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Rising costs of football...

Some of you may have seen the report on the rising costs of football on BBC Breakfast this morning? This report came live from Fratton Park as we featured heavily in this.

I love Portsmouth Football Club, so I am not aiming this 'rant', if you will, specifically at them it is aimed at football as a whole, it is just easy to use us as an example as we have featured so prominently in the findings - but towards the end of what I write you will see that in all fairness to Pompey these 'increases' are not necessarily as high for us as 'findings' might be suggesting...

Basically despite the extra millions, billions even being ploughed into the game through advertising and in particular TV revenues the vast majority of premier league clubs will be showing an increase in season ticket prices next season, with an average rise of 8%. Some a huge increase, others not so big, but still an increase - with Pompey being one of the clubs that will be showing the biggest increase in a percentage rise...

At Sunderland there has been an increase of 22%, but tickets will still only cost £445 and in all fairness their prices are still 'low' and will increase from a championship amount. Ours are up 17.5% to a whopping £705 - if not purchased at the 'early bird' price, which the London clubs aside makes us one of the most expensive clubs to watch in the country!

Chelski will be having no increase in their season tickets prices, with the most expensive staying at £790, Manyoo will be showing a 6% increase, with this setting you back £665, Arsenal are up only 2.6% - I do not know what the price will be though.

Someone the other day, who works for the football supporters federation - so spends their time fighting for the rights of the fans - sent me some information on the TV revenue generated for each club through the 2007/08 season, which compared the 2006/07 figures (in brackets) - here it is:

Manchester United £49.3m (£32m)
Chelsea £45.6m (£30.9m)
Arsenal £47m (£29m)
Liverpool £45.4m (£28.4m)
Everton £42.1m (£25.3m)
Aston Villa £42.3m (£22m)
Blackburn Rovers £40.2m (£22m)
Portsmouth £40.4m (£23m)
Manchester City £39.7m (£21m)
West Ham United £36.8m (£21.1m)
Tottenham Hotspur £36m (£27.3m)
Newcastle United £39.2m (£21.2m)
Middlesbrough £34.2m (£20.5m)
Wigan Athletic £33.4m (£18.4m)
Sunderland £33.6m (£6.5m)
Bolton Wanderers £32m (£24.6m)
Fulham £31.3m (£20.4m)
Reading £30.6m (£23.6m)
Birmingham City £29.8m (£6.5m)
Derby County £29.1m (n/a)

Total - £815,175,812 (£502,533,570)

Getting on for £1billion in TV money was 'shared' between the clubs, and this is putting aside other sponsorship deals for each club, which gives each an estimated extra £1m per year, not forgetting the money that is earned through 'winning trophies', Manyoo got £2m plus for winning the champions league and we got £1m for winning the FA cup.

When the prices for next seasons season tickets were revealed the club did say that this increase was required to offset other costs, this increase was minimal when you take into account you could use 'early bird' pricing and this was the first increase in 3 years - a statement read out by the reporter on BBC Breakfast said the same.

It is a very difficult one, I want to see Fratton full week in week out and having seen 200,000 people turn out for the victory parade the other week I would be bitterly disappointed if we could not see this, no matter who we are playing, but when all is said and done, no matter what anyone says football is an experience form of pleasure these days and is something that not all of us can afford.

Can I really afford the costs of my season ticket, and the costs of travelling? Which for me personally 'could' cost up to as much as the cost of my season ticket! I will not lie, it is going to be tough under my current circumstances, but as much as I wanted this season ticket back after a number years without one, had it cost me much more I think I would have had to have been realistic and said 'no'. But when all is said and done is paying what I am something that I am willing to do? Well yep as I have, so it is, but a line will have to be drawn somewhere - hopefully I will not ever have to cross that bridge again as I never want to have to make 'that' decision...

Is the 'everyday hardcore fan' being priced out of football at Pompey - and elsewhere - these days to be replaced by 'a new breed' of clientele? Will this happen even more the more successful we become - is this the price of success, if so how much longer will people be willing or able to keep paying it?

