After the BBC’s recent ‘Price of Football’ survey, LS Sport‘s Euan Cunningham shares his thoughts…
About a year ago I was travelling back from a match. The team I have a season ticket with had played appallingly and deservedly lost 2-0. Coming back on an overcrowded bus after a walk through driving rain and looking forward to work the next day, suddenly ₤30 seemed far too much to be spending on an afternoon watching the football.
My season ticket is for Reading FC. Having experienced the joys and sheer ecstasy of promotion, I can say that the cost of the season ticket, (and indeed all the other costs that seem to mount up for a fan) were the last things on my mind.
The BBC published a statistical report last week that looked into the price of everything to do with a football match, from tickets themselves to the vast array of club merchandise that can now be purchased.
Looking at it from a pragmatic point of view, it is understandable that supporters from clubs who have either finished trophyless and mid-table or experienced the heartache of relegation will feel that prices have become out of control, and that their loyalty is being manipulated instead of rewarded.
The same feeling applies for clubs who have recently being promoted, as their season ticket prices are usually hiked; as they realise people will continue to buy them-now more than ever! Price of tickets can also seem extortionate until one takes into account location; London teams (in particular Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea) will always have season tickets that are more expensive than most around the country, and will therefore have to charge more expensive prices for food and drink as well. This in turn affects away fans; they will have to be prepared to spend up to ₤80 on a day supporting their team away from home.
Likewise, fans who have supported their team for many years will feel extorted, and that prices have risen unnecessarily since they first started going to football matches. Even on a small time-scale, prices have risen significantly; the average cost of the cheapest adult ticket in the Football League has risen by 11.7% – more than five times the rate of inflation.
Prices of food and drink have also risen, with a cup of tea added to a pie likely to set you back at least ₤4.50 for most Premiership and Championship clubs. Another damning statistic comes with a look at the cheapest possible day out-the cost of a cheap ticket, added to a meal deal and programme.
Last year, 12 of 92 Football League Clubs offered a possible day out for less than ₤20. Now, it is just two. Pies and Tea are also relatively expensive, with both Manchester City and United charging ₤2.50 for a cuppa’.
To conclude, although we might moan and grumble that football is becoming horribly expensive, and that our clubs are mercilessly exploiting our loyalty, the truth is this doesn’t seem to matter so much after 3 points. At the end of the day, it’s the win that counts.