FA Says Ticket Prices ‘Misrepresented’ By BBC

Emirates Stadium

A study by the BBC claims the cheapest matchday price in the English Premier League has now passed £30. However, the Football Association says that much of the information in the BBC’s The Price of Football 2015/16 is misleading. Let’s look at the facts.

Destroying fan culture?

North London giants Arsenal are notorious for offering the most expensive match day tickets in the English top flight. It cost Bayern Munich supporters £74 to watch their team play Arsenal in the Champion’s League at the Emirates on October 20th.

This raised the ire of many German fans, who pay only £104 for a season ticket at the Allianz Arena. As a result, they boycotted the Emirates for the first five minutes of Arsenal-Bayern match in protest.

Gunners’ fans aren’t happy either, having recently taken part in the ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign, which aimed to convince EPL clubs to cap the price of away tickets at £20. This is perhaps unsurprising given that the most expensive season ticket at the Emirates costs fans £2,013, while the cheapest costs £1,014!

Low-end prices still rising

It is clear that some lower income families are being priced out of the game, with average matchday prices of £30 being out of reach for many people. In fact, fans of a number of clubs here have experienced a price rise, including West Ham (20%), Manchester United (14%) and Everton (6%).

Did the BBC misrepresent ticket prices?

The FA disputed the BBC’s claim that ticket prices are too expensive, with a statement saying that English top-flight clubs are ‘doing a good job’ of keeping grounds full, with ‘record occupancy at 96%’.

The FA’s statement goes on to say that 70% of tickets available are cheaper than – or the same as – last season. In fact, 70.15% of the 700+ tickets analysed in the study have had their prices frozen or reduced. To be more precise, 18.24% of tickets were reduced, while 51.91% remain the same.

Stoke City offer matchday tickets starting from £25 and its season tickets are the most reasonable in the top flight, priced at £275. Perhaps the £3 million deal they signed with Bet365 has allowed the club to lower prices. After all, the online betting site is well-known for its great offers through third-party sites like FreeBetOffers.co.uk. With this in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that the club it chooses to sponsor has a similar ethos as it strives to offer great deals on ticket prices.

The FA’s statement continues by saying that the BBC’s focus on single match day tickets is ‘misleading’, and points to the fact that the vast majority of those attending matches are season ticket holders.

In response to the BBC study, the Arsenal board justified the cost of the club’s matchday tickets. At a recent AGM, Gunners chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, said that ticket prices had in fact risen ‘below the rate of inflation and wages’.

Various players and pundits have also waded into the debate, with Joey Barton suggesting clubs should subsidise ticket prices for local fans. Whether or not the top clubs will bow to the pressure and bring ticket prices down dramatically remains to be seen.

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