FEATURE: Ticket Prices Rising

We recently received the exciting news that the price of a ticket to see City at the Etihad is increasing by a huge margin this coming season. Not only is this terrible news, it also make little to no sense and affects the fans where it hurts most – the wallet.

Rising ticket prices are not new. This is a facet of the modern game whether we like it or not. In some mawkish, sepia toned view of a past paradise, ticket prices were available for 50p (or whatever money old people used back in the day), but to expect that now is taking naivety to hilarious levels.

Modern football is, for better or for worse, a business, and the fans represent an often alarmingly loyal bank account for club owners.

So why the anger and disappointment among the City fans? After all, our ticket prices are lower than many and the cost has increased at a slower rate than many of our rivals. We all knew prices weren’t going to go down. So why does this all feel so disappointing?

Well, to put it simply, because the owners and the club do not need the extra cash.

The main worry for them is, of course, Financial Fair Play. City publically failed it this year and have accrued the sanctions of which I am sure we are all well aware. However it has been stated by Khaldoon that the club is on course to be in profit after this season due to a combination of on field success, an obscenely bloated television rights deal, and Tom Glick’s commercial magic. So why are they taking yet more money from the fans?

The wage bill has been a major concern for the club. Indeed, City pay more to the staff than any other organisation in world sport. However this situation is partly alleviated by having some of the old Mark Hughes era deadweights finally off the payroll. In addition, current players are being renegotiated onto new contracts which emphasise a lower basic wage and higher bonuses, such as Samir Nasri reportedly taking a £40,000 per week pay cut to stay at City. So why are they taking yet more money from the fans?

The club has taken some quite extraordinary steps to get City fans, and others, onside these past few years. The PR operation is a slick, well oiled machine. The fan events such as City Live. The promotion of youth through a hugely expensive academy. Relatively cheap season and concession tickets. The proposed house building project in East Manchester. Even the dignified way in which the club is run in stark contrast to almost every other regime in the past 25 years or more. When the whole world is against you, it makes perfect sense to keep those who are already your friends onside as much as feasibly possible. So why are they taking yet more money from the fans?

Times are hard and it is saddening, and maddening, that fans such as Howard Hockin might not be able to afford to see their club for much longer.

I understand FFP. I understand that no matter the promises of breaking into profit, the fear of failing to meet the guidelines a second time and maybe being evicted from the Champion’s League must loom large in the corridors of power at City. I understand that any more revenue, no matter how insignificant ticket sales may be in the grand scheme of things, must feel like a comfort. Like insurance.

I understand the reasoning behind all of this but there does not seem to be a convincing reason why the club is taking yet more money from the fans beyond simple greed.

Thoughts on this issue are very much encouraged and welcome in the comments.

Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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4 comments on “FEATURE: Ticket Prices Rising
  1. I don’t think the cost of season tickets is the issue here, most, at The Etihad, still represent good value for money with the added bonus of ‘staged payments’ to ease the pain. It is the cost of match day tickets for both home and away fans that has caused some concern. City fans were very vocal when we were charged £62 at Arsenal and many now feel that our club has simply joined the rest of the elite clubs in ripping fans off. For me that is the issue, we don’t need to over charge fans, home or away, we feel our club should be better than that. Our owners always say that the fans are at the heart of everything the club does, well here’s the opportunity to prove it.

  2. I have no issue with my season ticket going up again, we are getting charged that little bit extra for our ticket but receiving a whole lot more in return.
    I also have faith that this is only happening because of the ffp, regardless of the reason though I am happy to pay extra and probably still would be even if we were rubbish, because I love city.
    Also the guilt trip that people may not be able to afford to go anymore is nonsense, I imagine less than 1 percent of fans would be put in that position, if any at all and I bet each one of them would spend a tenner or more on at least five occasions at the etihad during the season, cut out a pint or a pie and job done.
    Just to finish you did fail to mention that the owner dropped ticket prices by 27 percent when he took over which was obviously because they knew their plan and ffp rules would dictate ticket rises in the future, they are billionaires for a reasons very very smart.

  3. Im appalled with any increase at any Premier club especially given the vast income increases from TV revenues in 2014. Im a season ticket holder at City and this season have decided that I will only go to two away games Newcastle and Man U – this is now on a point of principle and a belief that its beyond any notion of value for money – although to be fair our Newcastle tickets are only £36.

    I really hope that away ends are empty across the season at grounds – its the only way there will be a change but I dont believe that will happen. The £57 that City are charging for the Monday night game against Liverpool is as wrong as it is unreasonable – it just needs one club to have the balls to say we are going to change this – and if there was one club that could do this it’s City. Im so dissapointed with them

  4. Alex, you ended with “I understand the reasoning behind all of this but there does not seem to be a convincing reason why the club is taking yet more money from the fans beyond simple greed.”
    You already answered the why question with ffp. The club has to meet fat platinis protectionist scheme rules and ticket prices is one element of that. I won’t believe this is our owners trying to take money out by squeezing the fans pips (that happens at a club near Manchester). A 5% rise on avg ticket price for one season would raise around £2m extra income. I’m pretty sure if they weren’t struggling to keep the fat frog at bay we wouldn’t be paying any more for tickets.
    For me there’s no complaint. I buy 2 season tickets in the north stand and over the past 5 or 6 seasons while on the pitch changes have been pretty dramatic the price changes haven’t been. I also get the option to spread the payments over the season with no interest or ‘arrangement fee’ charges. My 2 tickets cost less than 1 at spuds,chelski,the new library or the vile place in stretford.

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