The new football season is upon us and while enjoying the thrills of a matchday is a fantastic experience, the rising cost of doing so is putting great pressure on the wallets of fans around the country.
The links between football and money have been well documented for years. Clubs are spending millions on players and wages whilst fans are forking out more and more for the privilege to see these players in action.
The Price of Football survey by BBC revealed what each club charges for crucial matchday components including the ticket (non season ticket holder), programme, a pie and a cup of tea. Whilst not all fans would indulge in all of these on one day, the added cost that some clubs are charging fans is worrying.
The survey was taken across the leagues and so some difference between a top Premier League team’s prices and that of a League Two side would be expected. But in the top tier it is hard to explain how Blackburn can provide a single ticket for £10 (their cheapest option) when Arsenal’s most expensive reaches a staggering £100. It is this disparity (with clubs like Blackburn unable to compete with the top teams on the pitch or financially) and high prices that are not only hitting the clubs but the fans as well.
Beyond the tickets fans are being forced to pay out up to £4 for a programme (at Leeds), £4 for a pie (at Arsenal) and often over £2 for a single cup of tea. Paying nearly £50 for a day out at the football per person is hindering supporters, families and fans of the future. In the Premier League Swansea and QPR are rewarding their fans for promotion with high prices, both now charge just under £43 for their cheapest day out (figures only surpassed by Liverpool and Arsenal).
But do spiraling prices put loyal fans off going to the football? For the fan looking for a one-off day out with their family, a cost reaching nearly £200 for four people is an obvious deterrent. But last season an average of 352,260 fans attended Football League fixtures each weekend with a total of over 16 million fans enjoying Football League games over the whole season. The popularity of the game is not decreasing and whilst fans can bemoan the extra charges that clubs are making, it is the high demand for football that continues to fuel the large amounts of money seeping through the game.
The survey published this week has also been met with club’s disapproval despite the fact that each club submitted the data. The results highlighted that Leyton Orient were the most expensive day out in League One. However the club has since commented that the results don’t highlight all the good value matchday options. The costs of football are also more likely to affect the regular rather than one-off attendee and many of these take advantage of very good season ticket offers that many clubs offer.
Whilst the results for clubs like Leyton Orient may look worrying for the interested fan keen on watching the occasional match, rising prices are widespread and unlikely to put off the loyal supporter intent on supporting their team throughout the new season.
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