Tottenham Hotspur’s inflated bank account may have been the subject of much attention over the summer. Not only did the club receive a world record fee, believed to be around £85 million for Gareth Bale, chairman Daniel Levy also sanctioned an unprecedented spending spree which saw them splash out over £100 million on new signings.
All this indicates Spurs are in a pretty healthy position financially. They are one of the few top clubs in Europe that continue to make an annual profit, but that doesn’t mean they make it any easier on their loyal fan base.
Having suffered final-day heartache last season, missing out on the Champions League by a single point – to Arsenal, of all teams – Spurs must once again ply their trade in this season’s Europa League.
If that wasn’t a bitter enough pill to swallow, ticket prices for the group games have gone up by an astonishing 33%.
Tickets for the games against Tromso IL, FC Sheriff and Anzhi Makhachkala will cost adults £30 as opposed to the £20 paid for last year’s group matches against the likes of Lazio.
One thing is certain – Daniel Levy is an incredibly astute businessman. The Bale saga was universally hailed as one of the best bargaining displays in football history. Another certainty, however, is that the club’s ticket prices – one of its main sources of income – have priced many fans out of going to support the team, particularly families. Levy appears to be working on the basis that many fans will pay anything to see a game. A lot will, but thousands will not.
Several Premier League games have also seen a price hike of over 30%. According to Spurs’ own website, (www.tottenhamhotspur.com), a ticket for October’s home game against West Ham can cost as much as £81 in the most expensive part of the stadium, the West Stand. A seat in the same stand, coincidentally often the only stand left with tickets available, could cost £47 to see Crystal Palace, Cardiff or for the more adventurous spectator, Hull City. If the question needs to be raised as to whether that’s justified, it may be worth remembering that that’s more than it would cost you to see champions Manchester United face those sides at Old Trafford.
Tottenham face a tricky situation. White Hart Lane is not big enough to meet their needs, and plans are already in place for a move to a new stadium. A Europa League match day priced at £30 makes more money even if the stadium is ¼ empty than a sold-out White Hart Lane at last year’s prices. However, if the current stadium isn’t selling out for the smaller games, then can a move to a bigger stadium really be justified? Fans can only shudder to think what building a new stadium will do to ticket prices.
Concessions for the Europa League game are still fairly priced – juniors can see Tromso IL for £10. And yet the problem arises where the parent taking that junior has to pay £30 to see a team who are in the Europa League by virtue of being Norway’s fair play winner.
This is, of course, not the first time ticket prices have caused a stir. Man City fans built up a campaign of “twenty’s plenty” last season aiming to cap away ticket prices, but unless all twenty teams in the Premiership agree, away games are something it is very difficult to do anything about. Tottenham, however, have the opportunity to reward fans for their loyalty with not cheap, but reasonably priced tickets, or they can price fans out of seeing the team. Unfortunately, at present they are choosing to do the latter.
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