After a three per cent rise in season ticket prices which will see Arsenal generate roughly £3m in extra revenue this season, it has emerged that Arsenal paid the same amount to owner Stan Kroenke’s Kroenke Sports and Entertainment LLC company last year.
It's not as simple as the notoriously reclusive Arsenal owner simply pocketing the money raised from the club’s wallet-draining season ticket prices, though. The club’s statement of accounts for the 2013/14 season says the £3m payment to KSE was for “strategic and advisory services”.
Besides, as ultimate owner of the business, Kroenke is entitled to do as he likes with it. In the last month the club has spent more on player transfers than ever before and announced record-breaking revenue. In May, the team ended a nine-year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup.
A return to silverware and big-name signings is undoubtedly a welcome one, but Arsenal fans are being asked to fork out more and more to witness it under Kroenke’s ownership.
Since the American took over the club in 2011, match day ticket prices have risen 12.5 per cent. Since the 2006-2007 season the rise has been less steep, at eight per cent.
For the three years prior to the 2011 takeover, the average match day ticket for an Arsenal league game cost £40. Yet under Kroenke’s leadership they’ve risen year-on-year to £43.
It’s the same story for season ticket prices. Arsenal fans pay more than any other set of supporters in the Premier League, yet the club has continued to hike prices since 2011. For five of the six seasons prior to Kroenke’s ownership, the cheapest season ticket price stayed frozen at £925. Yet since then it’s risen to £1014 - a 9.6 per cent rise.
Furthermore, of all the clubs who have competed in the Champions League in the intervening period (including Liverpool this season), it is Arsenal’s season ticket prices which have increased the most.
Manchester United and Chelsea’s cheapest season tickets have stayed at a fixed price of £532 and £595 respectively, while Liverpool’s has actually dropped from £725 to £710.
While a £89 jump can make a serious dent in fans’ bank balances. This season’s bump from £985 to £1014 will generate £3m of extra revenue for Arsenal. That’s worth just over one per cent of the club’s total revenue of £298.7m for the last season.
Last season, Arsenal already had the second-highest matchday revenue in the Premier League at £100m, but also saw broadcast revenue overtake that figure for the first time thanks to the league’s bumper new TV deal. It's led to many questioning whether the price rise is really necessary.
Ultimately, £3m heading out of Arsenal and into KSE is not going to stop the club competing in the Champions League or buying another Mesut Ozil.
But with the fans being asked to sacrifice more and more for the cause, some will wonder why their owner is not doing the same.