Bayern Munich are off on their high horse again.
On a day where Arsenal’s ticket pricing has – again – come under huge scrutiny, a Bayern fan group has announced its intention to boycott the first five minutes of the game at the Emirates next week over the away ticket pricing.
Visiting German fans are angry at being charged £64 to enjoy this year’s premium tie, likely to be a veritable festival of football, and argue that Arsenal are exploiting them by charging these prices.
Whether or not £64 is a reasonable amount for an evening’s entertainment is a debate we often have, and one where few people agree.
However, on the charge of exploitation, Arsenal are simply not guilty.
The club’s ticket pricing is clear and published well in advance – this is a category A game (by dent of the opposition and competition) and consequently commands category A pricing. For away fans this may mean £64, but for home fans it comes in anywhere from £64 right up to £95.50. Bayern fans are simply being asked to pay the same going rate as their Arsenal counterparts.
Compare and contrast this with the situation at the Allianz. The cost of the cheapest Bayern Munich season ticket is oft shoved down our throats at £104, yet visiting Arsenal fans have been asked to pay €50 for this year’s away tie. So according to the Daily Cannon calculator, this game is apparently worth more than a third of a home fan’s season ticket.
Let that sink in. If Arsenal pursued that same policy, the Bayern fans would be paying more than £300 to attend on Tuesday night.
We’ve all heard the arguments about Arsenal’s ticket prices being too high a million times, but whether or not you agree with the pricing, at least it affects home and away fans equally. No Arsenal fan on a single matchday ticket will be enjoying the game for less than the Bayern attendees.
Of course, we have to ignore the fact that season ticket holders will technically be there for less if you split the cost of their annual pass by the 26 games it covers – my own season ticket works out at roughly £58 per game. This is because apparently it is unfashionable to mention that an Arsenal season ticket includes Champions League ties, as it ruins the impression that you are comparing like for like when the annual “cost of football” criticisms are levelled at us as the number one offender.
But Bayern moan that we are charging their fans more than the equivalent fans from Olympiacos or Dinamo Zagreb (both category B fixtures), that it’s unfair. It’s hard to have too much sympathy when it’s the same problem Arsenal fans face on a weekly basis in the Premier League as well as the Champions League. And ultimately, should it really cost less to watch your team play in one place compared to another? Why would I expect to pay a different amount for my match ticket for Arsenal v Sunderland as my ticket for Sunderland v Arsenal?
It comes back to supply and demand, and when a big team is in town the product you are paying for is a higher quality – and therefore it can command a higher price.
It’s just basic economics
It’s also the very basis that Arsenal’s transparent price structure is built upon, with games split between categories A, B and C well in advance of games, according to how in demand those tickets are likely to be.
All this moaning does is turn the focus on Arsenal for our pricing when the reality is that every club* charges what it can to remain competitive in today’s money driven world.
*the ones that are run like businesses anyway
Perhaps the most amusing part of the FC Bayern Worldwide statement was where they prophesied “empty seats in the stands and no singing or emotion”. They are missing a rather bigger point here.
There will be the best part of 55,000 Arsenal fans signing their hearts out for a game which, if we don’t get a decent result, could be one of the final nails in this season’s Champions League coffin.
It should be a cracking game, a cracking atmosphere, and compared to many other things you might choose to do with your Tuesday night it is premium entertainment.
So get off your high horse and experience the very quality of football which is commanding these prices. After all, you might just end up enjoying yourselves.