In another clear-sighted and popular move to further open Argentine football up to the people of the country, the AFA announced on Tuesday that ticket prices for the Primera División would, for the third time in 30 months, be hiked again. The cheapest tickets, for the popular stands behind the goals, will be increased in value from AR$30 to AR$40 – a 33% increase. And all this comes in spite of the fact that conditions in the stadia for the fans are exactly the same now as they were a decade ago.
Official government measurements suggest the cost of living in Argentina has risen by 5.9% since January 2010, as inflation continues to be a problem in the country, but a rise of 33% was bluntly explained by AFA officials, who claimed that when prices were last raised, the added cost went towards increased security at grounds, and that clubs didn’t get any benefit from this. Just over a year before AFA president Julio Grondona is up for re-election, and with club presidents being the ones who’ll cast the votes for him, it’s hard to see where the motivation for this rise has come from, isn’t it?
Pensioners will pay half price whilst children will pay AR$12, but the plateas – the stands at the side of the pitch – will also see sharp rises; prices will start at AR$90 and rise to, in some stands at some clubs, possibly over AR$200. In the lower divisions, adult tickets for the populares will range in price from AR$12 in Primera D to AR$30 in Nacional B.
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ja! i’ve said it before, argentine economic strategy was neither strong nor smart.
What a season ticket be?
The main income of the clubs don’t come from the prize of the tickets, Sam, but from television.
So, that’s nothing to do with a good or bad economic strategy.
In fact, the admision of fans to the stadiums generate more expenses, if not troubles, than benefits: security, door controls, etc. As a chief security control in Boca once told me, if each time Boca plays in the Bombonera the stadium were not open to spectators and the game only played for television, the club would save 80 to 100 thousand pesos.
That’s why, among other things, almost all the clubs are bankrup and so indebted to the AFA, i.e., to Grondona.
Now, ask yourself why these same presidents elect him as head of the AFA for over thirty years…
Sam, thanks for this website , I’m taking an interest in the Argentine scene as a result, and hope to make it to the Bombonara some day. Until then I’ll settle for the Irish League (average attendances 600~2000). The fall off in match attendances here is due to blanket TV coverage of the English Premier League. Is this also a problem in Argentina? Match Tickets here are €15 for adults and €5 for children, but Sky TV is available for €10/month. In recent years the FAI have changed the season from August-May to March-November to attract more fans through the turnstiles.
The “product” which TV companies pay for includes the ground atmosphere with banners, singing, chanting and displays from the fans and the ultra groups. Sanitised Football in half empty empty silent stadia would not appeal to the viewers, therefore the TV companies need fans as much as the Clubs do. Football without fans in attendance is about as engaging as a Sunday morning pub league kick around. Fans and fan culture are the life-blood of the professional game from which all the great clubs and players emerge.
Of course futbol need fans, chants and flags in the stadiums.
It’s so an obvious thing that’s unnecessary to remark.
What I’m showing is the curious contradiction of the reasoning: the higher the prize of the tickets, the less tickets will be sold, then, the economy of the clubs will be hurt.
That’s wrong as long as argentine futbol clubs are concerned.
The main profit of the clubs don’t come from the quantity of tickets sold, but from television and static publicity in the stadiums. And as for the fans, their assistance to the stadiums will depend more on the position in the table than on the prize of the tickets. If the team is up and plays well, a lot of people will be filling the stadiums, no matter how much it costs the ticket. If the team plays really bad, nobody will follow them, though the entries were free. The futbol spectator is a very different kind of spectator than theatre’s or cinema’s.
As I pointed before, the only beneficiary here with a rise of the price of the tickets is the AFA (i.e., Julio Grondona), who will perceive more money through the input tax.
287.843 spectators in the first date of Apertura 2010, against 221.865 in the last one of the Clausura.
Good point Bostero.
Thanks Ricardo, but I’m affraid our participation here it isn’t much welcome.
And to Johnny, thank you very much for your invitation to participate in this blog, but frankly next time will be enough with a beer in El Cuartito.
Thanks to all of you here, and BF I can assure you your comments are always welcome. Apologies if my lack of replying to this post has caused any offence – I didn’t have the best few days immediately after (non-footballing reasons), and that distracted me from the discussion at hand.
I reported this price rise more or less as it was reported in Olé and on CanchaLlena.com.ar (note for those who aren’t aware: La Nación’s online sports site). I thought it was worth commenting on, because I’m struggling to see a real justification for the price rise, given that conditions in the stadia remain the same and that it’s way above even Argentina’s rate of inflation.
That being said, Bostero is right of course to say that the TV money is the clubs’ main source of income. The anecdote on your talk with the security man at Boca is very interesting though – my guess would be that La Doce aren’t making a loss on ‘their’ ticket sales (on a similar topic, I took a visiting friend down to La Bombonera this morning to try and get tickets for the match against Racing on Saturday. Sold out of course, so he’s going with one of the sky-high-priced ‘tour’ companies, paying AR$250 for a popular)!
I do think that first weekend attendances will always be slightly inflated by the excitement of a new season, though – River sold out the Monumental on Sunday – so Ricardo’s comparison between last weekend and the final fecha of the Clausura might be a little distorted, especially taking into account that of the two title challengers on that last weekend, one were a ‘small’ club playing away from home, and the other were playing a home match in a smaller ground a fair distance from their normal base – had say Racing and River been vying for the title (I’m in dreamland, I know!), and both been at home, the attendance figure for that final weekend would have been hugely increased.
Of course, ticket pricing is important for televisual reasons too; packed stands always look good on TV. Internationally, among the middle-order top flight clubs, I’d be prepared to bet that all things being equal, there’d be far more Newell’s home games shown live than Vélez home games, for instance (or even River, where even when the stadium’s full the stands are far away from the pitch). Hopefully, the fans can still get to the games and the attendances remain strong, but as you say Bostero, Grondona’s the only real beneficiary of this, and to me it’s just the AFA hitting the fans in their pockets again.