We all know that football has become obscenely expensive as a sport and as a business. With Gareth Bale’s world record transfer fee at £85 million, it seems that there is no end to the ridiculous amount of cash clubs will spend on players, transfers and teams.
As football teams have become much more about the ‘brand’ and, in essence, the marketing, how has this affected the fans?
A family of hardcore Man United fans, for example, might want to fork out for a season ticket, new strips every season and all the rest of the paraphernalia that now seems to come with a sport that was once played by people who had day jobs as well.
So, what is the cost for fans in 2013?
Average ticket prices have actually fallen this year by around 2% – that’s across the top four divisions of the English football league. The study was conducted by the BBC Sport Price of Football study, which looked at the prices of 164 clubs. And, although it sounds like good news, it’s still after many years of incremental rises, making football extremely expensive for the average fan.
Many fans also bet online at sites like www.bookmakers.org.uk or in physical bookmakers and this can also mount up, although using a site like Freebets can ensure that you get the best deal on any betting you do choose to do on your team.
Does this price drop signify better things ahead? Probably yes – it does appear that clubs are at least considering the fact that constantly raising ticket prices isn’t the best thing for fans, and are making moves to begin to adjust their prices.
The same study in 2012 showed that the cheapest ticket to go and see a football match in England had risen by 11% – that’s four times the rate of inflation, to put it into some kind of context.
It seems, this year, that clubs are taking notice of the fact that they have dropped an average 5% in attendances and that the prices are the most likely reason.
The biggest fall for the cheapest season ticket (adult) was from £344.63 in 2012 to £336.23 this year – that’s a 2.4% drop. The drop for the most expensive adults season ticket was 1.6% and the average day ticket has fallen 1.9%, from £21.24 to £20.85.
In Scotland, however, the cheapest match day tickets went up in cost by over 3% so, although English league football appears to be slowly changing, perhaps this isn’t following in Scotland.
The study also found that Arsenal has the most expensive ticket prices and that the cheapest season ticket is at Manchester City (£299). Only one club charges less than a tenner for a match day ticket, and that’s Albion and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most expensive club to get a good old cup of tea is Man United at a rather grand £2.50!