While I rail away like a left-wing lunatic on this blog from time to time, in the end, I’m really a pro-free enterprise capitalist. That’s in part why I disagree with David Conn for instance over his assertion today in a Twitter argument with the admittedly annoying Sporting Intelligence:
@sportingintel Taylor Report 1990 didn’t say clubs should charge what they can. Recognised football is heritage, not market commodity.
— David Conn (@david_conn) January 9, 2013
And the world should come together as one and send all of its weapons on a rocket ship into the sun. In other words, whatever the Taylor Report said about the nature of football clearly is not going to compel Premier League owners to charge any less than the market will allow for ticket prices. It’s a nice ideal, but that’s all it is.
This debate by the way has sprung from the news that one third of Manchester City’s ticket allocation for the match at the Emirates have been sent back because the £62 was deemed too high:
The Premier League champions were given a 3,000 allocation but 912 were sent back and are being sold by Arsenal. The match at the Emirates, which kicks off at 4pm and is live on Sky Sports, is classed as Category A and therefore carries the highest ticket cost for Arsenal’s Premier League games.
The London club’s own supporters have become increasingly vocal about pricing – Arsenal’s tickets in an equivalent area on Sunday, plus the returned away tickets, will also cost £62.
This move highlights how there are two methods in dealing with exorbitant ticket prices. One involves missives sent to club directors, angry blog posts, letters to the editors, angry speeches at annual general meetings of the club shareholders, more missives sent to club directors, banners, armbands, reading David Conn op-eds, voting Labour instead of Tory, making convoluted arguments about how football is like a public museum or library, and then finally, reluctantly, renew season ticket prices, which have almost certainly increased from last season.
The other involves not buying expensive tickets.
Money talks, bullshit walks. The miracle of capitalist exchange is that demand directly affects prices. Price directly affects demand, and vice versa. If the supply of a product outweighs the demand, i.e. if a football club does not sell out its season tickets year-in, year-out, the price for that product will drop. This rarely happens in football unfortunately because the successful clubs are so popular and ground capacities generally limited to the tens of thousands that when one person refuses to pay, there will be another with the economic means who will.
This is where good old fashioned activist solidarity might have an effect. Witness the power of the boycott, a method as yet unused by many club fans who prefer to make a convoluted argument about the difference between supporting their club and protesting its greedy owners. Fans need to remember: they ARE the club. Their money they pay in tickets and merchandise goes in part to pay for players, facilities, stadia. Despite the high-profile examples of overseas investors underwriting massive losses for short-term gain, most clubs rely on turnover to sustain club finances.
So City fans may be onto something. I wouldn’t suggest that Arsenal fans refuse to renew their ticket prices, but I would urge the Arsenal Supporters Trust to organize a fan boycott, and figure out a means to shame fans that choose to replace them. This won’t be easy, and it may not even be successful, but if they’re serious about reducing ticket prices this is the only way to do it.
Manchester City show interest in Cavani.
City fans say Arsenal match tickets too expensive, return over 900.
Benitez says change is necessary at Chelsea.
Wisdom commits future to Liverpool.
Pro Patria to play next game behind closed doors.
Pirlo says he’d welcome Lampard in Italy.
Survey suggests Mourinho gives Madrid a bad image.
IFFHS names Mourinho as best club coach.
Dortmund’s Subotic out for six weeks due to injury.
Sahin likely to head back to Dortmund.
Bit and Bobs
41 South Korean players receive lifetime bans by FIFA for match-fixing.
Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.