Time For Arsenal To Get Imaginative Re: Empty Seats

Club should facilitate giveaway of unwanted seats for games like Thursday evening’s

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Qarabag game will be something like this...

Arsenal do not run any kind of scheme whereby season ticket holders who don’t wish to use their seat and either cannot or do not want to sell it through the club’s re-sale portal to another member can simply give their ticket away to someone they do not know who might wish to attend for free.

And with such games as the one against Qarabag on Thursday night, the folly of this policy will be visible in the more than half empty stands at the Emirates. I predict a crowd of circa 25,000 but it might be even lower. 48,000 season ticket holders have paid for the final home match of the Europa League group stage, but the match is a dead rubber as far as everyone’s concerned. Qarabag cannot overtake Sporting Lisbon to qualify for the knockout round and whatever the results on the night, the Gunners will finish top of the group. I doubt there have been too many sales to silver and red members of the approximately 12,000 non season ticket seats (of which a couple of hundred might go to Qarabag).

So it will come down to how many diehards feel motivated enough to see what will most likely be a mix of fringe first team squad players and a few youngsters. In a game that is effectively meaningless.

Arsenal have no scheme to facilitate the donation of unused seats, unless the owner is going to transfer them to a named fellow member. And even if they did, chances are it would not be used for Qarabag because the club still have seats to sell.

Yet there is a lack of forward thinking in such a policy. Sure, they might sell an extra couple of hundred tickets for the game if they didn’t facilitate a mass giveaway. But just imagine this. 15,000 locals take up the offer of a free ticket. A fair proportion of them would buy food, drink and possibly merchandise at the stadium, especially as they have paid nothing to get in. The income would be far greater than 200 ticket sales (especially at Europa League prices), and we’d have something more like an atmosphere because there would be more bodies backing the team and as a rule, greater enthusiasm amongst those who only rarely, if ever attend.

So just a thought for those now making the business decisions at the club, as they take in the view of a more than half empty stadium on Thursday evening. For those that do use the seats they paid for at the start of last summer, it’s a great opportunity to assess the quality of the younger talent at the club, and see some players that most of us are not yet familiar with. It should be a very useful exercise for Unai Emery as well.

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  1. markymark

    Dec 14, 2018, 08:05 #112691

    I actually went last night , I’m not sure if I get a loyalty bonus for that. Not a bad atmosphere considering ! The conundrum over Ozil continues. Part of me felt he did sweet fa all game. Then I realised he’d set up virtually every chance. Despite the chances being set up it just feels like he no longer fits in the current formation and that may not necessarily be his fault

  2. Herd

    Dec 13, 2018, 10:17 #112689

    You have made the mistake of thinking Arsenal give a dam about atmosphere or fans , the don't .However they do care about money and giving seats away doesn't make money ,worse it pops the bubble of high demand and illusion of exclusivity for tickets that they have used as a marketing tool for years now. However If you could show them a cheap way of doing this and suggest this would increase sales of F+B and also raise Armory shop revenues the Corporation might, just might listen to you .

  3. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Dec 12, 2018, 18:43 #112687

    Good piece Kev - Until we have fan representation on the board (LOL) matters like this will go unnoticed.

  4. GoonerRon

    Dec 12, 2018, 08:47 #112685

    It’s a really good point and something innovative could surely be brought in to gift unwanted tickets to local schools and underprivileged children. The other thing the club needs to look at is making childen concession tickets available in the entire stadium. Currently, there are only three quadrants that make up the family enclosure and they are the only seats in the ground where a child concession can be purchased. In better news, at least the away ticketing situation is much improved. We still pay no more than £26 for any away game and for Liverpool my 7 year old goes for a fiver.

  5. markymark

    Dec 11, 2018, 19:36 #112683

    My fear for football is that it could be on a demographic knife edge. Football is far too pricy for many parents to consider regularly taking their kids and tech is consuming spare cash hence the music industry is having to rapidly adapt . Even Ralph Lauren think their biggest threat is tech spend eating into clothes / lifestyle . Family tickets to local schools / colleges and freebie or maybe token £10 tickets to others Get the local kids on board and that can include Home Counties kids before it’s too late

  6. mbg

    Dec 11, 2018, 17:05 #112682

    Those who make the business decisions seats will probably be vacant too.