Everton should make a stand on ticket prices

Significant attention has been paid to inflated ticket prices over the last week, especially at Anfield, where the fat cat bosses have chosen to increase the price of the most expensive tickets to £77 per match!!! That news broke in the same week Premier League chairman decided not to adopt a ‘fair’ price for away fans of £30 per match. Media reports claim Everton were a sole voice arguing for the match going fan, something for which we should certainly applaud our much derided board. All of this in the context of a record breaking TV deal for Premier League clubs, with each team in England’s topflight set to rake in at least £100m per year for the next three seasons.

Goodison Park Box Office

Surely now is the time for Premier League clubs to repay the supporters who travel up and down the country to support their team, yet according to Arsene Wenger that is unlikely to be the case. In his pre-match press conference for last weekend’s fixtures he explained that the extra money will not result in cheaper ticket prices, but instead we will see inflated transfer fees, astronomical wages and increased agent fees.

“What will happen is the prices of the players will go up and you will need this supplement of money coming in to buy new players,” he said.

“I believe the pressure on spending the money will become bigger and you cannot necessarily distribute the money to other people.” Arsene Wenger talking to the BBC

For a club like Everton, without a rich benefactor, every penny matters, but so does a full football ground, with a buoyant atmosphere vitally important in helping the team overcome the financial disparity on the pitch. Goodison, because of the restricted views and poor sight lines, will always be a difficult ground to sell out and this is recognised by the board who regularly sound out supporters on innovative pricing strategies. The TV money is now so large, that the income from matchday ticket sales has become relatively small and this does present opportunities, despite what Arsene Wenger has said, to repay fans loyalty.

It looks like Everton are going to be one of a number of clubs who strike reciprocal agreements with their Premier League rivals to charge £30 for away fans. This would be fantastic for our loyal away following, with at least half of other top flight teams willing to discuss such a deal. But what about our season ticket holders, or those who attend game by game as and when finances allow?

The Daily Telegraph ran an interesting article on Monday,  highlighting which club in the Premier League has the most expensive matchday tickets. You will not be surprised to see Arsenal coming in top of that list, worryingly even with Liverpool’s price hike, they would only come in fifth place, behind Spurs at £81, Chelsea at £87, West Ham at £95 and Arsenal at £97. Everton were placed in 12th position on that list, with £49 tickets available for class A fixtures. £49 per ticket is still an eye watering amount, so you have to feel for our neighbours if they are forced to pay a further £28 on top.

In fairness to Everton they have got pricing strategies ok in recent years. The child prices are excellent value and very competitive and are crucial in ensuring a supply line of future Evertonians. But there is more to be done. Adult ticket prices are still high and supporters who are not fortunate to earn a good salary are slowly being priced out of the game. Season ticket holders should certainly pay less as a reward for their commitment and this season Everton claim that the average price per game for a season ticket holder is a fraction under £24, with junior fans paying less than £7.50 per match. That represents excellent value but wouldn’t it be fantastic if the Blues set an example and slashed prices in some areas of the ground to between £25 and £30. (cheapest tickets currently £35) The difference in income to the club would be minimal and the club would win a ground swell of good will from its supporters.

It is easy to throw figures around without backing it up, so we have done a little bit of homework to show how little impact the changes would have on Everton’s finances.

Current matchday ticket income (approximate figures only)

  • Everton currently have 27,000 season ticket holders (4,000 of which are juniors).
  • 23,000 season tickets at an average price of £23.86 per match = £548,780 per match.
  • 4,000 junior season tickets at an average price of £7.47 per match = £29,880 per match.
  • 11,433 average number of match day tickets sold per match sold at an average price of £41 = £468,753 per match.
  • Total income from ticket sales per match = £1,047,413

Our Proposal

  • 23,000 season tickets at an average price of £22.00 per match = £506,000 per match.
  • 4,000 junior season tickets at an average price of £7.47 per match = £29,880 per match.
  • 12,500 match day tickets sold per match sold at an average price of £30.00 = £375,000 per match.
  • Total income from ticket sales per match = £910,880…a drop in revenue of approximately £136,533 per match or £2.6m per season.

Granted, a lot of money, but not in comparison to the huge increase in TV income which will be close to £20m per season.

One thought on “Everton should make a stand on ticket prices

  1. Always tricky this topic. I’d come at a higher, blunter number, by saying 35k home supporter attendees per home match, 19 PL games, slash £5 off per ticket (actually not really a ‘slash’, but a significant gesture), and you get a reduction in income of £3.3m. But given that we often sell out close to the 35k home fans anyway, we would in effect be auto-rewarding, or just giving away £3m+ as a gesture to fans. I know we’ll get all that and more back from the TV money, but that £3m could have been used to tie down 6 players on improved contracts by £10k per week. I can’t see the value we’d get from ‘rewarding’ supporters in that way, in terms of increased commercial revenue elsewhere (e.g. shirt sales) simply because we’ve made our supporters happy. It therefore becomes more of a moral argument than a commercial one, and that’s where you’d find most fans split on the idea. One thing I would do, to avoid the scenes we had in the Upper Bullens on Wednesday when Newcastle, of all teams, got nowhere near selling their allocation, I’d ring round local schools and colleges on the day to say “turn up and pay £5 on the gate” if you can get there in time, so we fill the ground with more Blues, and we’re offering tickets at prices some people can afford that wouldn’t always get to a game.
    Personally, I’d frieze ticket prices next year, or reduce by a token £1 to make the point; agree with the Away fan initiative though

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