Liverpool FC managing director Billy Hogan says that “At some point, there has to be more revenue from ticketing” as the club seek to formulate a “long term ticket pricing strategy informed by supporters.”
Hogan was speaking at a recent meeting with senior club officials discussing ticketing with invited supporters at a fans forum earlier this month.
“The price of everything in football is going up,” said Hogan.
“So we have to look at all areas of revenue to continue to compete, but in case of ticketing the goal is to work together with this group collaboratively to find ways to address the issue and any increase does not necessarily need to come from general admission tickets.”
It’s the most alarming quote from the minutes of the meeting, and one which will see most supporters react by pointing out that yes, everything in football is going up – most notably the income from record-breaking new TV deals.
As part of that desire to generate further revenue from new TV deals, games will be shown on Saturday nights and in total over half of all Premier League games (200 out of 380) will be shown live on UK TV.
And yet, Hogan has the temerity to tell supporters that “there has to be more revenue from ticketing.”
While some talks were positive, with the club recognising the need for younger faces at Anfield on matchdays, it is extremely disappointing to hear that the long term plan is to squeeze matchgoing fans further.
“We agree 100 per cent with getting more kids and young adults into the matches,” said Hogan.
Ultimately, if Liverpool and owners FSG want to increase revenue from ticketing, the only way to do so is to increase Anfield’s capacity.
Liverpool have outline planning permission for the proposed ‘phase two’ of Anfield’s overall development plan – phase one having been the redeveloped Main Stand and phase two being the similar redevelopment of the Anfield Road End – which would take the overall capacity to around 60,000.
And yet a year on from the Main Stand being completed, there are no formal plans to press ahead with phase two, despite the need for it being abundantly clear.
The latest public comments regarding plans to expand the Anfield Road End saw chief executive Peter Moore insist that was still the plan but that the club were exploring their options.
“We’ll look at what investment the ownership needs to put in,” said Moore.
“We’re a fan-first organisation, I can assure people we’re going to look at this on top of everything else we are doing.”
Back in May, chief operating officer Andy Hughes said: “We are currently working up design, feasibility, cost, capacity and economic viability options.
“Only once we have completed this comprehensive process and come to a conclusion will it be the right time to move forward with any development programme.”
Liverpool’s operations director Andrew Parkinson said in January that: “In terms of Anfield Road, and making a decision, it would be based on how well the Main Stand had performed. This is still very much the case.”
Liverpool have increased revenue from the new TV deals – both domestic and foreign rights – plus a reported £20 million per season more from the corportate aspect of the new Main Stand.
Meanwhile, the new club shop significantly increases matchday revenue, as do several high profile commercial deals.
These latest words from Hogan and the lack of movement on the Anfield Road End are unlikely to win over those fans who are already skeptical of FSG.