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Arsenal is not the most expensive ground in the world. Nor even London

By Tony Attwood

Are Arsenal’s tickets the most expensive in the Premier League?

It is something that is often raised on this site, and I thought it might be time to do one of our regular reports on the issue.

If you’ve been with us down this route before you will know that the season ticket at Arsenal gives you a seat to 26 matches; I think all other clubs in the past have had 19, although one or two have more than this at certain price points.  Tottenham in their new pricing policy for super whizzo new WHL have more than 19 – but it is all a bit complicated so even having had a look at the season ticket issue I am not too sure who gets what.

And of course I’ll want to factor in whether the club has to pay for its own stadium or not.  Manchester City and West Ham have to greater or lesser extents avoided paying all the costs of the new ground.  Arsenal and Tottenham have (or are about to) pay all the costs.  Chelsea will also have to, whenever that happens, although they do have a very rich benefactor who will presumably soak up a lot of the cost, and own the ground himself.

Anyway, let’s look at the prices

Club Lowest Highest Games Low Cost per game High Cost per game
Arsenal £891 £1768.50 26 £34.27 £60.01
Chelsea £750 £1250 19 £39.47 £80.00
Tottenham £795 £2200 19 £41.84 £115.79 (84.61*)
West Ham £289 £1155 19 £15.21 £60.78

These figures are taken from a report by the Daily Telegraph.  The only thing not clear in that report is which Tottenham tickets include some extra games and how many extra games there are.  So with both the highest and the lowest prices I’ve included the price if 7 extra games are included.  However there is no indication how many seats get extra games at Tottenham or where they are nor indeed what the extra games are.  But the implication of the article is that only some tickets include extra games and some of those games are League Cup matches.

I do know that some clubs have insisted that season ticket holders buy cup match tickets and that these include League Cup games (Man U is notorious for doing or having done that).  Arsenal, as you will know have a particularly low prices for League Cup games (£10 lower tier throughout, £20 upper tier throughout, £10 for over 60 year olds upper tier throughout), but I have seen nothing to indicate that this happens elsewhere.

It is also worth noting in the report that at New WHL “only 2,500 tickets  – or just four per cent of the stadium – are available at the lowest price of £795, and you have to be connected to a junior applicant eligible for this family area to get one.”

As far as I can tell these tickets don’t buy the cup tickets so they really are £41.84 a game – which is 22% higher than Arsenal’s cheapest tickets which cover a much bigger section of the ground.  The Telegraph confirms that the £2200 include domestic cup tickets which seems to mean FA Cup and League Cup.

So to get a comparison there what we would have to do is take out European games from Arsenal’s schedule and include League Cup matches, which would enhance the differentiation between the clubs even further.

However it appears that at one end of the ground Tottenham fans will have access to a private bar where they will receive a “complimentary” beer at half time.  The Telegraph adds, “so there’s every chance at least a few of them will not be in their seats at the start of the second half,” which is a bit sarcastic.

But I would add that I really personally don’t like any promotion of a free alcoholic drink.  I enjoy a glass of wine or a pint of beer before or game, but alcohol is an addictive substance.  Giving it away free never quite seems to me to be right.  But I am sure they know what they are doing.

It is interesting that my memories of the move to the Ems from Highbury was something very positive for me (although not necessarily always in terms of results!)   I don’t recall having any worries about price changes and from the very first match thought the new place was a huge improvement on the old.

But maybe there were some people who were upset by the move – I wasn’t writing the blog then, so I don’t rightly know.   The Telegraph reports one Tottenham fan saying, “They have got us over a barrel at the moment.  There was no indication that prices would be increased like this. If anything it was inferred prices might be along a similar line [to the Wembley pricing].”  But that’s one fan.  Not a representative sample.

I suspect however Tottenham are facing the same issue as Arsenal did with our move.  We know from earlier reports there are bank loans, and that the cost of the stadium increased over time, and the loans have to be repaid in a set time span, hence they need a lot of money from the ground to pay for this.  That was what hampered Arsenal in the transfer market; we shall have to see if it has any impact on Tottenham.

What I also wonder is whether the Tottenham manager has had to do what Mr Wenger had to do – sign a clause to say he would be staying at the club for a certain number of years, as part of the bank guarantee.

Anyway, as before, it is clear that Arsenal is not the most expensive ground in London, let alone the world, as some commentators here have said over and over and over and over.  Anyone wishing to repeat the claim will be asked to provide evidence.  The phrase “everyone knows it is true” which has been widely used in the past as a form of evidence, will not be accepted as evidence.  Fair enough?

