English Premier League club Arsenal has announced significant changes to season tickets for men's matches at Emirates Stadium next season.
The club is set to reduce the number of home matches included in a season ticket from 26 to 22 matches, following supporter feedback.
As part of the club’s mission to encourage younger supporters to attend matches, Arsenal is also extending its 25% discount on season tickets and match-by-match tickets currently offered to people up to the age of 21, to the age of 24.
This means that for next season, a season ticket will include all 19 Premier League and three European group-stage matches, subject to qualification. In previous seasons, the 26-match season ticket covered all Premier League home games, five European matches and two home Emirates FA Cup fixtures.
Removing the four matches from the season ticket will also free up 150,000 tickets for members.
Further changes include an average 5% increase on general admission season ticket prices for next season. Prices in the lower tier will increase by 6% and 4% in the upper tier, and the price increase will be the same for all match-by-match tickets. Club Level prices will also increase by an average 5%.
Arsenal is also attempting to crack down on bot traffic and touts as some members have found it difficult to secure tickets.
The club added that it is also experiencing unprecedented levels of demand for tickets.
“We are working extensively to address these issues and clamp down on this illegal activity,” a statement said.
Arsenal said that it has increased its efforts in dealing with suspicious online activity, including banning users immediately if there is sufficient proof of illegal behaviour. The club said that it would also hold tickets for collection – where the purchaser will need to produce ID to collect them – if the tickets have been purchased in a suspicious manner.
If the suspect is a season ticket holder, the stadium management team will carry out seat checks to ensure the correct person is using the ticket.
The statement added: “In recent months, we have been sending more Arsenal ticketing staff to away games to carry out a greater number of enforced collections of tickets where we suspect suspicious behaviour. These supporters are required to show their ID to collect tickets.”
Arsenal is also working on developing new technology to block email addresses or payment cards once they have been associated with an account that has previously been blocked for touting activity. Technology has also been improved to require supporters to prove they are not bots.
“The technological enhancements we’ve implemented have already resulted in the blocking of over 25,000 IP addresses for suspicious activity each time we’ve gone on sale to members in recent weeks. We expect the security improvements will enable us to identify more misused memberships which would add to the thousands of members we have already banned for ticket touting,” the club said.
Arsenal also operates the Arsenal Ticket Exchange, which is a platform that enables members to exchange and acquire tickets safely.
The club added: “We’ll continue our work to combat the illegal sale of match tickets and share best practices on combating bots and touts with other football clubs. We reiterate, any Arsenal member found to be touting will have their membership cancelled.”