In news that may not affect anybody reading this in any great way, since most of us are not in London, Arsenal have announced that they're raising ticket prices next year by 3%, in line with inflation.
I promise this won't be a populist rant about how the game was better when it was cheaper to watch, and how the atmosphere was better when "average people" could afford to go to games. But I did want to point out that the new Premier League TV deal went in to effect this season, and every Premier League team got a bigger, fatter wad of notes in their preseason envelopes this August than they did last season.
I also wanted to point out that Arsenal have just signed a ton of new sponsorship deals, for everything from a new kit maker to an Indonesian telephone service provider, which are of course new revenue streams for the club (and they're constantly looking for and acquiring new partners, as well). I also get that players cost money; Özil wasn't cheap, and in order to sit at the Big Table, teams gotta spend Big Money.
But when Arsenal already have the highest average ticket prices in the game, I would suggest that the timing of this increase - despite it being the first increase since 2012 - is not going to sit well with a lot of people.
I'm not naive; I understand fully that sports is a business, and that sports teams view fans at games as basically cash machines from which they can withdraw at will. I go to sporting events. I know how the game is played, and I allow teams to suck out money from my wallet as well. But that doesn't stop the PR wannabe in me from saying "hey Arsenal, maybe hold the line another year or so, given how much money you're bringing in right now".
Arsenal seem fairly dependent on match day revenue, which I guess makes a certain amount of sense, given the size of their venue and the financial demographics of their fanbase; I would have thought that a new glut of commercial deals would ease that dependency a bit, but apparently it hasn't eased it enough to stop the club raising ticket prices.
NOTE: I would be really interested to hear from any of our awesome London-based readers on this issue, since as I mentioned most of us will never be impacted by this since most of us will pay whatever to go to a game as it's a rare treat as part of a trip to England, and not an every week ritual. Does this decision mean you'll go to fewer games? Do you care?