The Premier League is, as Thierry Henry points out, the best league in the world. There has been a steady climb in prices over the years, and that trend has continued into the current season.
Football has become a pretty expensive business whether you are a chairman trying to attract the best players, or a fan heading to a stadium regularly. Let us take a look at some of the facts.
The cheapest tickets
The cheapest tickets have on average risen by just over 6 ½% to £30.68 this year. This means it is harder for those on a budget to get to a game. The season ticket average low has also risen, this time by 1% to just short of £515. The cheapest tickets overall are at Leicester City where some games are offered at just £22.
The most expensive tickets
There has been a slight dip in the most expensive match day price average to £56.63. The average season ticket has risen by 1% to £886.21. Tickets are starting to approach £100 at some clubs, with the most expensive at £97 at the Emirates Stadium. Indeed, Arsenal season tickets can cost over £2000, even though Arsene Wenger insists that the Arsenal board are trying to make tickets more affordable.
Shirts, pies and paraphernalia
Replica shirts have gone up this year too and are now on average just shy of £50. Manchester United shirt is the most expensive at £60. Most teams are also releasing new shirts more regularly making it even more expensive for football fans to stay current. Even a junior shirts could set you back £45 at Old Trafford. The cheapest shirt available in the Premier league for adults is at Bournemouth at £40 and the cheapest child shirt is £28 at Norwich.
If you feel peckish at the game, and let’s face it we will do, pies have gone up by almost 2% on average to £3.35. A cup of tea will set you back a whopping £2.10. A program for match day costs £3.42. Do you remember when a match day programme was 50p? Oh how things have changed!
More and more people are forced to stay at home and listen to the game on the radio whilst playing on online bingo sites like cheersbingo.com. That has nothing against bingo; it is a great game. But is it not time that football fans got a better deal in the stadium? The reality is that even with these prices very few clubs make a profit. Footballers are being paid astronomical amounts to kick a football around. Clubs don’t seem to be able to understand the transfer market. Brendan Roger’s transfer activities are a case in point. Now Manchester United are looking to “change their transfer strategy”. It is probably only when proper wage caps are imposed, like they are in many US sports, that clubs will be able to stop trying to squeeze out every penny they can to stay within the thief fair play regulations.
It seems at the moment that there is an artificial bubble in football. Nicola Cortese, when he left Southampton football club, was very critical of the financial regulations in football, stating that they reward the big clubs. Although Southampton have done incredibly well in their transfer dealings their stadium capacity of 32,000, and a modest fan base, does not allow them to make true marquee signings. This is despite being backed by the third richest owners in the Premier league in the Liebherr family. The financial system really does not seem to promote stability as much as it maintains the status quo.
Some industry commentators are quick to point out that not everything has gone up, and Premier league clubs are striving to control prices. This may be true with well over 50 Premier league tickets remaining the same price or going down rather than up this year. The overall picture though is one of football becoming more expensive and less accessible for those on a budget,
The Premier league is so good! Every game is a battle and there are no easy games. This is part of what makes the competition so strong. Anyone can beat anyone on a given day. This year has seen stadiums on average 96% full. That is a stunning statistic considering the state of pricing. It just goes to show how much we love our football, and that we are willing to pay for it.