Liverpool fans’ group Spirit of Shankly have branded season ticket price rises at Anfield an “insult” and accused the club of “pricing out many of those that kept the club on its feet during its darkest days”.
Last week Liverpool announced a new six-tier structure for season tickets in 2013/14. Season tickets will rise by 9% in the Main Stand, Paddock, Centenary Stand and Anfield Road Stand. Ticket prices in the Kop are frozen.
Spirit of Shankly said: “In the midst of austerity, with redundancies and cut-backs a daily reality for many supporters, these inflation-busting price rises are an insult to long-standing supporters who have already suffered a massive 716% price rise since 1989.
“So much for Lord Justice Taylor's post-Hillsborough recommendation that, ‘it should be possible to plan a price structure which suits the cheapest seats to the pockets of those presently paying to stand’.
“While the announcement regarding Kop season tickets is a relief to many, it is our belief that ticket prices are already too high, pricing out many of those that kept the club on its feet during its darkest days.
“Spirit of Shankly is already working with away supporters to build a national campaign to fight for a reduced away ticket prices. We urge supporters facing these price rises to join with the club's regular away following, Spirit of Shankly and the national supporters organisations in saying ‘Enough is enough - football without fans is nothing’”.
‘Kemlyn Road Kneecap’
Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre claimed the club had given “careful consideration” to the price rise which he said “will more accurately reflect seat location and view”.
But this isn’t a view that the FSF affiliated Spirit of Shankly share. They criticised facilities in some parts of Anfield and argue that the Paddock seats designated as some of the best in the stadium are effectively restricted view.
“It is our guess that not one of Liverpool's multiple ‘owners’ has ever watched a match from any of these seats and that none of them have ever availed themselves of the so-called ‘facilities’ in the Paddock or Main Stand or emerged from a game with a case of ‘Kemlyn Road Kneecap’!
“If we are wrong, then more shame on them for believing £815 to £850 is fair price to pay for ‘the product’ on offer,” said Spirit of Shankly.
Bumper TV deal
The amount of money that football brings in through media deals is far greater than the revenue generated from ticket sales. Domestic TV rights are worth £3.2bn while foreign TV rights, domestic and foreign radio rights, sponsorship increases and new associate sponsors are set to take revenues above £5bn over the course of a deal covering 2013-16.
The increase in revenue from the domestic TV deal is £1.2bn (from £2bn during 2010-13 to £3.2bn during 2013-16). With Premier League total season attendances hovering at around 13m it means that every single ticket at every single game could be subsidised by £32 from the increase in the domestic TV deal alone. Yet instead of rewarding fans' loyalty during tightened times many clubs will increase ticket prices.
In 2011 Rogan Taylor, Liverpool fan and Director of Liverpool University's Football Industries Group, told The Guardian,"Ticket price increases...are now going into the arms race of escalating players' wages. When I go to Liverpool I don't mostly see a bourgeois, middle-class crowd, but ordinary people who must be stretching to afford it."
How far can clubs go before the elastic snaps?
Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this story.