Arsenal not to blame for high ticket prices
Published: 27.01.13 / Written by: Hakon Hoyland
Arsenal have come in for a lot of criticism for the prices they charged Manchester City fans wanting to watch last weekendís game at the Emirates Stadium.
The criticism in some respect is fair, as the prices were extortionate. On the other hand, is it really Arsenalís fault?
No, it is not. Arsenal do not put prices up for no reason. They arenít even a team out to make huge profits every year. They are out to break even and to pump as much money into their football operations as is possible. So Arsenalís high ticket prices are to ensure they can be as competitive on the field as possible. Wages are the biggest expense in the game. They necessitate the high ticket prices sides like Arsenal charge in order to ensure that they have the money to bring in the best players.
So City may look a little closer to home when focusing their ire. The club may have lower ticket prices than Arsenal but it is quite easy to do that when you have a billionaire funding your every move and signing. Unlike City and Chelsea, Arsenal arenít backed by unlimited wealth intent on spending as much as possible with no regard for breaking even financially. And unlike Manchester United, Arsenal do not have the revenue base to compete at the same level in terms of salaries. So ticket prices have to rise to pay for the wages and signings Arsenal want to make.
Therefore, these high prices are a result of the inflated market that is Premier League football. That market has been inflated by, yes of course, Manchester City and Chelsea primarily. How can you compete with their spending?
This is the root of the problem. To do away with these over the top ticket prices, we need to end the financial insanity which rules the Premier League. The less inflation there is, the lower or more restricted wages and player transfer fees are, then the lower ticket prices will be. Manchester City really need to look at themselves over this issue. There is an element of wanting to have your cake and eat it too. Not content with coming in with unlimited oil wealth looking to blow everyone out of the water financially, City fans are now demanding that those who have been disadvantaged in the battle at the top of the league by their over the top spending lower their ticket prices. It smacks of hypocrisy, is sadly ironic, and missing the point entirely.
The knock on effect goes down the leagues too. The riches on offer in the Premier League encourage teams below in other leagues to increase ticket prices to boost their revenues and chances of promotion. That risks their financial health and that of their supporters. The Premier League should give more of its money to the lower leagues.
So when the Premier League next come to discuss the issue of ticket prices, letís hope they pay some attention to this. Behind the scenes, Arsenal and others may justifiably point the finger across the table at City and tell them some home truths. They are the ones primarily responsible for the huge ticket prices that are inflicted on fans across the country.