The comments made by Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness on the German club’s ticket pricing policy have been widely reported, but they are worth mentioning here again because of the justifications given by English clubs, including Spurs, every time prices are increased in England. When fans complain at policies which have have hugely increased the price of watching football – 105% over 12 years in my case – we are told that if we want our clubs to buy the players and pay the wages that will bring success, this is the price we have to pay.
Many of us have, for some time, pointed out that the total raised by each rise comes nowhere near the transfer or wage bill for even a middling player these days, so the argument doesn’t stack up. This view is swatted aside by the There Is No Alternative brigade running our clubs. But now Hoeness has, succinctly, shown that we are right, that the “raise ticket prices to compete” argument is phoney. He said:
“We could charge more than £104. Let’s say we charged £300. We’d get £2m more in income but what’s £2m to us? In a transfer discussion you argue about that sum for five minutes. But the difference between £104 and £300 is huge for the fan.”
No doubt the cheerleaders for the Greed Is Good League will point out that Bayern are hardly examples of the kind of football communism anyone who criticises current practice in England is assumed to be advocating, but that rather underlines the point. And as for the argument that a more ethical approach is all very well but it won’t get you far… well, what have Bayern ever achieved, eh?
As with most things in life, what is possible comes down to what you want to achieve, and what your attitude is. As I said in a previous post, it’s hard not to draw the conclusion that English clubs such as Spurs raise ticket prices simply because they can. Their attitude could not be more different from that of Hoeness, who said:
“We do not think the fans are like cows, who you milk. Football has got to be for everybody. That’s the biggest difference between us and England.”