Amidst escalating matchday experience costs, Arsenal’s premium offering has become a focal point. What does this trend signify for the average fan, and how do football clubs navigate these commercial waters?
This package enables up to four individuals to meet a first-team player and also includes a tour of the stadium prior to matches (and some other stuff detailed below).
While Manchester City has been under scrutiny for its matchday package prices – £2,130 for under-12s and £3,200 for older children and adults – Arsenal’s substantial fee highlights a broader industry trend.
Carer Becky Richards, from Thorngumbald, East Yorkshire, represents a section of fans feeling the pinch of these premium packages. Expressing her concern in an exclusive with The People, she said, “Kids just want to meet their heroes and it shouldn’t mean that only the richest get the chance.”
Niall Couper, a representative from the football campaign group Fair Game, provided a broader perspective: “In a world where the £100 million transfer has been normalised and nearly £3 billion spent in the last 12 months by elite clubs, there appears to be a growing disconnect with the communities they represent.”
Couper emphasised the need for a shift in football’s culture, advocating for the celebration and reward of clubs prioritising financial sustainability, good governance, equality standards, and fan and community engagement.
He further added, “We need an independent regulator that rewards the well-run clubs.”
Such premium packages, while offering a unique experience, have ignited debates over accessibility and the increasing commercialisation of football. Arsenal, with its Hero Experience, and other top clubs charging over £4,000 for similar matchday packages, find themselves at the centre of these discussions.
Concerns also extend to issues like ‘aggressive’ autograph hunters. For instance, Brighton recently imposed a ban on its players taking selfies with fans due to concerns over “dangerous” overcrowding and instances of abuse.
Following this, the club has also prohibited players from signing autographs before and after matches.
As the debate continues, the underlying question remains: At what cost should fans have access to their football heroes?
*It should be noted that The People’s exclusive report claims the Arsenal Hero Experience costs £9,100 while Arsenal.com states it costs ‘from £8,940 inc VAT’.
A distinction without a difference, perhaps.
The Arsenal Hero Experience package also includes
- Presentation by an Arsenal men’s first team player* of either a squad signed shirt or football (your choice) – yours to keep
- Private pre-match pitch-side tour with an Arsenal legend
- Souvenir group photograph with the Arsenal men’s first team player for all guests
- Premium Club Level match seats located in the midfield area
- Private booth for four (4) in The Foundry restaurant
- Pre-match three-course dining
- Half-time and post-match refreshments.
- Complimentary drinks including champagne, house spirits, selected wines, beers and soft drinks throughout matchday
- Announcement in the matchday programme
- Complimentary personalised official matchday programme each guest
Arsenal Hero Experience – Sample Menu
- Brixham crab, saffron mayonnaise, toasted sourdough, fine herb salad
- Open salt beef bagel, sauerkraut, gherkin & Frenchies
- Potato & spinach rosti, wild mushroom, lovage pesto (ve)
- Maple curd bacon loin, Cumberland sausage, scrambled egg, button mushrooms, confit tomato, beans, fried bread
- Smoked salmon, toasted muffin, poached egg, hollandaise
- Black beans, butter beans, sun-blushed tomatoes & avocado on toast, wild rocket (ve)
- Trio of chocolate, marshmallows, chocolate shards & berries (v)
- Apple tarte tatin, apple & whisky compote, crème Anglaise (v)
- Freshly brewed fair trade coffee & speciality teas (v)
- Artisan British cheeses, crackers, grapes, Tiptree fruit chutney (v)
- Mini chicken Caesar burger, parmesan
- Mini mock chicken burger, parmesan (ve)
Note: (v) indicates a vegetarian option.