There is a common saying in football that you pay the price for failure but it appears in the case of QPR’s it will be their fans that will be paying the price for their recent success.
When on QPR finally celebrated promotion to the Premier League on 20 April, they probably knew with their new found Barclays Premier League status would come with an increase in prices for the new season.
However I doubt if any of them expected a massive 40 per cent price hike on season tickets from last season with the cheapest adult ticket now at £47 and the most expensive season tickets have increased from £699 to £999.
So despite the club benefiting for a £90 million windfall after being promoted, the owners have still decide to put the prices up and in doing so are helping to take the game away from the real fans who can hardly afford these inflated prices.
A major problem is that despite the increase, QPR’s home Loftus Road will be sold out for nearly every game next season so the owners can rightly charge as much as they feel it is worth.
When the 20th campaign of the top flight starts in August, fans will still turn up and most games will sell out. People can complain about the shocking admission charges, rip off kit prices but they will still turn up every week and buy the new kit, it all part of loving a football club.
The best example of this is in the recent UEFA Champions League final held at a sold-out Wembley where UEFA and the FA agreed to outrageous overinflated prices where the cheapest ticket was £80 and the most expensive £300. But it still easily sold out and probably would have a few times over even with the high price to pay. Simple Keynesian economics explains that as the product demand increases so will its price and this seems to be the situation in football.
Back in 1992 when the format of the Premier League was introduced it was thought that the wealth and power it would create could be used for the benefit of the entire game from the top level to the grassroots as well as making the sport more affordable in the future.
They could not have been more wrong. Vast sums of money that should of been re-invested back into the game is now disappearing to pay for luxury items, super injunctions and the lavish lifestyle that footballers live, instead of being passed down the football pyramid.
At the top level of the game there will be a 6.5 per cent rise at the Emirates for next season, tickets at Stamford Bridge will start at £46 with the cheapest season ticket at £59 and away fans still have to pay £50 at Old Trafford but did you know an adult also has to fork out £17 to see Blue Square Conference side Mansfield Town play?
However there is some light at the end of a very dark tunnel with Premier League side Blackburn offering £225 season tickets where fans can watch top-flight football for less than £12 a game, actually working out cheaper than most Football League teams.
There are also some positives in the Football League where teams are introducing incentives to attract more supporters. Hartlepool United have so far had success with their £100 season ticket scheme with nearly 2000 supporters so far signed up, which could work out as cheap as £4.34 to watch each League One game. In League Two Bradford City fans have been benefiting from cheap £150 season tickets for recent years and despite having their worst season on the pitch for years they still averaged an 11,127 crowd last season. This shows what can be done if fans are fairly charged to watch their side, however it is just not common enough.
As the money in football increases the top clubs are getting richer leaving the lower clubs further behind and the loyal fans are the people who are paying for this discrepancy at all levels of the game. The real price of the huge success of the beautiful game.