Does The English Premier League Actually Need Fans In The Stadium?

“Football without fans shouldn’t behing,” goes the quote from the legendary Celtic manager Jock Stein. Few would argue with him. Anybody who had the misfortune to sit by way of England’s latest zero-0 draw with Croatia will probably be acutely aware of this: the game was played behind closed doors as a result of sanctions in opposition to Croatian fans and thus possessed an environment more akin to a morgue than to a significant sporting event.

While the importance of football fans to the game is clear, it might not actually be that relevant to the clubs themselves. Regardless of the platitudes handed out by managers, gamers and administrator, the financial impact of supporters passing by means of turnstiles, shopping for merchandise and meals and generally being present at the occasion is ever-lowering as tv cash turns into the driving force behind income. It begs the question of whether fans are actually obligatory at all for clubs to make money. In accordance with the balance sheets of half the English Premier League (EPL), they aren’t at all.

The price 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 value freezes put in place across the leagues and caps on the price of away supporter tickets. MyVoucherCodes helpfully compiled the information on this compared season ticket prices and single ticket costs across Europe’s five largest leagues, with the (admittedly fairly obvious) outcomes that the UK is by far the most costly place to observe football.

A mean season ticket is £516 and a mean single match £28.50, far outstripping say, the German Bundesliga, which averages £159 for a season and £thirteen per game. Bayern Munich, who frequently sell out their Allianz Arena stadium cost 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 received to be for eachbody. That is the largest distinction between us and England.” This isn’t limited to the top leagues, either: the most affordable regular season ticket in your entire English league system, at Charlton Athletic, continues to be more costly than watching Bayern Munich or Barcelona.

The larger query about who football is for has been finished to death, and the reply that the majority have come to is that it isn’t for the working classes. Chelsea FC blogger Tim Rolls has extensively charted the rising prices at his club in opposition to the average weekly wage of somebody in London, discovering that in 1960, tickets at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge price 1% of the average weekly wage, which rose to virtually three% by 1990 and in 2010 stood at 10%.

While clubs have implemented a league-wide £30 worth cap for away fans, there are not any limits to what they will cost their very own supporters.

“My house season ticket costs £880 for 19 Premier League games,” says Tim of the costs at this time at Chelsea. “I’m additionally an away season-ticket holder and the 19 away man utd tickets price me £560 (the £30 worth cap is helpful here), plus Southampton give an additional £10 off as part of their sponsorship deal with Virgin Media. So PL tickets cost £1,440 a season.”

“I reckon my away travel most likely costs around £900 p.a., which assumes no overnight stops. Chelsea do run backed £10 coaches to all away games outside London and £10 trains when there is no suitable service train, though the provision of those is dependent upon the not-very-useful train companies. My travel to house games is free as I’m over 60, in any other case it might probably cost around £250.”

If the core constituency of the English game is no longer the working class, then it begs the query of who it’s for. The answer to that’s, evidently, the TV audiences at home, who fund the majority of the sport through Pay TV subscriptions and the advertising revenue derived from the ability to market directly to them. This is replicated in club funds across nearly all ranges: Manchester United derive 20% of their revenue from matchday income – a summation of ticket costs, hospitality and food/beverage – while round twice that comes from TV and yet more from business deals.