 

From the Arsenal History Society

Why did Arsenal manager Knighton turn down Man City but not buy players? Summer of 1921.

 

 

24 comments to Arsenal is not the most expensive ground in the world. Nor even London

  • TH14

    Hey, Interesting write up…

    But I can’t totally agree with your workings.

    Are you saying that Arsenal play 7 more games each season than everyone else??

    Or is Arsenal Season tickets valid for 7 more games than the others? I think there are 19 home games in the premiership and therefore your calculations should be based on that. (as we don’t know how far any club will go in any cup run domestic or European) If your club does go all the way in a cup competition, then your quids in!

    So over 19 games a season (Prem Games) Arsenal are right up there, the highest averaged price tickets using the above calculations, without even offering Champions League Football. (Note that the other clubs that charge as much as arsenal do offer Champions league Football!)

  • Andy Mack

    Unfortunately this information will completely miss some of our ‘Fans’, so don’t expect them to stop using the ‘most expensive tickets’ BS comment…

  • TH14 – sorry I did not make this clear. Arsenal season tickets include the 19 league games at home, plus seven other games which in the season ticket contract are set out as FA Cup and European competition games. So this season included no FA Cup games but included all the Europa League games thus far including the game against Milan and next week’s game against Moscow.
    Arsenal’s season tickets specifically exclude league cup matches – even the semi – final – which are sold on the open market at £10 lower tier and £20 upper tier
    The tickets of other clubs are generally just for league games. So I think it is right to divide Arsenal’s price by 26 games but other club’s price by 19.

  • Andy I don’t expect them to stop, but since I do try to be fair in the way I moderate comments here I think I have done enough to allow myself either to laugh at them, be occasionally rude, or simply delete the comments. But as I say, I do like to give people fair warning.

  • Gord

    You’ve talked about ticket touters (I know it as scalping). The CBC is carrying a story that one of the online ticket resellers who gets tickets more easily than a single person can, apparently pays kickbacks to the team in question.

    Just another reason not to support Canadian professional sports teams (and the team mentioned in the CBC article, isn’t even a sports team, it is a “past-time” team).

  • PTO

    I don’t think it’s the fans who (on the whole) are complaining of our ticket prices, but anyone who’s looking for a stick to beat us with generally comes up with that one. I think it should be considered a “Godwins Law” and anyone invoking it gets a yellow card.

  • Andy Mack

    TH14, we knew we had the group phase of the Europa League, so it was guaranteed to be more than 19 games and even if we had missed out on Europe then it usually includes a few rounds of the FA Cup, so as an average it could be argued as only being say 22 games, with a min of 19 and a max of 26.

  • Gord

    In refereeing news, it is apparently news that there will be no British officials (referees or assistants) at the wurld cup. Which is as it should be. Heck, the PGMO people shouldn’t even be on the pitch at EPL games. I could probably build a robot which generates random (exponentially distributed) times at which to blow a whistle, flip a coin to determine which side is guilty and give the foul. Who knows, it could be better than 99.8% correct.

    Platini is mad at the “clowns” who convicted him. He says he (and the bladderbird) did nothing wrong. What he meant is that he did nothing unusual compared to past behavior of FIFA, UEFA, ….

    And so he should not have to suffer the way he has been.

    Vardy doesn’t like VAR. With good reason, the way he got so many penalties in the past, is by cheating. VAR should reduce how much he gets.

    The manager of England doesn’t get VAR either. He says the only time VAR should be used, is when the foul is so obvious that there is no need to have it reviewed by an off-field official who has access to video replays.

    What is the logic in that statement?

    The Kings new clothes.

  • tearyeyed

    It’s all becoming a site for noisy neighbour tantrums. Tony has caught it now and is not sure whether to do articles on either West Ham, Tottenham or of course City in order to promote the idea he is writing for and about Arsenal. Funny that. Expect a lot more articles about Liverpool next season. Surely there is some dirt on Burnley?

  • Andy Mack

    tearyeyed, so how would you compare ticket prices without mentioning other clubs?
    Please (pretty please!) could you tell us as it’d be really interesting.

  • Chris

    tearyeyed,

    I don’t get it. Everywhere there is comparisons. Arsenal are the worst this or that. AW is the worst, oldest, least savvy manager, etc etc
    Most of that crap relies on zilch evidence as Tony has repeatedly pointed out.

    So should he answer ? Trump style. fake news and insults ? UKIP style. get rid of all these foreigners and just work with englismen ?

    As for ticket prices…as Andy Mack rightly pointed out, : Arsenal are the most expensive place on earth to watch football is a comparison – and there is almost never a comparison supplied.

    So Tony rights the record.

