Why am I not surprised!
Liverpool’s owners proposed increasing the soccer club’s average ticket price by 8 percent and raising 100 million pounds ($163 million) from investors and loans as pressure built to refinance debt of 290 million pounds.
The team’s U.S. owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks considered selling equity in the 18-time English league champion to pay down their debts with Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Wachovia Corp., according to documents prepared by the club’s bankers and obtained by Bloomberg News. Jonathon Brill, a spokesman for Liverpool’s owners, declined to comment. He confirmed the documents.
Gillett and Hicks paid 50 million pounds in July to get a year’s extension to the debt facility they used to purchase and run the club since their February 2007 takeover. Liverpool owes about 240 million pounds to the banks. Fans of the five-time European champion have criticized the owners for backtracking on a pledge not to raise the club’s debt and delaying work on a new 72,000-seat stadium. Ticket prices stayed the same in the end.
“It would have been a very unpopular move” to increase prices, said Rogan Taylor, director of the Football Industry Group at Liverpool University and a member of a supporter-led group trying to acquire the club. “It looks like they took some wise advice not to do it.”
The proposed hike, which came as the majority of the 20 English Premier League clubs decided to freeze or reduce the price of some tickets for the 2009-2010 season, was one of a number of revenue-boosting plans outlined in the document. Liverpool may convert 1,000 regular seats into corporate seating by July 2011 and establish its own soccer academies. (Bloomberg)
Good to see that even Messrs Hick and Gillett weren’t stupid enough to try and increase ticket prices during a financial downturn as clearly to do so would have only backfired on the club.
Although nothing our owners could do would surprise me I am hopeful that the American pair will either realise that the current method of running the club, i.e. not using any of their own money to do so and instead simply collect any profits made and take them for themselves whilst the club itself pays the interest on the debts the two built up to simply buy the club, will not be sustainable for much longer.
I also hope that the large kit sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered means that a chunk of the revenue made will go to Rafa in January should he choose to bring in new players.