Liverpool fans’ group Spirit of Shankly are disappointed by a new ticket pricing structure at the club. The fans have criticized price increases and have laid blame for the introduction of Anfield’s first £1,000 season ticket squarely at the door of American owners Fenway Sports Group.
As well as the outcome, fan groups are dissatisfied with the process by which the decision was taken. They consider that there wasn’t enough consultation with fans over a decision taken in Boston.
The new ticket pricing arrangement unveiled by the club is preparation of the redeveloped Main Stand’s opening for the start of the next (2015/17) campaign will see the highest rise to £1,0269.
The lowest season ticket will cost £685, although the club say 64 percent of prices will decrease and 45 percent of match-day tickets will also reduce.
The new structure will generate an additional £2 million a year for the club. However, its wages to turnover ratio fell to 52 percent in the latest accounts, close to the recommended figure (increased hospitality revenues are supposed to fund the Stadium redevelopment).
The Reds’ most expensive match day ticket for next season will now be £77 – it was previously £59 – in the new Main Stand which will accommodate 8,500 new seats, half of which will be allocated to corporate hospitality.
New initiatives include a new £9 match ticket for local youngsters for the club’s three Category C games and the introduction of 1,000 young adult tickets for 17 to 21-year-old.
Anfield will continue to be sold out next season, but there are concerns that it may not be affordable for some fans, it is argued that an opportunity to offer fair ticket prices has been missed with the new television revenues.
“We had countless meetings with Liverpool-based executives but this is an ownership decision,” he explained to Press Association Sport. “It is an economic decision which has been made that the club could and should make more money from the supporters.”
“They are the people who sign this off and we have had no response to our proposals or why their proposals were unfair and unnecessary. We weren’t asking them to not make money (on ticket prices), just a little bit less than they were proposing.
“We didn’t even get the decency of a reply, we didn’t even get a ‘No’. If I am really honest I am surprised.
“My experience of the world of football and things off the pitch have been shaped by the dealings with Hicks and Gillette (Tom and George, Liverpool’s previous owners) but when we started 13 months ago I was genuinely hopeful.
“We thought people at the club understood it is not just about money, it is about our support and how it is being priced out. I am very surprised the owners didn’t see that.”
Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre defended the price changes saying it’s for the club’s long-term sustainability.
“We always carefully consider ticket pricing to ensure the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the club while listening to the views of our match-going fans to understand the priorities around accessibility and affordability,” he said.
“The feedback has been clear that having more local and young people at Anfield is a priority and we are delighted to be launching these new ticketing initiatives.
“The redevelopment of our Main Stand and increased capacity has given us flexibility to freeze or reduce more than half of all tickets across the stadium which is reflected in our longer term plan to give fans more choice on what price they pay to attend a game.
“We recognise the incredible importance of ticket pricing to our match-going fans and we take the responsibility very seriously in determining pricing at Anfield.”