Today’s announcement that away ticket prices are to be capped at £30 is many things, but one above all – a good starting point.
£30 is still too much money – away tickets should be £20 tops – but it is a start. It is crucial that this acts as a jumping off point rather than an end point. The public pressure has to be kept up until a reduction in season ticket prices for home fans is secured.
City have yet to announce their season ticket prices for next season but if the last decade has taught us anything it is that they will be increased again for the vast majority. Increased in a small way which can be called “modest”. Increased alongside a limited number of cheap tickets which get used for PR purposes all season. Increased alongside a fall in price for a small number who have relocated in order to soften the blow.
But always, on the whole, increased year after year.
Following Everton’s recent across-the-board reductions it is time for City to step up to the plate and do the same. City are the richest team in the richest league in the world with a fanbase in one of the worst off parts of the country.
This is to say nothing of the new TV money and presumably the increased Champions League payout which will soon pour in.
Like it or not, there is regularly a significant number of empty seats at the #Emptihad. The upcoming Champion’s League tie against Dynamo Kiev is unlikely to sell out despite it being a chance to witness City making club history by advancing to the Champions League quarter finals.
Economic factors are the number one reason why City do not always sell out one of the biggest and best grounds in the country. Not enough fans? Don’t believe the hype. Belts have rarely been tighter than they are now and City are playing more games than ever. Something has to give and it is to the detriment of everyone involved that, often, it is football.
City do a lot for the fans but it always has the veneer of marketing and smooth corporate nonsense. Reducing season ticket prices makes sense all round.
The club can do something which is unambiguously good for the fans. A concrete measure which will make people’s lives better. The positive PR is something I’m sure the marketing nerds can spin into more money somewhere else. The fans who have stuck with the club through the thinnest of times will actually be able to say that the club cares about them and recognises the importance of the local fan, something which has been far from a given in recent years.
Football without fans is nothing. A cliché, yes, but undeniably true.
Have you or has someone you know been priced out of the Etihad in recent years? Will another increase in prices this summer see you have to pack it in? We’d love to hear from you and get your story out there. Please let us know in the comments…
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Written by Alex Timperley