Arsenal have this afternoon announced that they will implement a scheme of credits/refunds for the games that will be played behind closed doors when the Premier League season resumes.
In a statement on the official website, they express sadness that the rest of this campaign will be played without fans – but of course everyone understands why that is the case.
In relation to tickets, the statement reads:
Supporters will be entitled to a credit or refund for any match tickets or hospitality they have already purchased for future behind-closed doors matches in the 2019/20 season. Whether as part of a season ticket or for an individual match, supporters will be offered a credit for next season or a refund. This behind-closed doors credit will be in addition to the two unused cup credits already due to general admission season ticket holders.
The process to credit/refund supporters who have purchased match tickets and or hospitality for these fixtures will begin immediately. Full details and timings will be communicated directly to fans.
Information regarding season ticket and membership renewals for next season will be updated as soon as we have more clarity on future possible timings of the 2020/21 season.
It’s estimated that this hit in revenue to the club amounts to something in the region of £12m, with season ticket holders first being offered credits for their renewal.
The email to season ticket holders states:
We understand that some supporters may wish to receive money rather than credits towards their Season 2020/21 membership renewal. Therefore, we will be enabling our Cashback service; this service will be available from 10am on Monday 1st June and will close at 10am on Wednesday 10th June. Once the service is available you will need to log into the Online Box Office via your Ticket Exchange account to request a withdrawal of available funds.
Refunds will be offered for matchday tickets which have already been purchased. Quite how much the club will have to pay out will depend on how many go down the credits route, and how many – perhaps because of the current crisis – would prefer to have cash back. There are also deposits paid for Club Level tickets next season which need to be dealt with.
Under normal circumstances, season ticket renewals would bring in circa £60-70m around this time of year, money that club won’t now generate and which is vital to keep things going during the off-season. Although there is cash in reserve, some of that is earmarked for stadium debt, and the monthly outgoings of around £28m have to be serviced.
If, as expected, there are to be refunds paid to broadcasters (even though games are going to be played) – which could amount to £15-20m per club – it would place the club under even more financial strain.
Whether we see any immediate cost-cutting measures from KSE remain to be seen, and it will be interesting to see if we hear from the owners about their plans to cope with such a massive, unexpected financial hit.