Why a 16 team league would cost Rangers £4.5m a year
However, I think this would be a nightmare for the game financially, in particular Rangers, and would in the longer term see less competition, less people attending, less interest in the game and most importantly in the current climate less money. It will be the start of a vicious circle which will see Scottish Football descend to the level of the Irish and Welsh league. Season ticket prices would have to decrease and overall sales would fall drastically, reducing turnover which would mean even bigger cuts than we have seen in the past 2 years.
The table below shows a breakdown of how much it costs to go to Ibrox on a game by game basis for each of the different proposals:
The cheapest season ticket at Ibrox costs £425 so it is reasonable to say that purchasing a season ticket can save most punters £60 a year on league games. The savings will increase when Champions League/Cup discounts are included so a maximum of £100 could be saved by purchasing a season ticket at the start of the season.
If we were to change to a 16 team league the makeup of the above table changes dramatically:
Using the same logic as above there is a £112.50 decrease in value for money. It is reasonable to expect Rangers to then make the minimum season ticket price for a 16 team league at approximately £315.
A quick comparison of all 4 proposed league formats shows why the SPL have gone for the 12 team league but also highlights why the 16 team format would be the worst of the 4 proposed options.
At 40,000 season ticket holders a year this would translate as a cost to Rangers of £4.5m. The 2009 Report had our turnover at £40m so in a year with no Champions League football a 16 team league would immediately lead to an 11% drop in Rangers total income which would surely see our playing squad deplete in quality/quantity. This equals a drop of £86k a week which on current wages would mean our first team squad size would have to immediately decrease by 4.
Not only would it have a huge financial impact, the lack of competitive games against the teams at the top of the league (only one Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts etc.) would see the demand decrease so the 40k season ticket holders may soon become 30k or even less.
So next time any fans of the diddy teams in Scotland puts a 16 team proposal forward, or any Rangers fan who hasn't thought it through, remember it'd immediately cost our club £4.5m a year, or 4 first team players wages if you prefer. That's not even taking into account the longer term problems of lack of competition and less from commercial and broadcasting activities which we can't even begin to predict.