at Arsenal has been the publishing of tickets sold as opposed to those in attendance . We season ticket holders have always held on to the gold dust because of the much vaunted supposed waiting list , full in the knowledge that should we release it the queue to get it back was so large. It has been a successful tactic by the club so much so that it is now being used by our neighbours who have jacked up the prices to their exisitng clientele extolling the amount of people waiting.
    The East stand is the one that TV will want full as they pan around not wanting us to see away keepers tying their laces and no doubt will want to see attractive ladies and girls sat in the most visible areas . Whether the price of North Bank lower would get reduced is interesting ( to me anyway ) I suppose behind the goal might be an option but at my advanced age I doubt any change will actually affect my pocket but who knows my son and grandkids might benefit. Roll on the day it’s free.

  • colario

    From the Uxbridge Dictionary of the English language.

    “Daddy”

    Definition:

    ‘Someone who was alive the last time Liverpool won the English league football championship.’

  • knobby

    Spurs had a goal disallowed and var confirms the links correct decision..
    BT sports spend the entire HT convincing themselves that it was inconclusive the lines that were drawn were on Son’s feet conveniently missing Tha fact he was leaning forwards and his head was 2ft ahead.
    Even the idiot ref they get in failed to spot this.
    Is there any hope?

  • knobby

    Sorry not links lino’s.

  • porter

    Just need to clear up this offside anomaly , is it feet or body ? a player on the turn will always lean forward but if his feet are level , is that offside?

  • Gord

    It can’t be the arms (or hands), as they cannot be used to play the ball. It can’t be hair (for those with long hair), as hair has insufficient mass, strength and/or stiffness to play the ball. It can be the head or chest. I suppose it could be the hips. It most definitely can be legs (or feet).

    I wonder if it could be the nose. My feeling is that because is largely cartilage and skin, it lacks as a structure to play the ball with.

  • Gord

    The problem with that look at things, is that it takes too long to parse during a game situation.

  • knobby

    It’s anything that you are allowed to touch the ball with (anything except arms and hands).
    It would help if the tv companies took an exam of competence to allow them on tv.

  • Gord

    OT: CSKA game

    Russia has issued a supposed security “guarantee” to Arsenal fans. What does that mean, they won’t be exposed to nerve agents by Russian agents? Unless they want to assign police to every Arsenal fan that goes to that game, I doubt that they could stop any Arsenal fans from being assaulted.

  • knobby

    I suppose it’s like the Hells Angels in charge of security at rock concerts.
    The only good thing is Russia have spent millions on new stadia and that would be a total waste if the World cup gets cancelled because of lack of protection of fans.
    Then again a few bits of concrete is pissing in the wind compared to the money they are throwing at nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers etc.

  • MickHazel

    colario

    Also from the Uxbridge Dictionary of the English language.

    “great grandfather”

    Definition:

    ‘Someone who was alive the last time Tottenham Hotspur won the English league football championship.’

  • porter

    OI less of the ageism , I was at school when it happened and it wasn’t pleasant .So stop bringing it up.

    It only took 10 years and now the scum are in tears it only took 10 years.

  • Chris

    Great, so now the Guardian are after Welbeck for his ‘dive’, using him in the headline. They recon he did it twice, once in 2012 with Manure, and this week.

    Yet in the story, they list other players (only english ones… I mean foreigners never dive right ?!?) who are known and recognised experts. But who is in the headline ?

    Interestingly no one asks the question of why this state of affairs keeps happening in the PL, and it does not give any indication of the clubs profiting of it. Nor of any action that the PL would have to take to make this stop.

    And why the hell are they not jumping on that horse each time it happens in the PL ? or when it happens to Arsenal, like at the tune of 2 or 3 times a year if I am not wrong ? I guess that is what you call an agenda. And probably they did not sign any paper with UEFA about bringing the CL/EL into disrispute….

    Where’s the “it all evens out in the end” conclusion when it comes to penalties awarded against Arsenal ?

  • PTO

    (only english ones… I mean foreigners never dive right ?!?)
    Drogba & Costa English?
    It was a good article which made the point that if managers were penalised for their players dives it would cease pretty quickly.

