Hull City v Arsenal has been moved from Saturday afternoon, May 2nd, to Monday evening, May 4th.
As a result of this, each of the two clubs gets an extra £750k from the TV companies.
Hull are charging Arsenal fans £50 a ticket. That’s the amount they thought the match was worth when it was going to be played on Saturday afternoon. It’s less attractive to away fans (probably to home fans too, but especially to away fans) when it’s on Monday night. Perhaps Hull should offer a reduction? After all, they’re getting all the ticket money AND an extra £750k.
They could make away tickets £20, and assuming 3,000 away fans that would mean income of only £60k from away fans – but they can add the £750k on for a total of £810k.
Or you can turn the calculation round and say that reducing away tickets to £20 would cost them £90k – but take that off the £750k and they’re still £660k up.
Any away fans planning to take children will think twice when their kids have to be up for school the next day.
Anyone planning on travelling by train will also have a problem, as they are no trains back to London after the match finishes.
May 4th is a Bank Holiday, so at least it’s less likely that away fans will have to take time off work to attend, but they’ll have to drive if they want to get back the same night, and not have to pay for accommodation.
What about some help from Arsenal? They’re also getting a £750k bonus. Perhaps they could put on a train or two for Arsenal fans?
Two trains would be enough to transport all the away fans who wanted to travel that way. That would cost Arsenal £100k at the most. They could provide that free and still be £650k up, or charge a nominal £10 per person and get an extra £10k-£20k in their pocket. Most fans would be more than happy with that, or even with a £20 train ticket – after all, they wouldn’t have to drive and they’d know the trains were at suitable times.
Will any of this help for fans happen? So far there’s no sign of it.
The TV deal is huge already. The next deal dwarfs it. The clubs get richer, the owners get richer, the players get richer, the agents get richer. Hell, even the TV companies get richer, as they pass the extra cost on to their subscribers.
The ones who get poorer are the match-going fans. That’s why the Football Supporters’ Federation have the Twenty’s Plenty campaign for away tickets. That’s why Arsenal and Liverpool supporters will protest together before their match on April 4th.
Obviously this is not a problem limited to Arsenal fans, I’m just using one game as an example. All match-going fans get hit by inconvenient times and dates, as TV companies couldn’t care less whether public transport runs when matches are finished, or whether fans have already made plans and paid money by the time the date of a match changes.
Enough is enough. Football is nothing without fans.