Manchester United has confirmed ticket prices will remain static for next season in a short statement on the club’s website. United, the only Premier League club to raise ticket prices this year, is under severe pressure from the rapidly growing supporters’ protest movement, aimed at removing the Glazer family from the club.
The club is more than £716.5 million in debt according to the latest figures and under pressure to increase revenues. While the move to freeze prices is a surprise it represents a cost to the Glazer family of just over £1 million based on the £1-per-match increase for 2009/10.
“Manchester United has decided to freeze the prices of its Season Tickets for the 2010/11 season,” said a statement on ManUtd.com.
“This means that the cost per home match for Season Ticket holders and One United members remains between £27 and £49.”
Ticket prices have increased by 48 per cent on average since the Glazer family’s leveraged buyout in 2005 – more than a third above the rate of inflation for a comparable period.
Duncan Drasdo, ceo of the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST), reacted by claiming victory over the Glazer family.
“There’s no way that the owners would have done anything than increase prices significantly if the campaign hadn’t grown,” added Drasdo, whose has seen MUST membership increase from 34,000 in January to 145,000 today.
“The green and gold in the stands has obviously got the people in Tampa rattled and they’re trying to buy off supporters. I don’t believe that will happen.
“We know that 75 pence in every pound of profit leaves the club. The Glazers are very bad for the club. We’ve had huge ticket prices in the past so a freeze now is just a freeze at very high prices.”
Anger at increasing ticket prices has led to speculation that up to 60 per cent of United season ticket holders will not renew for 2010/11. Although that seems wide of the mark, a non-renewal rate of 10,000 seats will surprise few, with empty spaces in Old Trafford at matches this season for the first time in nearly two decades.
“We’ll see a lot more people choosing to pay only for the matches they want to attend and not buying season tickets,” added Drasdo, whose organisation is supportive of the so-called Red Knights’ bid to buy the club in the coming months.
“We want the Red Knights to come forward with plans and provided they’re in the interest of the fans and the football club then we’d like those plans to turn into an offer the Glazers can’t refuse.”
Prices at Old Trafford will range from £27 behind the goal in the Stretford End or ‘K’ Stand, to £49 in the North and South stands. Tickets are also up to £10 more expensive for Champions League matches, with no discounts for less popular Carling Cup fixtures.