'If' we get our new stadium, with a larger capacity, which 'should' in theory increase the average attendance would we then see a decrease in prices, or would they have to remain the same anyway to 'help' cover the costs of paying the players wages etc?

When all is said and done, as much as I love Portsmouth Football Club and football, the fans - all fans, not just Pompey fans I MUST add and stress - are, for lack of a better word, being ripped off... Watching football throughout Europe is much cheaper than it is in this country, but with the amount of money within football rising all the time, meaning transfer fees and wages for players increase it is the fans that will have to pay it and if the club is successful - as hopefully we will be - if you or I do not pay it, the simple truth is there is always going to be someone else out there who will...

Basically the money in football is what is driving these prices sky high, the more 'the rich have' the more they can afford to pay for players, the more they pay the more others - like us - have to pay for them also, merely to basically stay afloat, let alone attempt to make in roads into catching them. The rising transfer fees and wages that are needed is what is causing this rise, until something changes within these rules and boundaries - which sadly is not likely to happen is it, as the middleman will enjoy his slice of the pie too much - then ticket prices will remain high, if not get higher in order to help offset these costs.

With the credit crunch hitting hard - and trust me I know from personal experience how damaging this is as it has put what I thought and hoped would be a fantastic career opportunity in jeopardy, now all I can now do is sit and hope things change! - it is going to become even harder for fans to afford to make the commitment, sacrifices will need to be made, but will 'no longer going to football' be the one that is made though?

To defend Pompey, in all fairness the actual 17.5% increase quoted is not an entirely fair refection - of course we must remember that by using the 'early bird' prices you could have saved money, and these were offered to everyone, new season ticket applicants and those that renewed. Also by taking advantage of the payment plans on offer from the club you can spread the costs of paying for your season ticket, so credit must be given on this front - but not everyone would have done this, but I guess you can have the argument here that you had enough time to have done this, and although expensive if you 'really' wanted a season ticket for next season you would have got one when you had the 'early bird' chance wouldn't you?

As said though, so long as any club is successful if one breed of fan stops going, usually the best breed, another, and not always the right kind of breed will step in to take your place so price increases, no matter how large - even if sometimes deceptive - will not make much difference...


Join the Vital Pompey Debate

The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 27 2008

Time: 10:18AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Got my season ticket for 420 for next season. Last year I will b eligible to get the young person's discount (17-21) and I made sure I got the early bird offer. Going to be a difficult decision next time tho, 705 is a lot of money!!
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 10:36:00

remember tho the early bird price would take that 705 down to 600 wouldnt it - still alot of money dont get me wrong, but a hefty saving...
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 10:44:00

If you want a top team you have to pay the price. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys. Not an original statement but a fact of life especially with such a small capacity ground. Infortunately some supporters won't be able to afford it but then again I would like a BMW car but I can't afford it either- that's life.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 11:52:00

It would be an interesting exercise, if anyone can obtain the figures, for someone to compare the cost of an average season ticket for 1950,1960,1970,1980,1990,2000 and 2009 seasons and , based on an average wage in each of those years, how many hours of work it took to earn enough to pay for the ticket. Then we might have a truer idea of the real value of a season ticket now in comparison.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 11:58:00

A season ticket appeals to me and my family but for one thing; the number of Saturday 3pm kick-offs that are moved to a Sunday or a Monday. Personally, this starts to significantly reduce the number of games my family and I could attend. It has long been the case, but the TV companies and the money men care more about the armchair viewers than those that go through the turnstiles.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 12:03:00

a season ticket apeals - but you have to add 15 a game to that for the train ticket! possible idea for the club - if you want more people to attend by public transport, maybe try to get together with southwest trains to offer a ticket tht includes travel? that should be beneficiary to both shouldnt it? otherwhys it is simply too expensive!
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 12:55:00

i wish my travel 'only' cost me 15 carpet - it looks as though i will be looking at that price - and i mean bare minimum - each way for each of my treks on the train, good knows how i will manage the christmas and new year games as you get no cheap tickets round that time of year...
approach the club, as they are always willing to hear about new ideas, so you never know - as unlikley as it might seem there 'might' be some partnership they could form with the train companies etc. to make travel more affordable?
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 13:33:00

