Is it time for top-flight clubs to finally lower ticket prices instead of prioritising profit?’
Gone are the days where you could walk round to your local football club to watch an afternoon match, just for something different to do, pay a few quid, buy a plate of hot chips and stand watching your team wrapped up in a team scarf. Then again footballers are paid more and regulations have changed; time moves on but passion for a team and love of the beautiful game certainly does not. That is why fans are up in arms; we’ve finally stood back and realised that we are paying a lot of money to see a team that we invest a lot more than just money into.
It is commonly known that an Arsenal season ticket is the most expensive in the premier league at a staggering £2,013 but they also have the most expensive match day tickets too at £97, followed closely by West Ham at £95 and Chelsea at £87. With prices like these it is no wonder that popularity for the sport has seen a slight decline and allegations of corruption on an incline. At the other end of the scale, Leicester, still dominating the Premier League in the top spot, sells their match day tickets at a reasonable price of £22 – the cheapest in the league – followed by Crystal Palace and Aston Villa at £23. Leicester beats even the newcomers to the league: Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich.
But why does Arsenal get to charge extortionate amounts of money for one measly match and Leicester, who are number one in the league, charge considerably less? The problem is that the Premier League has turned into a market and the clubs are the brands, prestige and market dominance are what’s important and Leicester is relatively new to the top spot and so hasn’t been tainted yet – long may they remain so. Leicester has retained the spirit of the game, keeping supporters at the centre of its focus. Even Cameron thinks prices are too high: “Clubs need to ensure that their ticket policies provide the right balance between value for supporters and generating the income necessary to sustain their businesses.”
Fans aren’t taking the hike in prices sitting down. In February, thousands of fans left 77 minutes into a game after owners announced that Liverpool, a team whose motto and iconic chant are the epitome of the beautiful game, would be hiking its dearest match day ticket price up to £77. The fans won and the price will stay at £59. But it’s not just the premier league, even in the Championship some ticket prices seem far too high for what you’re paying for. At my local club, Ipswich, you are paying a match day ticket price of £62.50 for premium seating at a grade A match and even at a grade C match sitting in the cheap seats you are still paying £23.50 – still more than Leicester.
My word of advice to football clubs is to get back to basics. What is a club without its supporters? The increasing brand culture of the Premier League is not sustainable, especially with the rise in popularity of rugby, a game with less corruption, reasonable prices and more respect – both on the pitch from players to referees, and off the pitch too. Football… take the hint!