  • Chris

    @PTO,

    yeah sure

    So the PGMOB decides that Ozil, Lacazette, Auba etc are diving and get rid of Mr Wenger.
    Like the fact that Guardiola just disregards guidelines and just gets a fine he can pay in a few minutes of his work, yet when he criticises refs so bad he gets a top secret session he is not banned, whereas Mr Wenger doing thr same has to serve 3 games on the stands ?

    No sorry, forget that. The player diving ought to be punished, be it in the box or outside.

    Or much easier, the ref, the assistants and the VAR guy ought to be suspended along with the player if they allow that to happen with salaries not paid.

  • Gord

    Congratulations to the U23 in their 3-1 win over Chel$ea. They are now in 2nd place.

    https://www.arsenal.com/fixture/under-23/2018-Mar-17/under-23-3-1-chelsea-under-23-match-report

  • Florian

    OT, but this is something that every Arsenal fan should read before joining a discussion:
    How to disagree well: 7 of the best and worst ways to argue

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    What should be of serious importance to Arsenal now and us the Gooners, is for the Gunners to continue in the 3 games winning run they’ve recently before the international break achieved in all competitions. They MUST continue in this winning run without suffering a lose in any game or even drawing any match both in the rest of their 8 remaining PL games and 5 Europa League Cup knockout matches to have a very strong finish to their season overall to comfort us the Gooners for the disappointments we’ve suffered this season in losing out to win one of: the PL Title, the FA Cup and the League Cup. Whereas, Arsenal ought to have won the League Cup when they played in the final match to win the Cup. But the Gunners cave-in in the final match losing out to the eventual winners of the Cup.

    To think of it, it has been this cave in syndrome at some stages in the season which has plagued the Gunners for the last 14 consecutive Premier League season’s campaign which has been stopping them from lifting the PL Title trophy ever since then. A cave in syndrome Le Boss has to finally but an end to it if the Gunners are to stand the chance of lifting the PL Title trophy next season.

    Why do we think Man City is comfortable topping the PL table this season with a massive 13 points lead ahead of their closest rival club? And even, why did Chelsea and Leicester in the two previous campaigns to the current one won the PL Title? The answer is not far fetched,. These three club sides found themselves starting their PL season campaign strongly and continue in that trend maintaining consistency up to the end of the season. But in any season that Arsenal are fortunate to start their League campaign strongly winning say, 4 games in a row, they next thing that us will see followed is to see the Gunners cave to start losing some couple of matches. Thus, gradually start dropping out of the PL Title race due their lack of maintaining game winning consistency. No! This has to stop next season if Arsenal are fortunate to start their League campaign on a very strong front foot winning say 4 in a run. They MUST give it whatever it’ll take to keep winning consistently to the end of the season. Fortunately, the VARs will officially be introduced in the Premier League next which hopefully will but into check the PGMO cleverness in match rigging orchestrating anti-Arsenal referring in the PL. Which no doubt has been existing at the PGMO for the 14 consecutive seasons.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    What should be of serious importance to Arsenal now and us the Gooners, is for the Gunners to continue in the 3 games winning run they’ve recently achieved before the international break achieved in all competitions. They MUST continue in this winning run without suffering a lose in any game or even drawing any match both in the rest of their 8 remaining PL games and 5 Europa League Cup knockout matches to have a very strong finish to their season overall to comfort us the Gooners for the disappointments we’ve suffered this season in losing out to win one of: the PL Title, the FA Cup and the League Cup. Whereas, Arsenal ought to have won the League Cup when they played in the final match to win the Cup. But the Gunners cave-in in the final match losing out to the eventual winners of the Cup.

    To think of it, it has been this cave in syndrome at some stages in the season which has plagued the Gunners for the last 14 consecutive Premier League season’s campaign which has been stopping them from lifting the PL Title trophy ever since then. A cave in syndrome Le Boss has to finally but an end to it if the Gunners are to stand the chance of lifting the PL Title trophy next season.