To save them having to rob us blind, I've already written in suggesting they sell disinfectant outside the bogs and also rent out Tazers so I can zap the tw*t behind me who shouts: "Lino, your **** blind" 5000 times a season.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 16:05:00

Chris.....I'm with you there!!!!!!
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 16:14:00

Don't get me started on tw*ts who sit behind me!!. Tim raises a fair point about the number of games moved and I think Pompey had more than their share of non Saturday matches last season. It does bring extra revenue in but there ought to be a way of compensating fans for the inconvenience. I know there is the Viagogo route to get some money back but I'm not sure that's the answer.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 18:04:00

I think I have worked out that it would cost me a minimum of 450 in petrol costs just to get to all the home league games! Probably my own fault for having a petrol drinking car, but then add all the extras means I think I have been priced out. It will just be a subscription to Sky an Setanta for me with trips to as many games as I can afford.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 19:11:00

Over 37 a game is too much, but I still pay it so not a lot I can say could not take early option this year for personal reasons so wasted 105 anoyed to say the least. so how much for game ticket around 40 I expect.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 19:48:00

As usual I can't do the Season ticket, due to Work and having the youngest many times over the season. So a Members ticket again for me. Have to say though, a Season ticket without the early option seems dear. But then you are guaranteed a seat, so i suppose thats the price you pay. Oh yeah forgot, we all want to see the best players, and these cost alot to maintain...so...
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27/05/2008 21:12:00

After the shock at the price of the first tickets I bought, I just shut my eyes and shelled out each fortnight. Mr Gandor does get a very good OAP rate tho. I agree that we are going to price your average footie fan out of the market soon - and that would be a huge loss to the game.
Report Abuse
27/05/2008 21:30:00

and if we go well in the uefa cup next season we will be seeing a hell of a late more non-saturday games wont we...
Report Abuse
28/05/2008 08:28:00

has anyone ever actually tried writing to sky sports or setanta to see if they will compensate you for moving a game for live coverage? 'if' this happens next season, and 12.45 kick off on a saturday will be impossible for me to make what chance do you reckon i would get of them compensating me? not alot i guess, but even if they did its not the money, it is the missing a game that would mean more to me - even if i could then 'watch it on the box'... i think i might investigate into this further...
Report Abuse
28/05/2008 08:30:00

In Pompeys case it is simply a supply and demand issue, there just aren't enough tickets to a) go round & b) finance the club. hopefully with a new ground extra availability will help towards the season ticket prices. I do wonder with the turnout for the fa cup victory parade whether the "planned" new ground will be big enough, i certainly feel it would be prudent to build in the option of expansion in the hope that our current progress continues.
Steve C
Report Abuse
28/05/2008 11:02:00

The Parade was just a proud city turning out to welcome home their team. Don't hold your breath for sellout games every week next season. Hull, Stoke, Fulham, Sunderland et al. At 40ish per game I can't see enough feel gooders shelling out.
Report Abuse
28/05/2008 20:38:00

Pentonpompey - I have a feeling you may well be right. Portsmouth is not a wealthy City and I am amazed Pompey sell the tickets they do. Whilst I feel that they can absolutely jusify the price they charge, I do not feel that some of the seats they have left each week warrant money charged for them. Maybe if they reduce the price of these seats they may fill them?
Report Abuse
28/05/2008 22:14:00

I've brought this up with Pompey before Gandor; for example 40 to sit behind a pillar at the Wigan game. On the plus side, for two games this season (Boro and Plymouth) my daughter's ticket was only 5 - although we only found this out when making the booking. Don't get me wrong, I love Fratton Park but what no-one has mentioned is the utter lack of facilities in return for our dosh - I know this will change with the new stadium but in the meantime I reckon people are just pretty tolerant, all things considered.
Report Abuse
29/05/2008 15:10:00

Dress it how you want, it is a lot to watch a game if you can't afford it. If you can afford it, then maybe something else is given up. It's the times we live in, with ugly choices.
Report Abuse
01/06/2008 17:59:00


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