In the past few days, Leeds United released the new pricing for this season’s matchday tickets. The response by the fans wasn’t initially great, with some even expressing anger and confusion over the seemingly harsh prices. However, many will be feeling a little happier today after Angus Kinnear, managing director, released a statement explaining the unpopular move.
After pressure from the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust, Kinnear explains how ticket prices have become Leeds’s primary source of income, and an important factor in their battle to compete with Premier League clubs who receive obscene amounts from TV each year. He also goes on to say that the club will continue their members discount and ‘will be introducing new cheaper ticketing bundles throughout the season’.
The Trust is disappointed to see the ticket prices published on Saturday and will seek talks with the club to understand their justification— LUFC Trust (@lufctrust) July 23, 2017
Fans, and I for one included, understand the financial strength needed for a return to the Premier League and an explanation as to the role of tickets in this is helpful. So, Mr. Kinnear, why didn’t you release this three days ago when the ticket prices came out?
The Leeds United Supporters’ Trust have accepted the increase and claim that if the promises of bundles, discounts and investment in the team are kept, then it is reasonable to increase ticket prices.
LUFC Trust "It is reasonable to increase the costs of tickets slightly if promises of bundles, discounts, investment in team are kept" #lufc https://t.co/HcZAopEx8j— Lee Sobot (@LeeSobotYEP) July 25, 2017
I am not convinced; however, I certainly feel a little better that at least there is some degree of communication and a working relationship between the board and fans. We needed an explanation, and eventually we got one.
Maybe it is just the way football is becoming these days. Possibly, the sport is a victim of its own success, as so much cash is pumped into football nowadays from ridiculous transfer fees and TV rights that aspiring Premier League clubs like Leeds require vastly larger amounts of revenue to keep up with the rest. Not to mention the fact that some of their closest rivals, who have recently been relegated from the Prem, receive extortionate parachute payments to help them adjust to the drop. Last season, seven Championship teams shared a total of £219 million, with Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa banking a whopping £40,915,922 each.
Leeds, therefore, were already £40 million worse off than their rivals at the start of the season and will be again at the start of this one. Unfortunately, part of this burden is now shared with the fans in the form of match tickets, which the Leeds board claims is ‘the largest single factor influencing investment in the team’.
With Leeds reportedly acquiring £6-7 million from the Charlie Taylor deal, this statement hasn’t changed my mind that these ticket prices are acceptable, but at least there is some justification.
The decision has been made and fans are going to have to live with it. Who knows, if Leeds can make it back to the top flight and stay there for many years to come, maybe paying those crazy ticket prices would have been worth it after all.