From Raphael Jones :
I note that Sky have decided to show the Arsenal v Liverpool game at 4pm on Christmas Eve.
This will cause significant problems for the away fans having to travel great distances at a time when I would imagine transport services would be looking to scale down their schedules.
It just shows how little the original spectators matter to what are now big corporations. It’s all about money and so not about the fans.
The £100m Arsenal earns from spectators is only a quarter of its total revenues which I read today have exceeded £400m for the first time. So about one quarter of the club’s income is from ticket sales. For a club like Man Utd ticket sales are less than one fifth of their income. When I was a kid I expect this was the primary source of the club’s income.
The traditional fan who lived near the ground and who was a regular spectator is in decline. Many clubs are having to leave their original grounds as they redevelop and expand, catering for a more affluent and less frequent and dare I say perhaps less fervent follower.
As has been said in these pages before, there is more money to be earned from the countless football ‘tourists’ who attend once but buy a scarf, a replica shirt and countless goodies from the club’s shop than the regular fan who perhaps buys one shirt a year.
Are football matches going the way of pop concerts and festivals? The real music fans being priced out of gigs in favour of affluent people who have less knowledge about the band and their albums who want to tick another group off their bucket list? It’s more about the experience than any deep love of the group?
Is the modern day spectator someone who has read or heard about the club / band via TV or social media and wants to say at some stage in the future “I was there” but doesn’t have the inclination or ability to go see them on a frequent, regular basis?
What does the future hold? Will Sky which, until recently, had the virtual monopoly over the English game become a relative minnow when Amazon and the like put in a bid for the new contract which starts in 2019?
Are the global giants now circling? And could this be why $ilent $tan has decided to make a bid for Usmanov’s share of the club? The corporations are now moving towards the feeding trough and the traditional fan will get trampled in the frenzy.
The corporations want subscribers not spectators. That’s where the money is.
Nothing stays the same, Raphael. And nothing gets better.
But the EPL still has more travelling supporters than other leagues.