Ah, sporting event tickets. Doesn't matter what sport or what nation, there's always contention over their cost - they cost too much, the cost rises too much from season to season, etc. Last winter, Arsenal announced that tickets for the 2014-15 season would go up 3% "across the board", making an already expensive ticket even more dear for most people.
Today, the club released specifics as to what those tickets will actually cost. As usual, they've classified the fixtures into three categories, depending on desirability of opponent; Category A fixtures include the Manchesters, PBFC, and Chelsea (and probably Liverpool), Category B is the mid-tier clubs (Hull City has been announced as Category B), and Category C is the lower rung of the Premiership. Interestingly, those categories are fluid - only the first four games (Palace, MCFC, PBFC, Hull) have been categorized at this point. Presumably, as the season goes on, clubs get slotted based on where they are in the table.
Category A games, of course, are what will garner the headlines, and with good reason - the cheapest Cat A non-member ticket is £65.50 ($112.30 US, as of this writing, but you can save a whopping £2.50 as a member and pay £64), while the most expensive Cat A ticket will cost you £129.50 ($221 US) as a non-member. As you go down the categories, prices of course lessen - Category B games range from £37.50 to £75, and C games from £27 to £52.50 (All prices for single tickets, not including family enclosure).
Category B games are the only ones where the club has shown its math - last year, those tickets were £35.50 on the low end and £71.50 at the top end, so the price rise is anywhere from a pound to four pounds, depending on ticket.
One thing that the club does do to help fans that might not be able to afford those prices is to reduce the League Cup ticket price to £10 for adults and £5 for youth; it's not much, considering that those games are typically less desirable than a league match, but it is nice to see the club be a little sensitive to the cost of attending a match and the long term cost of that cost on a young fanbase that might never be able to afford to see a North London derby in person.
I write all this not to get all populist-ragey about the price of sports tickets; London's an expensive city to start with, tickets to elite teams and top games are always expensive, and their cost will always increase. If you know anything about sports, you know this - the team sees you as a cash machine, and they have a PIN that unlocks your wallet. That's OK, it's part of the deal we make when we become a fan, particularly a fan who goes to a lot of games.
Even the tiered pricing thing isn't rage-inducing to me - most sports have a version of it, and some baseball teams have gone to a fully dynamic pricing model, where every ticket has a base price but that price fluctuates freely based on demand above that price, up until the game starts.
At this point you're probably asking yourself "why do I care?" - the vast majority of active TSF commenters do not live in London, may never go to an Arsenal game, and if they do, it's as a once-in-a-lifetime special occasion, in which case cost is irrelevant. So most of us don't care about ticket prices, because the issue simply doesn't affect us. It's a point of interest, but nothing more than that.
But, we do have a fair amount of non-commenting readers from London and environs (don't worry, we're not the CIA, we don't know you specifically, just by IP and referral info), so I'd love to hear from those folks. Does the high cost of attending games at the Emirates affect your decision to go to games? Did this latest price rise price you out, or will you still go no matter what?
And for the rest of you that aren't regular Emirates attendees but may go see sports in your town, what's your limit? Do you have a price line for going to a sporting event over which you will not/cannot cross? Is going to a live sporting event even worth it to you, given the preponderance of HDTV's and multiple camera angles available at home?