Well, that’s the theory. VAT comes down on Monday from 17.5% to 15% and there is, of course, VAT on ticket prices.
So will we see a decline in prices?
If Arsenal applied the discount then £50 tickets would be priced £48.94. Since they won’t do this then the club is in effect raising prices by 2.1%. The same is true of everyone else.
Arsenal could cut prices, because as noted before, Arsenal are in fact the only one of the upper crust clubs that doesn’t have money problems. The borrowing for the stadium is completely covered by the match day income and the marketing is getting better year on year, thus bringing in bigger and bigger returns.
CSKA meanwhile have an owner who is losing millions a day as his stocks sink lower and lower. Manchester B and Liverpool I both have strategies based on selling the club on because of ever rising interest in football, and neither have possible owners queuing up.
Which brings me onto one other matter. Manchester Bankrupts have relentlessly followed the approach of Real Mad in touring the world at every opportunity to enhance the image and brand. CSKA Fulham try much the same approach and are looking to develop their position in countries as diverse as Russia and the United States.
The idea is that the tour (somewhat to the detriment of the players’ build up to each season) will develop more fans, simply by the club being there.
As a strategy it is ok, but ultimately it is doomed, simply because if you don’t have a major megastar WHO IS LOVED, then ultimately the image fades. Whatever we may think of David Beckham, he was loved by billions and seen as the great icon. Whoever owned him, owned the rights. The same was true with Zinedine Zidane. The anti-French British press focus eternally on his final game but for the rest of the world, he is rightly remembered as the greatest of players, a player of majesty, the scorer of world cup final goals, a man of staggering brilliance. With him in the side, marketing took care of itself.
Now think of Manchester B. Who is the great god? Christiano Rolando? Wayne Rooney? Neither have the depth of image and sheer power of being that Zidane had, or the icon quality of Beckham.
Think of CSKA Fulham. John Terry? Ashley Cole? Nic Anelka? None seems remotely to fit the icon bill.
So what of Arsenal? The fact is that Arsenal is playing a different game. What it is doing is building a double reputation – the most gracious flowing football on the planet, combined with the most audacious use of young players. One after another they come, and just as soon as one child becomes a household name, another comes along behind him. Cesc is the youngest ever. No it is Jack. No, there’s this kid in the under 18s who is 12…
Those two facts of elegant football and young players are not just known in the UK. Mention Arsenal anywhere, and they know about these things. Yes, the icon of Henry has gone, and no other has emerged thus far. But that is not what is noticed.
The fact is that doing strange things with money in the style of CSKA, Manchester and Liverpool is not very appealing to a world-wide audience. People turn to the club that is working on completely new strategies.
What this means is that the marketing momentum year on year is with Arsenal. Year on year the marketing operation pulls in more and more.
We won’t see tickets at £1 cheaper in December, but we will see more and more money pouring into the club. And we know that the stewardship of the club is in good hands. No matter what the results are tomorrow, that is something to be proud of.
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Copyright (c) Tony Attwood 2008. For permission to reprint any of this in any format, please see the copyright notice.
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