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Paying the Price

By Steve  Williams :  18/07/2007 :  Comments (3) :
As a voting fan I am opposed to the move to Kirkby but realise the need to be realistic in my own thoughts on possible alternatives.

Every Evertonian wants the best for their club and having a stadium that befits our history and importance amongst the fans for many years to come is as important as any decision to be taken in our 129 year history.

It got me thinking that apart from the love of the club, what else appealed to me as a follower of the Blues. One thing stuck out to me and that was the affordability of attending a blues match in terms of admission prices at present. Watching football in recent years has increased in price well beyond the rate of inflation . Prices may be still beyond some people to attend on a regular basis as they were for myself in the past.

This moved me on to thinking that the best for Everton in terms of ambitions for a stadium is something approaching the Liverpool or Arsenal ventures, but then I woke up from the dream. There are no ticket details for the unbuilt Liverpool stadium so I looked around at Arsenals costs and whilst not overly surprised as them being a London club these were their ticket costings for 2006/2007 season:-

For the 2006-07 season, ticket prices for an adult range between £32 and £66 for most matches, but as cheap as £13 for juniors. (designated "Category B"), with the price rising for "Category A" matches against certain top sides to between £46 and £94.[3] Season ticket prices for 2006-07 ranged between £885 and £1,825.[4]

The main middle tier, known as the "Club Level", is premium priced and also includes the director's box. There are 7,139 seats at this level, which are sold on licences lasting from one to four years. The cost of club tier seats for 2006?07 ranges from £2,500 to £4,750 per season and covers admission to all home league games and any home games Arsenal play in the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup.

Now yes, a different area with much higher living costs but it seems someone has to pay for the high project costs and any debt eventually. It is clear that Arsenal fans are paying a very high premium for following their team. That is the question for us as blues supporters too when thinking about the type of stadium we want, we want the best, but how much are people willing to pay once it is built for the honour of watching the team.

Peter Reid made a very important point yesterday. Football is still a working class supporters game and people shouldn't be priced out of going. Taking the Arsenal figures to one side, I know full well our prices would never be that much in the short term but imagine even getting close to Liverpool's project costs without the aid of grants etc. how many fans would willingly pay £50 plus for a ticket every game or over £800 for a season ticket. I heard people complaining at Goodison last season that this years discounts weren't enough and as stated some people can still not afford to attend as regularly as they might like to.

Higher stadium costs, will most definitely mean you the paying fan paying more to watch the game. Plan B at the moment would be just that, find the private investment build a stadium as impressive as Liverpool's or better and then charge fans through the nose to attend. Incidentally, Liverpool's prices may not be anywhere near Arsenals' prices and we are talking about two successful teams so its not a direct comparison about what our ticket prices might be. If it meant going into severe debt to get the stadium we want we would have to be prepared to stump up extra cash.

That for me would be a definite turnoff for fans as it would make it more of a certainty that some of our current fan base may be priced out of attending being replaced with more corporates which can make more money for the club. I would rather keep our traditional fan base with fair ticket prices than risk being priced out. Thats my view anyway but I still don't want a move to Kirkby.

Reader Comments

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Jon Walton
1   Posted 19/07/2007 at 00:28:34

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I think Neville Southall said recently that ’a club like Everton will soon need to make a choice; you can charge a few fans high prices, or a lot of fans reasonable prices’ (or words to that effect -sorry Nev!)
I agree that eventually we need to redevlop Goodison or move somewhere within the city, with the intention of expanding but also retaining the loyal support we already have.
Times and people change. Who is to say that once kenwright goes, someone with vision may come in, and a council leader may be elected that gives us the space we need for redevelopment, on Stanley, Walton, or Everton Park. After all these are three supposedly ’run-down’ parks that would be suitable to the club and the fans. There is also lots of dockland space still available in north liverpool that is not going anywhere.
Why jump into bed with Tesco, it is the only offer we have AT THE MOMENT, NOT FOREVER!
However, once we move to Kirkby and regret it there is no going back. VOTE NO!
Peter Laing
2   Posted 19/07/2007 at 09:47:54

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Its good to see an article with some perspective Steve in contrast to the usual myopic ’say no to Kirkby’ mantra. With the current incumbents there is not the will nor the wealth to redevelop Goodison Park, if Kirkby is opposed by the vast majority as some suggest then this should send a mandate to Kenwright that the time has come to give up his dream and sell up. I also read statistics a couple of years ago that basically reiterated that Everton have the highest number of fans in the EPL who earn less than the national basic salary, travel to the game by public transport and other indicators related to prosperity. Without an ogilarch or sugar daddy, and without having to pay exhorbitive prices in the future to watch the game then what other means of revenue is their to get the new stadium we so desperately need.
Gavin Ramejkis
3   Posted 19/07/2007 at 11:08:52

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The most successful retailers know that selling their wares at a reasonable price will sell more than those selling the same at an increased price, 55,000 at an average of 450 is still more than 33,000 at an average of 600. Pricing out the core fan and many have gone over tha last few seasons make 55,000 sellouts an unrealistic pipe dream.

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