With a record Â£3 billion spent on television rights by BT Sport and Sky collectively, Premier League clubs have reaped the benefits of a Â£14 million windfall to add to their already bulging pockets. Despite this, a study by the BBC has discovered that the cheapest season ticket prices in the Premier League have, on average, risen by over 4%.
The ‘Price of Football’ report, compiled by the BBC, found that prices had seen an average increase of Â£12.16 compared with last season. Arsenal top the list, their most expensive season ticket (including 7 European or FA Cup ties) costs Â£1,995, along with the North London side offering the costliest match day ticket, at a staggering Â£126. Tottenham and Chelsea are the only other teams to charge upwards of Â£1000 per season ticket, further compensating their substantial outlay in the transfer market. Liverpool were the only team to reduce both season ticket and match day prices for the 2013 – 2014 season.
Surprisingly, Manchester City currently offer the league’s cheapest season tickets. At Â£299 they are the only club with a tariff under Â£300. Meanwhile all three newly promoted sides have either frozen or reduced prices, with Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish stating his wish for football to be ‘more accessible’ to ‘true Crystal Palace fans’.
Although some clubs are showing promising signs of putting fans before funds, there is significant progress still to be made to match the commitment from the German league’s pricing policy which, even for the most judicious of fans, is commendable. Bayern Munich, arguably one of the finest teams in Europe at the present time, charge just Â£104 for a season ticket, Â£22 cheaper than the most expensive single match ticket at Arsenal.
Many feel as a result of these season ticket costs, a large proportion of fans are in danger of being effectively priced out of supporting their clubs.
Having said this, it appears that the lure of the Premier League remains as strong as ever, with attendances showing a 4% increase in 2012/13 and record breaking overall season ticket sales of 476,776.
In the Championship, Huddersfield offered the most affordable match day experience for a second year in succession. Only League One’s Sheffield United offer a cheaper match day than the Terriers. In League Two, Accrington Stanley can boast the cheapest match day alongside Derby, Sheffield United and Huddersfield as a group of only 4 clubs in the Football League to provide their ‘day out’ for under Â£20.
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By Daniel Draper, Sports Lawyer in Manchester