During the football season, an average of over one million people attend football matches across England’s top four divisions and in Scotland’s Premiership combined every week.
However, clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and more each have an individual following of more than over 50 million via their official social media channels.
Clubs like these are huge global franchise and large percentages of supporters of these clubs have probably never even watched their team play in the flesh.
In many cases, one of the main reasons that fans do not get to see their beloved side play on a regular basis is due to the astronomical ticket prices.
For example, football tickets in England’s Premier League can cost as much as £95.50 each just to watch one Arsenal game and for that amount outside of the UK, you could have watch reigning French top-flight champions Paris Saint-Germain play ten league matches during the 2017/18 campaign and have £6.50 in change.
The price of tickets in all four of England’s professional leagues is rather scandalous, but not all clubs in the league fit the money-grabbing stereotype being branded towards themselves.
Huddersfield Town for example have set the bar impeccably high when it comes to providing affordable ticket prices for their fans.
After gaining promotion in the Premier League at the start of the 2017/18 season, for the first time since the league’s inception in 1992, Huddersfield rewarded their fans’ loyalty by charging their maximum season ticket prices for adults at just £299, but the majority of which were sold for only £199, working out at £10.47 to watch each of the Terries’ home matches. They even sold some season cards for just £100, just £4.50 more than some individual tickets at Arsenal and cheaper than season tickets for 20 of the 22 clubs in the National League, England’s fifth division.
However, the same cannot be said for the rest of the league, with the cheapest season tickets starting at £299 at Manchester City, and rising in excess of £1,600 with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The average ticket price for a home game across the division was priced at £29.30 last season, for the cheapest possible matchday ticket, but the league is slowly taking steps towards making football more affordable for supporters.
In 2016, the Premier League introduced a price cap on away tickets for all supporters, meaning that clubs were not allowed to charge more than £30 for their fans to attend away fixtures.
This has lead to an average price reduction in top-flight tickets for away supporters. Not only do all 20 clubs adhere to this, but teams such as Southampton only charge £20 or less for all travelling away supporters visiting St Mary’s Stadium.
The average cost for the most expensive away ticket in the Premier League is £29.50, £2.11 cheaper than the most expensive average away ticket in the Sky Bet Championship.
Travelling fans not only have to suffer with more expensive away tickets on average if they follow a second-tier club, but supporters in Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two are being forced to fork out an average of £23.81 and £22 respectively to follow their sides away from home. There is not a huge price difference on average between League Two and the top-tier’s away ticket pricing. Paying £2 less to watch away games at Southampton than it is to watch away games at Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty Road is preposterous.
Clubs from lower tiers are finding it hard to be able to offer such cheap tickets and you cannot really blame them to be honest.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Championship Aston Villa have spent 99% of their revenue in a ‘go for broke’ attempt into gaining promotion back into the Premier League, well over the recommended percentage of revenue spent on wages guideline of 70%. After narrowly missing out on a return to the top-flight, the club are now in serious financial trouble and are more than likely to have to sell the majority of their valuable assets just to remain in business.
The 2016/17 season saw fellow second-tier sides Nottingham Forest, Villa, Derby County, Fulham, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday all make financial losses of over £15 million as part of failed attempts to gain promotion.
It shows how much money is in the Premier League and how revolutionary money can be in the big time.
For clubs in League One and League Two, they are heavily reliant on gate receipts just to stay in business and its incredibly hard for them gamble on reducing ticket prices for a slim chance of increasing their attendances.
When the a large proportion of any clubs’ revenue is being used on both wages and to bring new players to a team, then charging high gate receipts is sometimes the only way of gaining that revenue when there is no TV money to fall back on.
The Premier League’s cap on away tickets is a step in the right direction into taking football back to the way it should be, for the fans. Its an entertainment sport after all and if prices don’t start to come down in the next few years, it won’t be too long before certain teams have no one in attendance to entertain.
With Premier League clubs making millions yearly from television revenue, global exposure and more, surely, they wouldn’t lose too much money by knocking a few quid off their ticket prices.
The number of children growing up without the ability to say that they’ve witnessed their team play in person is rather upsetting and it needs to change.
A staggering 13 out of 20 clubs in England’s top-tier charged £50 or more for regular seats at league matches every week. Even if a law or campaign was introduced just to eradicate this, football will slowly go back to the way it was supposed to be.