“Football with out fans is nothing,” goes the quote from the legendary Celtic manager Jock Stein. Few would argue with him. Anyone who had the misfortune to take a seat by way of England’s recent zero-zero draw with Croatia might be acutely aware of this: the game was performed behind closed doors on account of sanctions in opposition to Croatian fans and thus possessed an atmosphere more akin to a morgue than to a serious sporting event.
While the significance of football fans to the game is apparent, it may not really be that relevant to the clubs themselves. Despite the platitudes handed out by managers, gamers and administrator, the financial impact of supporters passing via turnstiles, shopping for merchandise and meals and generally being present at the occasion is ever-lowering as television cash turns into the motive force behind income. It begs the query of whether fans are literally necessary in any respect for clubs to make money. Based on 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 prices have grown exponentially for fans, and even factoring in varied price freezes put in place across the leagues and caps on the cost of away supporter tickets. MyVoucherCodes helpfully compiled the data on this compared season ticket costs and single ticket costs across Europe’s five biggest leagues, with the (admittedly pretty apparent) outcomes that the UK is by far the most expensive place to watch football.
A mean season ticket is £516 and an average single match £28.50, far outstripping say, the German Bundesliga, which averages £159 for a season and £13 per game. Bayern Munich, who recurrently sell out their Allianz Area 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 got to be for everybody. That’s the most important distinction between us and England.” This isn’t limited to the top leagues, both: the most cost effective common season ticket in the complete English league system, at Charlton Athletic, is still more expensive than watching Bayern Munich or Barcelona.
The larger question about who football is for has been executed to demise, and the answer that the majority 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 in opposition to the typical weekly wage of somebody in London, finding that in 1960, tickets at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge value 1% of the common weekly wage, which rose to virtually three% by 1990 and in 2010 stood at 10%.
While clubs have implemented a league-vast £30 price cap for away fans, there are no limits to what they’ll cost their very own supporters.
“My residence season ticket prices £880 for 19 Premier League games,” says Tim of the costs immediately at Chelsea. “I’m additionally an away season-ticket holder and the 19 away tickets price me £560 (the £30 value cap is useful right here), plus Southampton give an additional £10 off as part of their sponsorship take care of Virgin Media. So PL compare liverpool tickets value £1,440 a season.”
“I reckon my away journey probably costs round £900 p.a., which assumes no overnight stops. Chelsea do run subsidized £10 coaches to all away games outside London and £10 trains when there isn’t a suitable service train, though the provision of these will depend on the not-very-useful train companies. My travel to house games is free as I’m over 60, in any other case it would most likely value round £250.”
If the core constituency of the English game is not the working class, then it begs the query of who it’s for. The reply to that’s, evidently, the TV audiences at dwelling, who fund the majority of the sport through Pay TV subscriptions and the advertising revenue derived from the flexibility to market directly to them. This is replicated in club finances across virtually all levels: Manchester United derive 20% of their revenue from matchday income – a summation of ticket costs, hospitality and meals/beverage – while round twice that comes from TV and yet more from industrial deals.