Britain and the United States do share a common language, but there are times when words don’t translate so well between both countries. Such is the case yesterday when Arsenal announced a record $400 million in turnover. That’s “turnover” meaning revenue, not number of jobs in and out of a football club.
Out of the $400 million in revenue, Arsenal announced that they achieved operating profits of over $100 million.
While the number is staggering — and Arsenal definitely patted themselves on the back, as well they should for managing the club in a very efficient manner — one group of people got left out of the picture. An enormous group, that is: the Arsenal supporters.
In the 17 page financial document from Arsenal Holdings which describes the earnings in the 2006/2007 season, the supporters are only thanked once in the very last paragraph of a letter from Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood.
Last season, Arsenal was the most expensive football ticket in the Premier League with a top price of $184 per ticket to watch the likes of Chelsea, Man United and others play at the Emirates Stadium.
In comparison, this year’s most expensive ticket at Arsenal (per today’s exchange rate) is $189. Despite the scandalously high ticket prices, season tickets to Arsenal are sold out and the waiting list comprises 40,000 people. This for a stadium that has a capacity of 60,000.
While Arsenal is to be applauded for the brand of attacking football they’d played this season and their business decisions off the pitch, I’d like to see more gratitude shown by the club in the press and on their website to the fans that paid had-earned money. After all, Arsenal brings in an average of more than $6 million per game and much of that is due to the supporters.