Why a team is justified to raise ticket prices
A team, and I speak about any team not just Liverpool, raises prices for a multitude of reasons that may or may not involve the actual fan. In an ideal world, sports teams would look at competition as the most important part of the sport and whether or not a team makes a profit is secondary to winning. In reality, sports is a business just like everything else and soccer is no different. The days of loyalty and connection between fan and team is pretty much gone in the Premier League era. Teams have moved on but maybe it has taken fans a bit longer to realize that the team is more and more concerned about money and their brand than anything else.
In a strict, economic sense, I can understand why teams would raise prices. Teams, particularly Premier League teams, are trying to do all they can to meet the insane worldwide demand the Premier League shows nowadays.
Alexi Lalas pointed this out before Liverpool’s FA Cup game against West Ham on Tuesday. He went into a “blame America” rant that I could’ve done without because not all Americans think like that, but his point about reflecting the price of tickets to the marketplace is a valid point.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 9, 2016
Business wise, if FSG knows they can fill Anfield and know that there are thousands upon thousands of people willing to go regardless of cost, they can theoretically charge way more for every seat than they already have and still fill the stadium.
This is also a very different Premier League than it even was a decade ago. The worldwide appeal has exploded and EPL teams are now trying to do their best in balancing appeasing local as well as worldwide fans. Some teams do this better than others but the reality is that there are more fans and each carry a very lucrative and diverse sector of soccer fan culture. It is no longer financially viable to just ignore international fans in favor of your local fanbase just like ignoring your local fanbase for international fans won’t work as well. A healthy balance is most important for success.
In addition, in an open market such as the Premier League, each team has to find ways to create revenue streams. In Liverpool’s case, they are competing with 19 other EPL teams as well as other teams worldwide for that all important revenue. One justification of raising ticket prices is because of revenue streams they haven’t been able to utilize and may cause backlash if they did. For instance, unlike teams like Arsenal and Manchester City, Liverpool haven’t sold the naming rights of Anfield. Arsenal is getting paid £2.8 million ($4 million) per year from Emirates for stadium naming rights. While an exact number for just Etihad Stadium doesn’t seem to be available, it’s safe to say Manchester City receives way more than Arsenal’s revenue per season.
If Liverpool were to sell naming rights to Anfield, would that keep the front office from raising ticket prices? Or will that simply result in a temporary freeze before ultimately raising prices once again?