    What did you expect ?

  • Mike T

    Tony

    For me It’s debatable if having to buy tickets as they do at Man U or having them included which is the case at Arsenal is a lot different.

    It’s seems a strange season in terms of season ticket costing for Arsenal supporters the EL and early exit from the FA cup has confused matters indeed it seems that Arsenal will have to reach the semi finals of the EL to have played in 7 additional qualifying home games this season.
    If you do indeed play in 7 EL games the cheapest tickets sold by Arsenal for those games will have been 3 x £15.50 , 2x £18.50 and 2x £22 so in total £127.50 Take that sum away from the £891 cheapest season ticket cost and you arrive at the cost of 19 league games this season being £763.50 or £40.18 per game

    My season ticket in the West Stand Lower at Chelsea is £900 that includes only the PL games so that’s £47 per game. The £750 tickets are in both the Shed & Matthew Harding Lower the East Stand Lower ( which is the family area ) has adult season tickets at £ 595 or £31.30 a game.

  • Gord

    More miscellaneous news.

    Threaten a referee with a gun, on the field, nets you a 3 year ban. That was from the recent Greek incident in the news.

    Thirty years I could see. Three is too short.

  • Nitram

    Andy and Chris

    —–From today:

    tearyeyed

    29/03/2018 at 7:26 pm

    “It’s all becoming a site for noisy neighbour tantrums.”

    —-Then we have from the ‘Arsenals next manager….’ article:

    tearyeyed

    26/03/2018 at 2:17 pm

    “With Arsenal now a top six club the manager situation is facing a crisis. A very energetic, no nonsense coach is required who can instil some much needed passion into every performance. Probably someone like the Spud man………”

    So it seems mentioning the ‘noisy neighbours’ or ‘the Spud man’ for comparisons, is ok when it suits.

  • Nitram

    “A very energetic, no nonsense coach is required who can instil some much needed passion into every performance.”

    Well, not quite EVERY performance is it? :

    19th March 2016 The Guardian

    90+2 mins: Spurs are still doing some gentle prodding on the right, with time running out. “Or Spurs could, you know, try to compete next time,” writes Alex Whitney, in response to Mats Anderson. “This was pathetic. Perhaps the first XI players that were on the pitch took a pre-match cue from the manager and had little desire from the get-go.”

    Lets just repeat that: “took a cue from the manager and had little desire from the get-go”

    19th November 2017 The guardian

    “Arsenal defeat highlights Tottenham frailties against Premier League’s big six.

    Until Mauricio Pochettino’s side learn how to win away against their biggest rivals they will struggle to turn their undoubted potential into trophies”

    26th November 2017

    “Mauricio Pochettino accused his Tottenham Hotspur players of lacking fight after their fading title hopes all but disappeared with a chastening 2-1 defeat at Leicester City.”

    8th March 2018

    “Keane singled out Trippier for ball-watching as Dybala scored Juventus’ winning goal. ‘Trippier is looking at the ball, stay with your runner and take him out of the game,’ he said.”

    —-I’ll say this up front. I am not having a go at Spurs. It is obvious Spurs are a very decent side and are currently playing better than Arsenal most of the time, but not all of the time.

    My point is about:

    how some people put Spurs and there manager on some kind of pedestal, as if he, or they, never have a bad day at the office. Never put in a shocker. Never look like they don’t care. When clearly they do have those days, as does everyone.

    how some people infer that every time we have a bad game that that is typical Arsenal, when history shows that that is clearly not the case.

    Because if those 2 assertions where in any way true, surely neither of the following statements could be made:

    27th May 2017 The Daily Mail:

    “Yet here he (Wenger) is, with his third FA Cup in four years, surpassing Aston Villa’s George Ramsey, who won his first in 1887, as the most-successful manager of all time in this competition. And with 13 victories in the competition, he has guided his team to being the greatest club of all time in the FA Cup. If this is failure, it’s a specialism many would love to have.”

    That was said just last May.

    15 Feb 2018 … Roy Keane has branded Liverpool and Tottenham’s lack of trophies in the past
    decade as “embarrassing”.

    That was said just this February.

    But surely that’s the wrong way round?

    I mean what with the ‘Spud Mans’ energetic, no nonsense, passionate approach, compared to (blimey here we go again with those pesky comparisons) Arsenals ‘management situation facing a crisis’ ?

    No, not everything in the Arsenal Garden is rosy at the moment. I would certainly like to see us challenging for the title, or at least the top 4, but we are having a poor season.

    But that’s it. We are having a poor season. It’s not a crisis. It’s not the end of the World. It’s just a poor season FFS.

