As we all know, tickets to top level sporting events are expensive. In every sport, in every country, if you want to see the best, you have to pay the most. There are, of course, many reasons for that - scarcity, exclusivity, the cost of elite players, the expense of running a team, etc. And there’s generally not a lot of resistance to those ticket prices - consumers are numb to them, mostly, and the fact that top level sports teams still sell out stadia all over the world tells us that the ceiling for acceptably pricing a sporting event has not yet been reached.
The issue of expensive tickets is compounded in the world’s biggest cities. Those cities are expensive by their nature, and when you combine the expensiveness of a megacity with the expensiveness of modern sport, you get Arsenal, who at Emirates Stadium sport the highest ticket prices in the Premier League.
While this doesn’t fall under the category of “charity” or even “generosity”, Arsenal, to their credit, have taken steps to try to at least slow the rampant runaway growth in ticket prices. They sell 25,000 Carabao Cup tickets at £10, to encourage people who normally can’t afford Emirates prices to come to games; they cap away tickets at £26, and this coming season, for the fourth year in a row, they will not be raising ticket prices for matches next season.
It would be very easy for the club to just automatically raise ticket prices every year - that, after all, tends to be the rule and not the exception for sports tickets. Given everything that’s going on with Arsenal in the last couple seasons, though, that would be a fairly unfortunate choice, and Arsenal should be commended for, if nothing else, the political sensitivity to hold the line on ticket prices while things at the club are still in so much flux.
Match day revenue is important, for sure, but keeping ticket prices the same for a fourth season in a row at least shows that Arsenal have some regard for the expense of a game day at the Emirates, and while this doesn’t necessarily buy them long term goodwill, it’s at least a nice gesture towards realism, and should be appreciated by season ticket holders and those fans lucky enough to be able to buy tickets regularly.