Kevin Baxter had an important report on Los Angeles Football Club’s ticket prices on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times. In recent weeks, word has been percolating from supporters who hold “memberships” with the club, which are two-year season tickets, that their monthly payments suddenly shot up, in some cases more than 50 percent.
While the price increases have not taken place across the board, LAFC fully own up to the jacked-up prices and team president and co-owner Tom Penn has a pretty remarkable response to why they’ve taken this measure.
“We made an adjustment based on the fact some of the tickets were just mistakenly, woefully underpriced,” said Penn. “We’ve been in a long dialogue with all of our membership and had conversations with them that have been healthy and positive. And they seemed to understand in general.”
However, Baxter finds three supporters who go on the record to state they were not, in fact, consulted about the price hike. It must be noted that all three said they would swallow the hike and keep their seats.
Given the fact that LAFC structure their membership differently than traditional season tickets — and they required a two-year commitment out the door — means the price hike is being sold as something for the 2019 season. But that doesn’t really make a ton of sense in that we are still in the middle of the 2018 season. As one person noted in Baxter’s report, “We’ve been paying for like a year and we’ve only had four months’ worth of games. And then all of a sudden, in July, we’re renewing at a new price.”
On some level, we knew this was coming at some point. After all, a brand-new stadium, training center, start-up costs and filling out a roster just don’t pay for themselves, even if your ownership group rolls 30 deep. Also, we all know it’s a business and team owners are well within their rights to raise prices whenever and however much they want. On top of that, they know they are most likely going to find people willing to pay the raised prices, if the original members decide to pass on massive hikes. Only if demand crashes will there be an adjustment in the other direction, and that wouldn’t happen immediately.
But it is worth noting the dynamic on display here, where wealthier fans are gaining ascendance over those of more modest means. Again, in a capitalist system, that is no surprise whatsoever. But LAFC should probably be wary of pricing out a significant segment of Los Angeles, the city they claim to represent, lest those fans decide they want no part of the club — it could be a very costly decision in the long run.
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