Arsenal season ticket price hike: What has happened, why it’s happened and how it’s been received

The Gunners have announced that prices for season tickets at the Emirates Stadium will rise for the 2022/23 campaign

Arsenal have announced that season ticket prices will be rising for the 2022/23 season in an official statement.

The Gunners have welcomed a full capacity of fans back to the Emirates this season after nearly a season and a half playing games almost entirely behind closed doors due to the COVID-19-induced lockdowns in the UK.

The atmosphere at the stadium is now up there with the best it has ever been, with manager Mikel Arteta commenting on how important a factor it has been in his side’s push for a Champions League place this season.

“The [fans] are able to change the energy, the momentum of the game, give a massive lift to the players and give them confidence,” the Spaniard said in January.

“When you have your people next to you, and the way they have been, how encouraging, supportive, loud, it really creates a bond with the team and makes a huge difference.

“It is one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen for many, many years at the Emirates and I’ve been in a few of those so I can just thank the fans for their support that they are giving the team.”

But with a potentially controversial hike in costs for attending matches, could that newfound bond now be put at risk? Here analyses the fall out from the price increase of season tickets at the Emirates.

What has happened?

Arsenal released a statement on their website on Monday morning confirming that season ticket prices were going to be increased by 4% for the 2022/23 season.

This is the first time costs have gone up since 2014, although it is worth noting that this campaign saw the Gunners fail to qualify for European competition for the first time in 25 years, although the prices remained the same.

The amount that costs go up by will be impacted by which competitions Mikel Arteta’s side are playing in next season.

If they are successful in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League then they will go up on average by £49, for Europa League the increase will be £44, and if the Gunners fail to make Europe again, then there will be an increase of £40.

However, increases in the price of season tickets will be offset by the fact that next campaign’s prices will be reduced by £75.33. This is due to the fact that Arsenal did not have any home FA Cup games after being knocked out in the third round by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, meaning that the cup matches that would have been part of this season’s costs will be taken off next season’s ticket.

Tickets for Carabao Cup matches will still remain at £5 and £10 for concessions and £10 and £20 for adults, depending on where fans are sat in the stadium, while Premier League away matches will continue to be subsidised at £26.

Several measures have been put in place in order to help younger fans to be able to attend more matches.

There will be a 25% discount for general admission season ticket holders and those who pay for tickets game-by-game aged between 19 and 21.

Cannon members aged between 17 and 18 can now also get the 57% discount that they previously enjoyed in the Family Enclosure (located in the bottom tier of the Clock End) anywhere in the stadium.

Red member Junior Gunners (aged 16 and under) will also continue to get their 66% discount on tickets.

The club also confirmed that several improvements are set to take place to the Emirates Stadium itself.

As reported by earlier this month, there will be maintenance work done to the roof, which has leaked on occasion this season.

Work will also be done on the big screens inside the ground which have had technical problems this campaign, while a new turnstile reader system will be put into place to ensure speedier entry for supporters and avoid the long wait times that were common earlier this season.

There will also be a new wrap around the outside of the Emirates. Currently it is adorned with a mural of the backs of legendary players’ shirts, but the club has confirmed that they will be in consultation with supporters groups to decide what replaces it.

Why has it been done?

In their statement, Arsenal justified the rise in season ticket costs by citing increasing recent prices and a need to generate increased revenues from all possible sources.

“We recognise that no one welcomes price increases, and this decision has not been taken lightly,” the statement read.

“Ultimately in the face of continued rising costs, we need to continue to drive growth in all our revenue streams – including matchday – as part of our aim to return our finances to a break-even position in the medium term.”

The Gunners announced last year that they had made a loss of £47.8 million for the 2019 to 2020 financial year, and it expected that that number will be even higher when the club’s finances for 2020 to 2021 are released in the coming weeks due to the continuing impacts of COVID-19.

However, it is also worth noting that club owner Stan Kroenke is the world’s 70th richest man with a net worth of $10.7 billion (£8m, as per Forbes). The Premier League also announced that it had sold its broadcasting rights for the 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons for a price of £5.1 billion.

How has it been received?

The news has received a mixed reaction from club supporters’ groups who were consulted on the decision in a fans’ forum meeting earlier this month, and are understood to have advised against the increase in price.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) released a statement condemning the rise in season ticket costs, particularly at a time when the cost of living in the UK is rising significantly.

They predict that the move will raise only £3.8 million in revenue for the club, and have questioned the wisdom of the decision as a result.

“The AST believes that the 4% ticket price increase is unjustified at a time Arsenal’s overall revenues are increasing and fans are experiencing other pressures on their disposable income,” the statement read.

“When presented with news of the increase at the recent Arsenal Advisory Board (AAB) and Fans Forum, the AST representatives present argued against the case for any increase.”

This has been echoed by the Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association (AISA) and several other fans.

However, there has been praise for the work being done to improve access to the Emirates for younger people, who are often still in full-time education.

“We do welcome within these proposals that new concessions are being introduced for supporters in the 19 to 21 year old category,” read the AST statement. “This includes giving these ticket holders the options to buy discounted tickets anywhere in the stadium.

“The AST has actively campaigned for this change for many years pointing out how most of our supporters in this age group are still in full time education or employment that does not pay well, and that there is a danger of Arsenal losing their younger fans as they come out of the Junior Gunners and Cannon Club.

“This brings Arsenal into line with the vast majority of other Premier League clubs who already offer this concession.”

Many have put the improved atmosphere this season down to a perceived reduction in the age of people attending.

But the AST have also expressed their dissatisfaction at how the process was handled.

Promises were made by Arsenal that decisions would be made in a more consultative manner after the club’s ownership entered it into the European Super League without prior discussion last May.

“Arsenal first said they were planning on increasing ticket prices during meetings of the Arsenal Advisory Board and Fans’ Forum during February,” the AST statement continued.

“The information was put forward as a decision that was being made. Attendees were specifically requested not to share the information more widely and no formal consultation took place.

“The AST challenged this approach. Following the debacle of the Super League, there is supposed to be a greater effort being made by Arsenal, and all football clubs, to improve supporter engagement and dialogue.

“An increase in ticket pricing is exactly the sort of issue these forums should consider and have input to.”