    Why do we think Man City is comfortably topping the PL table this season with a massive 13 points lead ahead of their closest rival club? And even, why did Chelsea and Leicester in the two previous campaigns to the current one won the PL Title? The answer is not far fetched,. These three club sides found themselves starting their PL season campaign strongly and continue in that trend maintaining consistency up to the end of the season. But in any season that Arsenal are fortunate to start their League campaign strongly winning say, 4 games in a row, they next thing that us will see followed is to see the Gunners cave in to start losing some couple of matches. Thus, gradually start dropping out of the PL Title race due their lack of maintaining game winning consistency. No! This has to stop next season if Arsenal are fortunate to start their League campaign on a very strong front foot winning say 4 in a run. They MUST give it whatever it’ll take to keep winning consistently to the end of the season. Fortunately, the VARs will officially be introduced in the Premier League next which hopefully will but into check the PGMO cleverness in match rigging orchestrating anti-Arsenal referring in the PL. Which no doubt has been existing at the PGMO for the 14 consecutive seasons.

    Sorry for my reposting again.

  • Gord

    Sorry for my reposting again.

    Sorry for my reposting again.

    Sorry for my reposting again.

    Sorry for my reposting again.

    —-

    You seem to take time to think about what what you are posting.

    Please SAA, just post the correction, don’t repeat the post. Perhaps you feel to attached to context? My suggestion would be to learn the “lanaguage” of sed (stream editor), which might carry your wishes. It will be more concise.

    For example:
    s/fishes/wishes/g

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I could suggest a way that the tv companies can save themselves some money – get rid of the so called idiotic experts on the matchday commentary . They serve no other purpose than to piss off viewers with their ill informed and moronic opinions .

    Which if turn would encourage viewers to mute the commentary, often leading them to cancel their subscriptions and look around for free internet streams . How many hours of listening to Jim Beglin and Andy Townsend would be enough for you ? I have had my fill , thank you .

    Some of those foreign commentators actually are so genuinely enthusiastic , that they truly enhance the viewing pleasure . And most of the time , we don’t even understand what they are saying, but still are enthralled by it all !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sign on the door of a SYT –

    Please don’t knock on my door to talk about God .
    I don’t knock on your door to talk about wine and vibrators , do I ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A common enough mistake –

    ‘ The forest was shrinking , but the tress kept voting for the axe because its handle was made of wood , and they thought it was one of them .’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry ..trees kept

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    @ Gord. It’s irritating ehn? Okay, noted and thanks.

  • Pat

    Answering Gord’s point:

    The advice to fans travelling to Moscow also says the British embassy ‘is not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia at this time’.

    Two things: it was the British PM, leader of a nuclear state, who frightened the Russian people with a 24 hour ultimatum; no evidence has still been produced that Russia had anything to do with the incident in Salisbury. Many people consider this to be a ‘false flag’, a deliberate operation by a state (British?) to divert attention from something they are doing, or to offer an excuse for something they intend to do.

    It is the British government that are the dangerous party here – that’s what I and a lot of other people think.

  • PTO

    Well! Well! Well!
    This must be the only blog where you can read about football and anti UK opinion.

  • PTO

    ….and is any surprise that it’s refuse for conspiracy theorists.

  • PTO

    a refuge (not refuse)

  • Tony,
    You said, “Family before football. It’s an old person’s thing.” The first part is very correct, as should the second part, but for both old and young alike. Unfortunately that is not the way it is in the real world. The family continues to suffer neglect for many varying reasons including, sadly, football.

    Your daughter will value your annual visits even more for your attention to that duty of care for her well being. All that makes for a healthier family atmosphere for the good of all. Keep at it and I hope others would be as keen as you are in doing similar things.

  • Pat

    PTO

    By anti UK opinion I suppose you mean me. I am not anti UK. I am a UK citizen. I am anti the current actions – and many of the past actions – of the UK government. I think the people of the UK deserve better.

  • PTO

    ‘I am a UK citizen’
    From Belfast wasn’t it?

  • Pat

    PTO

    From London.

  • PTO

    My apologies then. That must have been a different Pat, a woman in her fifties from Belfast who made trips over to watch the occasional games, and who quit the blog in protest at the political direction it was taking.

  • PTO

    …..and madly supportive of Wenger.

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