TICKETS: A Price Freeze Is The Least City Could Do (And Nothing More)

This is probably the last thing I will write on the subject of ticket prices for a while (STOP CHEERING). City today announced a price freeze in ticket prices and for some reason the majority seem to be just so incredibly over-the-moon delighted about this and I’m a bit confused as to why…?

City just did the very minimum and nothing more.

A price freeze is good, obviously. It’s better than the alternative, and presumably original, plan to raise prices yet again. Not having to pay more is great and I’m not here to convince everyone to give up your season ticket or wear your best funeral gear to every game next season.

On the other hand, this isn’t a victory. We haven’t won anything. This isn’t the time to throw a street party or invite Moonchester to your next birthday party.

The fact is – and yes, this is a fact – the fact is, that freezing prices is the measure which City have identified as the very least they have to do to make us all shut up again. By the look of the initial responses, they have identified this correctly. Please also note that they have timed it after the first positive result in ages and before the weekend’s home game against West Brom in order to act against any protests which might have cropped up over the extortionate PSG ticket prices if City take a massive kicking in Paris.

City are earning the following next season:

  • More sponsorship money than ever before;
  • More television money than ever before;
  • More Champion’s League money than ever before;

Deciding not to charge us an extra 5% for one whole season is the absolute least they could do. We have known for a while that all the club’s eggs are in the Guardiola basket. This also applies to ticket prices. They’re betting that after a season of being dazzled by Guardiola and some new trophies then no one will complain about a rise next year.

I used to try hard to not be this cynical about City but too many things have happened to allow me to give them the benefit of the doubt anymore.

Even worse than all this is the idea that the club are actually doing us a favour because Guardiola is here next season and we should be grateful not to pay more to see the best manager in the world.

Have I missed something here?

Unless Guardiola has a uniquely and fantastically out of this world rider for every home game, why does the identity of the man in the dugout affect ticket prices? Do the seats nearest to him have to pay more because they’re bathed in the light reflecting off his baldy head?

Likewise, the expectation of new players – are we meant to pay for them as well? Where does it end? Ticket revenue is less than 10% of City’s overall revenue according to all reports. What if the club said that the only way to buy the good players was to raise prices? Would you pay 100% of the club’s revenue? Would you pay £8000 a year? If not, then why not?

The idea that we should pay more for the better manager or players is a fallacy. It is insulting. It is a con. Does it cost more to set the stadium up for Guardiola than for Pellegrini?

if, in three years time, Vieira replaces Guardiola will ticket prices go down again? Vieira is obviously not as good as Guardiola so surely they should? If not, then why not?

The worst thing about it is that it leaves me wondering: What if?

A price freeze is clearly good news, but not for the obvious reason. It’s good news because it shows if we actually stick together then we can help ourselves. City clearly saw the fan anger and changed their plans. A large number of people started kicking and screaming to the extent where we forced City to back down a bit. What if we had kicked a little harder and screamed a little louder? What if we had committed to a walk out?

It feels like unfinished business. It feels a lot like we’ve missed the very last opportunity to help ourselves before the tourist contingent gets big enough that a few thousand people writing angry letters or walking out of the stadium won’t make a difference anymore.

I’m glad the prices have been frozen, but don’t ask me to sit here and act like it’s a massive win.

I will do my best to reply to any (reasonable) comments and disagreements with this over the week.

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Written by Alex Timperley

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2 comments on “TICKETS: A Price Freeze Is The Least City Could Do (And Nothing More)
  1. Hmm … its an interesting post and clearly the club are between a rock and a hard place.

    On the one hand it’s a business and that’s it and if we think its anything other then we are deluding ourselves, the flip side of course is the massive amount of money that is flowing in, via the various TV deals and sponsorship, doesn’t seem to be going far enough to balance the contribution that the match going fan makes to the all round package that is sold for such vast amounts.

    On a personal level I am pleased that ticket prices have been frozen, I’m not celebrating it, I’m just pleased.

    I don’t think the club would go down the route of loading ticket prices based on whether it’s Pep managing the team or not – I just think it’s a business decision that is around fixing the maximum sustainable ticket price – clearly the PSG price hike hit a nerve with many, including myself and people will vote with their feet as they see fit.

    For me it’s more an issue of principle – and the benefits of the money flow feel a bit one sided. I think Gary makes some fair comments, but I don’t wholly agree with the thinking that the increased success should/might equate to increased prices, that for me is a flawed business model, you might argue that the benefits of increased success might be shared differently – whether prices stay ‘reasonable’ remains to be seen and then of course we might all have a different take on just what is reasonable.

    I’m not cynical about City, just realistic. MCFC are a business, they don’t owe me anything and I don’t owe them anything, I’m not sure if this is the right way to describe it but for want of a better expression I suppose don’t feel the same ‘warmth’ towards the club as I used to. City have been a big big part of my life for a long time and Ive still got my season ticket and I will renew it next year – but I think my ‘relationship’ and ‘contract’ with the club have changed and its not for the better.

  2. I don’t get all this over ticket prices I really don’t, to start if you think that the moaning over the PSG tickets made them freeze season ticket prices I would say that is probably not true.

    I have a decent seat that costs £700 and my 3 year olds costs £200 and I think a sum of £900 to enjoy watching city with my lad is an absolute bargain, I’ve seen various price changes in my time as a season ticket holder and they have been cheaper but not drastically really especially seems as I watch David Silva now and not Kevin Horlock (no offence to Kevin intended).

    I also see a lot of people fail to mention the reduction in our season tickets when we were taken over if I recall correctly it was a 27% reduction, it’s a business and the more successful we get the more we might pay but I honestly expect the prices to stay reasonable and I don’t think we will be totally priced out, I say this not being a wealthy fella to I’m relatively young with a mortgage, cars and a family like most and I save up all year for my ticket but I don’t feel like I can’t manage it.

    A lot of people moan because they can, there will be people at the ground standing around moaning with a £4 pint in their hand, if somethings overpriced it’s overpriced but I don’t see the bars being hijacked, it’s just the nature of a lot of City fans.

    Same goes for PSG tickets, I did say myself it’s a steep rise my lads has quadrupled in price for instance but im not distraught about it, it’s the quarter final of the champions league, if all those years ago when people were paying £500 to watch us play gillingham someone said one day you can be in the quarter final of the champions league but the tickets are going to be 50, 60 quid would you have said no thanks?

    Everyone likes cheaper but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be content with a little bit dearer.

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