Arsenal FC have announced a price freeze on the tickets for the 2015/16 season, giving fans a reprieve on the constant hikes the club have imposed on them.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “We have fantastic support with all our home games selling out week after week, year after year.
“The Arsenal board, as always, works to strike a balance between the expense of coming to games for our supporters and the club’s ever-increasing costs and expenditure as it develops on and off the pitch.”
Fans were especially frustrated by the 3% hike that was imposed on them last year, after already paying one of the highest prices Europe to watch a football game.
It was hoped that following the announcement of a richer tv deal as well as the mega bucks that Puma were paying them in sponsorship, there would be no more need to raise the ticket prices. As a result, when the announcement of the 3% hike last year was met with hostility and did not go down well with people who were already critical of Stan Kroenke’s time at the helm of the club.
In fact, Arsenal fans have had to pay a lot of money, a lot more than their fellow fans of other clubs, and it has been a real bone of contention between the club and the fans.
Ever since Arsenal have been on their near 10 year trophyless drought, it had become increasingly difficult to justify raising the price of season tickets to the fans. The only positive for the fans was to see some really beautiful football every time they went to the Emirates Stadium to watch their team play. For that, the board of directors have to thank the manager Arsene Wenger, who has been able to consistently churn out exciting and attractive teams that entertained the spectators and kept them from protesting too much.
But over the last few years, the ticket prices became a really divisive issue, with fans even forming a Black Scarf Movement, which led out a protest march against the hike of 6.5% of the ticket prices, especially at a time when the financial markets were down and austerity was being observed in the UK.
Arsenal have justified any price raises they have made by citing inflation and the rising costs in maintaining a world class stadium. Cynical fans would say that the club were just taking advantage of a loyal fan base that would always keep coming back, no matter what. There was also the additional revenue that they would get from executive boxes.
The latest decision to not raise the prices again would be very welcome for the fans, and with the acquisitions of high profile players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, it wouldn’t be long before everyone is on the same side again.