I don't know if you've heard, but Arsenal are in the FA Cup semifinals.
In continuation of a Cup semi tradition, the game is at Villa Park Because the FA have a stupidly expensive stadium to pay off, the game is at 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium. Because there are many interested parties that want to get tickets to this and the other semifinal, the FA has started their ticket allocation process, in order to give clubs as much lead time as they can so that in turn, clubs can get their processes in place to distribute tickets.
Ticket allocation stories always run the risk of being very OLD MAN YELLING AT CLOUD in tone, particularly when written by an American who has neither the means nor the time to get to Wembley for the semifinal (or the final if it comes to that). That said, though, there was a piece in the Evening Standard today in which the Arsenal Supporters' Trust has expressed concern that the number of tickets allocated to Arsenal - 32,000, and possibly more pending opponent and pending opponent ticket sales - is too low.
The worry is that Arsenal have about 47,000 season ticket holders, and of course all of them (and more) would like to go to Wembley, as it's a really fun day out and it's a semifinal and all. Supply and demand being a thing, it is never possible to accommodate everyone; here's how the ticket allocations are tentatively set to break out.
- 17,000 seats for Club Wembley seat members (non-negotiable)
- 23,000 seats for the "football family" (code for the other 91 clubs, sponsors, etc, also non-negotiable)
- 60,000 seats combined for the two participating teams
Easy! Split down the middle, that's 30K each, right? Well, sure, more or less. This is where the math comes in. Last year, for instance, the semifinal with Wigan saw Wigan's initial allocation reduced, by mutual consent, to 22,807 tickets, while Arsenal's was increased to 42,882, based on the number of tickets that Wigan were able to sell.
So while that 32K number is unlikely to increase to the 42K that attended last year, it's still likely to go up a bit. And it's bound to be more than are available for the final, which last year saw both Arsenal and Hull given 25,000 tickets each. It's not going to be enough to satisfy Arsenal demand, but again, that's not what the FA are concerned with - they are concerned that everyone in football that wants a ticket has a chance to get one.
One cool thing, though, is that if the Arsenal ticket allocation process works this year as it did last, traveling fans get first priority for tickets. If you're a Red member, though, you're out of luck.
As an American, this whole process doesn't really bother me, but are you a London- or England-based Arsenal fan, and if so, does this affect you? Does it bother you?