By Nick Harris
5 January 2011
The Premier League will witness the first £100 ‘ordinary’ match ticket in the history of English football tonight when Arsenal host Manchester City. That prices includes the price of the seat itself for one person plus necessary extra booking fee and postage.
That level of pricing, which comes into effect from today onwards for the best ordinary (non-corporate, non-hospitality) seat in the Emirates Stadium, makes 90 minutes of Arsenal football almost one and a half times as expensive as the best seats in the top tier at the Royal Opera House (£71).
The most expensive normal seats at Arsenal prior to today – in the centre of the upper tier, for ‘category A’ games against top opposition – were £94 per person, plus a booking fee for non members of either £2.10 online or £2.30 by phone, plus £2.20 postage, so £98.30 or £98.50 for a typical one-ticket purchase.
But with VAT rising in Britain from yesterday, 4 January – from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent – that purchase will break the £100 ceiling for the first time.
The £94 top price broke down to £80 for the ticket to Arsenal plus £14 VAT at 17.5 per cent. At 20 per cent VAT, the ticket price has moved to £96, or £80 plus £16 VAT, and with fees and postage, the single ticket price has typically gone up to £100.30 (booking online) or £100.50 (booking by phone).
No club can afford to charge such prices throughout their grounds and stay busy, and Arsenal have a wide range of prices, from £49 to £98 for ‘Category A’ games against top opposition including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, and £34 to £67.50 for Premier League games against lesser sides.
But Arsenal are already the most expensive club to watch on their own ground in Britain by some margin, and a recession is not perhaps the ideal time to be breaking the £100 barrier.
Arsenal’s cheapest adult season ticket for 2010-11 cost £893, while their most expensive ‘ordinary’ season ticket (just seat, no hospitality) was £1,825, albeit inclusive of seven other games including Champions League matches. Arsenal’s price list is linked here (scroll to bottom for new prices from 4 January since VAT rise; booking fee costs are mid-page).
In order of next most expensive ’entry level’ season tickets, Liverpool were most expensive for 2010-11 (£680), followed by Tottenham (£650), West Ham (£585) and Chelsea (£550), while at the other end of the spectrum, Blackburn had the cheapest adult season ticket at £224, or just over twice for the season what a single high-end ticket will cost at the Emirates from January.
The club with the next most expensive single ticket prices in England is Tottenham, where the most expensive ‘normal’ seats were £76 per game before the VAT rise, rising to £78 per game now, according to Spurs’ official website. The most expensive ordinary seat at Chelsea costs £73 per game, and at Manchester United costs £49 per game.
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