Even though we’re wrapped in the coils of the transfer market right now, there’s plenty of other, more real stuff going on. Serie A released next year’s schedule, leading to some consternation about matchweeks 26-31. Still, it’s a nice reminder that, at the other end of all these whirling rumors is a whole new season of Fiorentina. What keeps us going through these bleak summer months is the joyful/terrified anticipation of seeing those purple shirts trot out across the award-winning grass in front of the bouncing Curva Fiesole at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Except, of course, that last part might not look quite the same in 2023-2024, because ticket prices to see Fiorentina will increase by 25%, which is quite a leap. Many fans are, not surprisingly, upset with the club, with ATF president Federico de Sinopoli already condemning the decision. Although Joe Barone announced at the Conference League final that prices would indeed rise, nobody anticipated that 25% hike. The club briefly published information on ticket pries on its website but deleted it after the outcry. FiorentinaNews, however, grabbed a screenshot of the new prices before the information was removed.
Part of the issue is that Fiorentina will no longer cover the fees charged by VivaTicket, the company that handles electronic ticket sales; the Viola were one of a very few clubs in Italy to pick up that cost for supporters. Even so, the price increases are substantial: last year’s season pass for a spot in the Curva Fiesole was €190, while the cheapest option this year is €239. Again, that’s all based on FiorentinaNews’ screenshot, as the website, at time of publication, wasn’t in operation.
Adding to the confusion is the new two-tiered system, offering either Easy or Pro options. I’m not completely sure what the difference between them is, but from what I can gather, Easy is cheaper and only allows a couple of ticket-swap options, while Pro is more expensive and offers more flexibility to swap tickets.
The ticket-swapping issue is one that’s extremely important to local fans (i.e. the ones who actually fill up the stands), as families and friend groups frequently purchase tickets collectively and take turns attending matches. As de Sinopoli mentions in the interview, this measure will particularly affect fans who live outside the city proper, who often schedule outings to Florence that coincide with Fiorentina games, as traveling makes attending on a weekly basis impractical.
Lost in the shuffle is the fact that the entire Curva Ferrovia—traditionally the cheapest seats in the Franchi—and a section of the Tributa Maratona have also been closed to season ticket purchases. The club hasn’t offered an explanation yet, although it could be an effort to concentrate fans in the prime seats rather than leave them scattered throughout the arena.
This price increase comes as a real slap in the face of fans who’ve turned the Franchi into one of Italy’s most vibrant stadia over the past few years. Hiking the prices this much for a team that won’t even play in Europe this year feels excessive, especially in a nation with a lagging economy that’s seen inflation sap the purchasing power of middle- and working-class people (again, that’s the fans).
Spettacolo della Curva Fiesole a Roma, la coreografia della Fiorentina pic.twitter.com/3N6EGariES— Passione Fiorentina (@PassioneFiorent) May 24, 2023
Looming over this price increase too is the specter of the Franchi itself. The stadium, as we’ve written about many times in the past, is a mess, and all of Rocco Commisso’s efforts to refurbish it or replace it have been blocked by the local government. The club is expecting fans to shell out more money to sit in a stadium that’s literally falling apart, and many of those fans are clearly not happy about it.
How that unhappiness manifests itself is the real question. It’s too early to know if these increased prices will dissuade supporters from paying for tickets, leading to a loss of revenue for the club that it can ill afford without European competition, but unless Fiorentina is planning to reduce these prices (possible, given the hasty shutdown of the initial online sale), expect to see a lot of empty seats in the Curva Fiesole against Lecce come 27 August, and a lot of angry Viola fans protesting outside the stadium.
UPDATE: Duccio Zambelli informs me that the difference between the Easy and Pro options is that the former doesn’t allow any sharing, while the latter allows a limited amount.