Does The English Premier League Really Want Fans In The Stadium?

“Football with out fans isn’thing,” goes the quote from the legendary Celtic manager Jock Stein. Few would argue with him. Anybody who had the misfortune to sit by England’s latest zero-0 draw with Croatia might be acutely aware of this: the game was played behind closed doorways on account of sanctions towards Croatian fans and thus possessed an environment more akin to a morgue than to a major sporting event.

While the significance of football fans to the game is clear, it won’t truly be that relevant to the clubs themselves. Regardless of the platitudes handed out by managers, players and administrator, the financial impact of supporters passing by turnstiles, buying merchandise and meals and generally being present on the occasion is ever-lowering as tv cash becomes the motive force behind income. It begs the query of whether fans are actually needed in any respect for clubs to make money. In keeping with the balance sheets of half the English Premier League (EPL), they aren’t at all.

The cost of football, and the perceived rise in it, is a constant bugbear for fans. Ticket costs have grown exponentially for fans, and even factoring in numerous value freezes put in place throughout the leagues and caps on the price of away supporter tickets. MyVoucherCodes helpfully compiled the info on this compared season ticket costs and single ticket prices across Europe’s five biggest leagues, with the (admittedly fairly obvious) results that the UK is by far the costliest place to observe football.

An average season ticket is £516 and a mean single match £28.50, far outstripping say, the German Bundesliga, which averages £159 for a season and £13 per game. Bayern Munich, who recurrently promote out their Allianz Arena stadium charge just £one hundred twenty five for a standing season ticket behind the goals. Famously, their club president Uli Hoeneß has stated that FC Bayern “do not think the fans are like cows to be milked. Football has acquired to be for everybody. That is the largest difference between us and England.” This isn’t restricted to the highest leagues, both: the cheapest regular season ticket in your complete English league system, at Charlton Athletic, continues to be more costly than watching Bayern Munich or Barcelona.

The larger question about who football is for has been completed to death, and the answer that almost all have come to is that it is not for the working classes. Chelsea FC blogger Tim Rolls has extensively charted the rising costs at his club against the common weekly wage of someone in London, finding that in 1960, tickets at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge cost 1% of the average weekly wage, which rose to almost 3% by 1990 and in 2010 stood at 10%.

While clubs have carried out a league-extensive £30 price cap for away fans, there are no limits to what they can charge their own supporters.

“My house season ticket costs £880 for 19 Premier League games,” says Tim of the costs as we speak at Chelsea. “I am also an away season-ticket holder and the 19 away compare liverpool tickets price me £560 (the £30 price cap is useful here), plus Southampton give an extra £10 off as a part of their sponsorship cope with Virgin Media. So PL tickets cost £1,440 a season.”

“I reckon my away journey probably prices round £900 p.a., which assumes no in a single day stops. Chelsea do run sponsored £10 coaches to all away games outside London and £10 trains when there is no such thing as a suitable service train, although the supply of those depends on the not-very-helpful train companies. My travel to residence games is free as I am over 60, in any other case it might in all probability cost round £250.”

If the core constituency of the English game is now not the working class, then it begs the query of who it’s for. The reply to that is, evidently, the TV audiences at house, who fund the majority of the sport by way of Pay TV subscriptions and the advertising revenue derived from the ability to market directly to them. This is replicated in club finances throughout nearly all ranges: Manchester United derive 20% of their earnings from matchday revenue – a summation of ticket costs, hospitality and food/beverage – while round twice that comes from TV and yet more from commercial deals.