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A stream of consciousness

Thursday, 12th of September 2013

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The price still isn't right

Figures collated in a study by BBC Sport show that the average price of a ticket to watch football in the Premier and Football Leagues has fallen by up to 2.4 per cent.

It’s not a lot, but it is a step in the right direction for supporters who have increasingly been forced to dig deep to watch their team.

The previous year’s study showed that the average price for the cheapest ticket in English football had risen by 11 per cent.
So, fans are still behind the game compared with any likely rise in their wages.

And it’s a situation clubs must continue to address in a positive fashion if the drop in attendances (an average of five per cent) felt by Football League clubs from 2011/12 to 2012/13 isn’t to continue.
Over the same period Premier League attendances were up and season ticket sales hit a record high.

But fans in the top flight are now being asked to pay, on average, an extra 4.3 per cent for the cheapest season tickets, according to the Beeb, and while the appetite - and market - still appears to be there for the biggest games, there must surely come a tipping point.

And already clubs at Championship level and below are feeling the pinch in terms of punters still willing and able to pay to watch.
Put bluntly (and there are honourable exceptions*), going to live football costs too much.

And with ever-increasing competition for people’s leisure time, football can no longer rely on blind loyalty when it comes to giving value for money.

The straight-forward answer is to cut costs by reducing players’ wages and passing on the savings to fans.

But with that unlikely to happen any time soon, clubs need imaginative marketing and positive PR to increase other revenue streams and check prices and keep the fans coming.

That’s easier said than done, of course.

But clubs need to stay connected with their supporters, remain part of the community and, most crucially of all, produce a pricing structure that works.

* BBC’s study shows that match-day tickets are available at Championship club Huddersfield Town from as little as £10.


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