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AST Statement on Arsenal's Ticket Price Rise Announcement

Posted Friday 20th December 2013

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust is very disappointed with the recent announcement that Arsenal ticket prices are to rise by 3 per cent next season. This comes at a time when there is general recognition within the game that ever-greater numbers of fans are being priced out, and supporters of rival clubs are coming together to protest against exorbitant ticket prices. The situation is made worse because in real terms the wages of many fans have fallen for several years. Football clubs rely on loyalty to retain fans, but all loyalty ultimately has a maximum price.

Arsenal supporters already have to pay some of the highest prices in world football. With recent initiatives such as concessions for away supporters and the reduced price 'Young Guns' enclosure for fans aged 12-16 we had hoped that the tide was turning. It is immensely disappointing that this above-inflation increase comes at a time when Arsenal's revenues are set to rise dramatically anyway. The club will shortly announce a new and improved kit manufacturing deal, which we estimate will bring in an additional £20m a year, and this will be coupled with an even more substantial rise in TV money as the Premier League clubs share an additional £670m per season from 2014. Champions League participants will also benefit from an improved TV contract, giving qualifying clubs revenues up to 50 per cent higher than currently.

Against all this we must question the logic of increasing the burden on ordinary supporters in order to raise another £2.8m a year, a sum that will shortly be less than one per cent of Arsenal's turnover. Fans will rightly question whether any further money raised will even be spent, given that the club has accumulated and sat on cash reserves of tens of millions of pounds for several years, additional to the money that is required for provision against debts. Is the record signing of Mesut Ozil the start of a new policy that will reduce cash reserves, or a one-off event?

Ultimately football clubs exist for the benefit of fans, without which, as Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis has noted, they would be nothing. A ticket price rise at the current time is of very limited use to the club, but is certainly not for the benefit of match-going supporters.