The magic number?
Based on the fans reaction to Arsenal’s ticket price announcement for next season, it seems as though whilst 3 may be the magic number, 3% certainly is not.
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So, The Arsenal have announced that ticket prices will increase by 3% from next season.
I have the honour of frequenting the North Bank every time The Red Army take to the hallowed turf and currently, I pay £985 per season for this privilege.
A few years ago, I did not realise just how much of a privilege it is to be able to watch my team, but with the modern age and social media, interacting with fans across the globe makes you realise just how lucky us Gooners that can make it to N5 every fortnight are.
2004/05 – Ticket prices frozen
2005/06 – Ticket prices frozen
2006/07 – Ticket prices frozen
2007/08 – Ticket prices frozen
2008/09 – Ticket price increase of 4.5%
2009/10 – Ticket prices frozen
2010/11 – Ticket prices frozen
2011/12 – Ticket price increase of 6.5%
2012/13 – Ticket prices frozen
2013/14 – Ticket prices frozen
2014/15 – Ticket price increase of 3.0%
What the above means, is that for a £30 ticket in 2004, that same ticket will cost you £34.39.
So by this time next year, it would have been a £4.39 increase over the course of 10 years.
Let’s apply the average rate of inflation in the UK over the same period to the same base figure of £30 and track what the price increase would be:
August 2004 – £30 (Base figure)
August 2005 - 3.2% £30.96
August 2006 – 2.8% £31.82
August 2007 – 4.1% £33.13
August 2008 – 4.8% £34.72
August 2009 – (1.3)% £34.28
August 2010 – 4.7% £35.89
August 2011 – 5.2% £37.75
August 2012 – 2.9% £38.85
August 2013 – 3.3% £40.13
August 2014 – 2.3% (Forecast) £41.05
2014 Forecast Inflation
Even a footballer can see, that the ticket increases that Arsenal have applied in the last decade, fall significantly lower than UK average inflation rates.
If Arsenal applied UK average inflation rates to ticket prices, we would be paying £41.05 for the equivalent £30 ticket that was available in the 2004/05 season.
Now is the right time to mention that I have no agenda in this analysis. I have no bias which I am trying to justify & I have in fact been extremely critical of financial decisions that have been taken by the club and the performance of our much maligned CEO, Ivan Gazidis.
In the above analysis, I have not yet mentioned that in 2011, the government increased the rate of VAT from 17.5% to 20%, which Arsenal applied to ticket prices, contributing to the 6.5% increase in the 2011/12 season.
So in reality, in the last 10 years, Arsenal FC have optionally increased ticket prices by £3.59, or 12%, compared to the UK inflation which equates to 36.8%.
The beauty of numbers, is that it is a science, it removes subjectivity, bias and opinion.
That’s enough of the numbers. What is important is value for money for the fans.
If I was asked to stump up a 50% increase for my season ticket with the promise that all the additional revenue would go straight to the transfer kitty, I would gladly pay it.
However, in recent years, us fans have not been getting value for money.
For those of you that saw my first interview on Arsenal Fan TV, you will be familiar with the phrase:
“You get what you pay for, unless you’re an Arsenal fan”.
I am delighted to say, this season, that has changed.
If Arsenal continue to spend the money that 60,000 fans and I inject into the club every home game, on world class players such as Mesut Özil, then I will accept proportionate price increases.
This season, is the only season in recent memory that I believe Arsenal FC are fully justified in raising ticket prices.
With the club adding world class talent and sitting top of the Premier League, the fans are getting value for money.
One last thought.
If Arsenal sell 60,000 tickets for each home game for 25 home games in a season, at an average ticket price of £45, they will generate £67.5m.
With a 3.0% increase, that will rise to approximately £69.5m. My main concern is not that they will earn an extra £2m, it is where will that additional £2m go?
Given the recent price hikes in the gas & electricity sector, with British Gas recently announcing a rise in energy prices of 9.2%, Arsenal FC are not exempt from the challenges that each individual citizen of the United Kingdom will face, and will undoubtedly see a huge increase in the energy expenditure of powering a 60,000 capacity stadium.
We are all aware of the fact that Arsenal will benefit from a a very lucrative TV deal, on top of new lucrative shirt sponsorship with (expected to be Puma) from next season (http://thegoonerramble.com/?p=245), however, as fans, we must be aware of the increasing financial challenges the club are faced with, especially considering the hyper inflation that exists with the crazy world of football.
If we expect Arsenal to compete with mega rich clubs such as, ManCity, Chelsea, PSG, Monaco etc, then unfortunately, we have to accept that from time to time, we will have to support this ambition with our own hard earned money.
Supporters groups are consistently and predictably critical of any ticket price increases, however, once the wider picture and financial history is studied, perhaps a more considered response may be offered.
This is my personal opinion. I welcome any comments and feedback and am happy to discuss any of my opinions and conclusions.
You can interact with me on Twitter: @ArsenalMoh8