According to Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index 13% of season ticket holders in football league and Premier League clubs won’t renew for next season.
They also claim that in the EPL 31% of regular match-goers who do not have season will reduce the number of games they attend. The Index also shows the average cost of going to a match has risen by 18% in the past year.
At Manchester United, where the prices have risen by £1 per match price across the board, 28% of season ticket holders claim they will not renew. 49% of those who regularly buy tickets will cut back.
Around 22% of Arsenal season ticket holders say they will not renew next season, according to Virgin. Problem is, they said this last season. And in fact a lot of anti-Arsenal Arsenal blogs said the same. Some said 50%. One bunch said 75%.
One of the stories doing the rounds is that to watch a match at Arsenal is the most expensive sporting fixture in the world. I saw this comment come through from several people in different contexts, both here and elsewhere, and asked them to prove it. No one did.
The source seemed to be a story in one of the national papers in England, which quoted a price for a top price ticket at an A grade match when you bought under certain conditions. But it was just about impossible to meet with those conditions, and even if one did manage to find a ticket in that way, the price would still be less than many other clubs. To give a simple example QPR v Arsenal next season will cost more than Arsenal v QPR.
Virgin Money’s own Football Fans’ Inflation Index suggests that the average match day cost has gone up 18% since last year, but when you look at the detail that includes travel, food and a load of other other stufff which combined cost far more than the cost of the match ticket. I certainly will find this because travelling from the Midlands to Arsenal for home games the price has shot up. Not because of the season ticket price but because of the petrol price and trains. Nothing to do with football at all.
Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation commented: “Football fans face the same economic difficulties, including redundancies, short-time working, soaring petrol costs and wages not keeping up with inflation, as everyone else. In this situation it would not be surprising if many of them are forced to cut back on watching the game they love.
“The tragic paradox is that the football industry still has huge sums of money coming into it at the top of the game, mostly through media rights. But too much of it stays at the top and too much of it is used on ridiculously high player wages, rather than on helping its loyal customers through these difficult times.”
Well, up to a point. I don’t like the high salaries paid to bankers either, but I still use banks. I don’t like the fact that a man I consider an utter prat is drawing a salary as Chancellor of the Exchequer but that is how it goes. I don’t like the fact that the price of entry to the club that I visit a couple of nights a week has just gone up by 13%. Or that my rail fare to London is up by 20%, or my road costs by 35%.
But in all cases I have a choice. I can use the services or not. That’s capitalism.
|LEAGUE||% OF SEASON TICKET HOLDERS CANCELLING||% OF REGULAR TICKET BUYERS CUTTING BACK ON GAMES|
At the launch of the Virgin index in 2006, the match day basket of goods for a match £77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at £101.04 – a rise of £23.09. At the start of the index the choice level for anyone going to watch a match or not was 100%. It remains 100%. In my county of Northants there is one league team, and three conference teams. I can walk in to watch any of them when I want. I choose Arsenal.
Of course matters could change. All you need is a salary cap.
Don’t blame Arsenal, blame the EPL. And the bankers. And the Chancellor.
Please note this article is about the financing of football. Comments on other subjects will be deleted. Rather obvious point, I know, but despite the fact that we have been publicising this for ages there’s still a bunch of very strange people out there who think that talking about something different is rather amusing. Odd really.
Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
- Last season the table after 3 games was headline news. But probably not this season
- 117 players tipped as coming to Arsenal before the window closes
- Why Arsenal recruited a new defence first, then a new attack
- After two games we can start to make one or two judgements
- Winning the opening two league games is not that common for Arsenal