Friday, 7 September 2018

Rip off Rangers?

When news initially broke that Rangers were charging a lump sum of £105 for three Europa League matches in a block, reaction was more than a touch incredulous from supporters. After all, English clubs are said to be charging only just over half that, and our chums in the East are charging £72 for the same package.

Is Rangers’ supporters’ outrage justified? On the face of it, yes. We are receiving the same product as everyone else but being charged around 50% extra for the privilege, and in a market system, you should always try to match or beat your rivals.

The further annoyance for fans is the short-notice. This ‘deal’ only has three days’ availability, and even then it’s only for season ticket holders – once the three days are up the price rises again for individual tickets to a reported £40.

On the face of it, this doesn’t seem right, or fair.

However, to put our devil’s advocate cap on, there are some caveats here:

First off, this is Rangers’ first return to the Promised Land of European football for seven years. This club has had a seven year vacuum of finance where millions of pounds should have been with regards our regular European outings. Yes, these tickets are a bit steep, but the reality is Rangers have years of this ahead while we try to balance our books and get the incoming closer to the outgoing. Years of loss making has to stop somehow. It, to us, is a necessary evil to allow us to live within our means.

Secondly, clubs down south and Celtic can afford to charge so little. These clubs are rich. Simple as. They are all financially stable and can afford to charge less for tickets and still make profit. Even Celtic plugged their £10-18M shortfall of UCL failure by selling Dembele for £20M. They made a hell of a lot less profit than usual, but they still managed to end up in the black.

Thirdly, it’s clearly been so long since we were in Europe that we’ve forgotten this is roughly what our club used to charge for European nights anyway! In 2009 Rangers faced AC Milan in a friendly - £25 was the price. 2005 v Porto UCL - £29. Sure, £35 is slightly more but these are different times.

Lastly – our club is going to do everything it can to exploit every revenue stream it can for the next year or two. Seven years of borderline no cash, plus last summer’s wasted £11M all adds up – the revenue is starting to slowly flow again, but us supporters do have to take some of the burden ourselves too – the £10M we spent this summer was seemingly mostly funded by the board.

Yes, there is absolutely no doubt our club is slightly taking advantage of the situation, and yes, it’s charging slightly more than usual, but there are reasons for this and for fans to complain about the price of tickets almost feels like some of us have forgotten the past seven years.

How do you guys feel? Too high or a necessary evil?

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