It goes without saying that the passionate roars of thousands of fans in stadiums across the world create an inspiring atmosphere for players of all teams. Without fans, Football would be lackluster and dull, so why do clubs insist on setting ridiculously high ticket prices when it only destroys the heritage of this prestigious game?
Recently, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium has become known as the ‘Emptihad,’ and United’s Old Trafford fortress has begun to crumble. Atmosphere at the clubs seems to have degraded massively from the olden days of football. But why is this the case?
In England, football is undoubtedly the most recognised sport, and it’s highly financially attractive for Europe’s hottest talent. Player’s such as Harry Kane, Paul Pogba and Sergio Aguero are just some of the world class talent to currently grace the Premier League as well as the world, so surely raising ticket prices in order to see them play would seem reasonable. However, with average ticket prices for Manchester United standing at £950, and £1000 for Manchester City, the likelihood of average fans being able to see their heroes every week is minuscule.
— OpinionPanel (@OpinionPanelEd) January 24, 2018
Originally football was huge among the working class; the majority of fans were of a lower social status. At one stage though, the correlation between football violence and the working class grew increasingly alarming. While these ‘dark days’ of football may have contained a lot more passion out on the terraces, they also created a bad image for the game and as a result, season ticket prices were raised to deter the economically deprived to reduce trouble at matches.
However, I have to ask, is setting higher ticket prices in order to secure a positive image for the game a success, or does it merely hinder the breath-taking atmosphere which British football used to thrive upon? Bradford City, a former premier league team now in League One are an inspiring example for clubs across England. At just £149 Bradford sold over 17,000 season tickets, yielding match-day averages of around 16,000 – 18,000. During the 2016/17 season, Bradford went unbeaten at home, with only Tottenham Hotspur matching their home success. Impressive, right? To exacerbate the fact that lower ticket prices improve success and create an intimidating atmosphere, Bradford reached the playoff final that year, losing to Milwall in the remaining minutes of the game.
As a result of the positive impact of lower season ticket prices, playoff final ticket prices were frozen to ensure fans were aware of their inspiring presence. Bradford’s German owners have recently stated, “our dream is to reach the premier league and sell season tickets for £1.” Although the cost being £1 is unlikely, their passion sets an example for all clubs in England, who should take note that the backing of their fans should be a priority, because they are the backbone of any club, and without their support players wouldn’t have a reason to play.
Another supporting example of lower ticket prices is the German league, where some of the world’s best players and teams catch the eyes of millions across the world. Borussia Dortmund famous ‘yellow wall’ is known for its deafening support and synchronous songs which blast from the hearts of the 25,000 supporters within it. Season ticket prices for the Signal-Iduna average around 380 euro and are among the top 10 sellers in Europe. The club not only attracts the world’s biggest talent, but creates an image for clubs across the world which shows the positive impact of lower season ticket prices. So surely it is time for English clubs to lower their prices, unless they want to continue naively neglecting the importance of their supporters’ voices?