Good value or the exploitation of Premier League supporters?

There is little doubt that watching Premier League football is proving to be very expensive – which means I have to consider how much value fans are really getting. Is this just simply the price of top level football? Or are fans being exploited?

Well you wouldn’t expect Premier League football to be cheap especially as it is rated by many as the best league in the world – but it needs to be affordable so people can enjoy it. Arguably the most notable prices have occurred at QPR – where the owners seem to be taking full advantage of the club’s promotion to the Premier League. Match tickets next season will range from £47 to an incredible £72 and season ticket prices have been increased by nearly 40% – these price increases are even more significant when you consider that there are less games in the Premier League than in the Championship – so the per game increase is significant.

The top level season tickets will increase from £699 to £999 and the standard season tickets will be £549. There will be 19 Premier League games at Loftus Road next season that means that the standard season ticket price will work out at £29 a game – which to be fair is value for money. Few standard Championship games this season will have prices lower than £29. However, the top level season ticket is a different story and will work out at £52 per game.

Fellow promoted club Norwich City have allowed fans to buy season tickets since the start of this year – although they are currently full and at this time will not be releasing any more. However a large number of fans renewed their season ticket months ago and were able to take advantage of great value for the Premier League. Fans were able to purchase a season ticket for £430 – which means they will be able to enjoy Premier League football for a price of around £23 per game. Norwich City set a new season ticket record by selling 21,883 which is 820 higher than the record that was set last year of 21,063.

However, it seems that this level of loyalty is not consistent across the Premier League as a whole. 28% of Manchester United season ticket holders will not renew and 22% of Arsenal season ticket holders will not renew. However, watching Premier League football with Arsenal proves to be an expensive business with the cheapest tickets costing £951 working out at around £50 per game. In the past year it appears that the cost of Premier League football has increased from £84 to £101 over the past year due to increases in ticket prices, petrol, food costs and rises in prices for programmes and merchandise. (Virgin Money)

So I have looked at the prices at the top end of the Premier League and the newly promoted teams, but what about some of the other teams in the top flight – what sort of prices do they charge? Well one team that seems to be offering a fair deal for fans is Fulham, as hard as it is to believe they have adult season tickets that will be as cheap as £379 for the new season; that works out at around £20 per Premier League game – which really is incredible value for money. I think really this put the QPR price increases totally in perspective and just shows that you can be a London club and still offer a fair deal to fans.

However, the cheapest place to watch Premier League football for the new season appears to be Blackburn Rovers where the cheapest Premier League season ticket will go for just £225 – now that really is incredible value and works out at just under £12 a game.

In the interest of balance I think we need to look at how much the biggest brand in English football charges – Manchester United. Well the cheapest season tickets at Manchester United offer surprising good value for money of £513, which works out at £27 per Premier League game.

So what we can conclude with this relatively brief look at Premier League season tickets is that there is value out there and Premier League clubs offer top level football at reasonable prices. However, there are other clubs that seem to be taking advantage of the support. But whoever you support there is no doubt that Premier League tickets are going be expensive but also hard to come by – so for supporters who plan to attend most home games the season ticket offers the best value.

We know that there is currently a huge amount money in the Premier League – but there is also high levels of debt and we also have financial fair play rules coming being introduced in the near future. So it will be interesting to see what happens to season ticket prices over the coming years. But football clubs also need to keep in mind that it has been and will continue to be tough economic times for all of us and it’s important that we are able to enjoy live football at sensible rates. Now, it’s clear that some Premier League clubs are doing that but others aren’t.

At the top level of the Premier League Arsenal seem to be the club that is taking advantage the most – as they have the most expensive season ticket in the country and their cheapest tickets aren’t what you would consider to be cheap. In some ways this is curious for a club that isn’t usually big spenders in the transfer market and are funded by two billionaires anyway.

However, it’s also important to keep in mind that football is just like any other business and is concerned with making large profits. I suppose there is the sense that if you can fill the stadium every week and make a large amount of money at the same time then why not do it?

In conclusion I just hope that rich owners keep the fans in mind and ensure that this game we love can be afforded. But the pleasing thing that this analysis has concluded is that is possible to see top quality Premier League at very reasonable rates and after some of the news in the media recently – this was a surprising conclusion to me.

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