    But it’s no poorer than Spurs or Liverpool’s have been for the last 10 years.

    But I know I may as well be talking at the moon because despite 3 FA Cups in the last 4 years, including 1 just last May, some people still insists we haven’t won anything, when in actual fact that honour lies fairly and squarely in Spurs lap.

  • PTO

    I surrendered my family enclosure ticket a few years ago, but thought at the time that £499 per season was a bit stiff, but we had a huge wage bill & new stadium to pay for, so continued to renew until I moved too far away to make it a viable match day trip.
    I see from the dot com that I could now (as an oldie) watch cat. A matches at £27.50 per game, which is great value. Junior Gunners can pay £24.00 per match.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Some of these experts twist and turn and bend over as and when the plot ( or the tv paymasters) demand it !

    Why just yesterday the England women’s manager was telling ‘ Matty ‘ Holland on a program why Champions League qualification was more important that some trophies !

    Why I never ! And all this time we were being told that a top 4 finish is not reward in itself . Or has the script changed , now that Arsenal are possibly out of contention ?

    I’ll be suitable impressed when they are able to contort themselves enough to kiss their own arses!

  • MickHazel

    These past few days I have been filled with disgust listening to those purveyers of truth and enlightenment journalists and pundits condemning the dreadful Aussie cricketers for their lack of honesty and moral values. Pot, kettle, black comes to mind. Quite nauseating really

  • Nitram

    MickHazel

    Was thinking the exact same thing. Hypocrites the lot of them.

    Talking of ‘Cheating’.

    Did you see Ashley Young feign injury then roll back on the pitch against Italy ?

    More tellingly did you hear Glen Hoddle praising him for doing so ?

    He called it clever actually.

    I was thinking ‘I don’t know about clever, surely he should be booked for that?’

    To my surprise seconds later the ref went over and booked him. Not a word from Hoddle.

    2 things:

    Could you imagine him getting booked for that in a United shirt?

    It seems to some, being a cheat is perfectly acceptable, even admirable, when it suits.

    I’m not saying what Young did was a heinous crime, more it’s the hypocrisy of these people that gets me.

    As you say Mick, nauseating.

  • realist

    Thanks Mike, you do this site a great deal of service with your well informed, unbiased contributions. What you just did is exactly what someone advised Tony to do in a previous article when he went on the usual rant that arsenal’s prices weren’t the most expensive, ie compare like for like, take away the actual cost of the extra matches on the arsenal ticket, then compare. 19 vs 19. Tony didn’t reply and I began to suspect the maths didn’t favor his argument. I personally don’t mind if the figures turn out either way, but its great to at least explore the truth

  • Mike T, there are a couple of points on that. The first is that if Arsenal don’t get seven Cup games in Europe and/or FA Cup then season ticket holders are given a refund, either against their season ticket for next season, or as a repayment if not continuing with the season.

    But in terms of the pricing, as always in the maths there are several ways of working it out, I don’t deny that, but I do tend to use Occam’s Razor when possible, as it seems to make the maths more understandable in the long run – look for the simplest analysis.

    By taking the cost of the season ticket and dividing by the number of games one can use it for you get an average price per game, which can be compared with the average price per game of other clubs.

    For me the problem with using other methods is that I am not sure the maths is more valid, and it would take a devil of a long time to do it that way for each club.

  • Realist, to repeat what I have said before, running this site in terms of getting the articles posted and controlling the comments is more than a full time job – and I already have a full time job. But I did get there in the end, as I certainly try to do. But really, if you dislike this site, or indeed my writing, as much as you seem to, why do you spend so much of your time following what goes on here?

  • Nitram

    realist

    “Tony didn’t reply and I began to suspect the maths didn’t favor his argument”

    As you have failed to reply to Tony.

    To ask again, exactly why do you spend so much time on a blog you clearly do not like or agree with ?

  • Onyi Onyekwere

    Lovely article Tony, at least it forms the basis for an answer to the incessant screams of ‘Arsenal have the most expensive tickets in the world’ I get from people. Unfortunately, there are those who would rant about how the comparisons and offerings should be “like for like”. Seems pretty straight forward to me, take the cost of 3 home European games, toss in maybe 2 FA Cup games and work out the cost. Add that to the offering from some other clubs and compare to Arsenal. Thing is, you would still have people bitch about why Arsenal toss in the extra 7 games.

    And try as you can to remind people about the purpose and focus of this site, they still expect you to tow the supposed line of Arsenal or Wenger bashing. Supporting the club and manager doesn’t mean blindly, but objectively; and that is with fact or evidence based statements and assertions, not generalizations or hearsay.

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