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TICKET PRICES: OUR OWN WORST ENEMY

by TheAnfieldWrap // 31 March 2013 // 39 Comments

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By Martin Fitzgerald

ONE of my favourite words is “fungible”.

It’s one of those, it sounds nice in the mouth when you say it – “fungible” “fungible” “fungible”. Trust me, I could do this all day.

So, what does it mean? Well unfortunately, this is where the “fun” stops. Fungible is typically referred to in terms of the trading of goods. A fungible good is one which is easily exchanged or substituted. For example, if I have a bag of rice I can exchange that for another bag of rice.

Rice is fungible, pass it on.

So what’s a non-fungible good? Well, that’s something that’s irreplaceable and cannot be exchanged for a similar item. It’s unique and tends to be limited in quantity as a result.

An example of a non-fungible good would be a ticket in the Away End for Arsenal v Liverpool on the 30th of January 2013. Kick off 19:45. Price £62

The game will only take place once, there is no other equivalent to that game.

Now, I was at the game, I’m at virtually every Liverpool game, but this one was different. A protest had been planned, and rightly so, due to the ticket price. £62 was the highest we had been charged as an away fan all season and there was a sense that enough was enough.

However, the protest on the night though was a little muted if I’m being honest, hardly got going. Just before the game, when a few of the banners started to be unveiled, an Irish lad that was standing next to me –

“You lot are planning this protest tonight over the £62 ticket. Good luck with that but it’s nothing compared to how much I paid”

In for a penny, in for a euro, I thought.

“How much did you pay?”, I asked

“120 Euro, plus travel from Ireland and accommodation. I’d love to be given the opportunity to pay £62!”

As we got talking, other people around us started to join in and everyone was comparing how much they paid for their ticket.

A quick straw poll of the 15-20 people around us found that the average ticket price that night was around £90. The most someone had paid (a fella from Chicago!) was £200!

I had paid the lowest, a measly £62

This brings me back to the concept of the non-fungible good and, unfortunately, the experience of this fella is typical of what happens when a non-fungible good is in high demand. The market takes over and the sellers were allowed to push the price up.

But who were the sellers?

When you look at the eligibility for that game, away tickets were only on sale to Season Ticket Holders, Members or Fan Card holders who had been to minimum of four away games in 2011-12.

None of the people around me met that eligibility.

And the only place that was officially selling these tickets was Liverpool Football Club. The maximum price they were charging was £62. So how come the fans around me were paying so much more?

Unfortunately, the answer is simple and it’s the elephant in the room in any debate about ticket prices.

The reason why the fans had paid more was because the other “fans” had charged them more. Put simply, some fans who met the eligibility criteria had purchased tickets so that they can get those much sought after credits and then sold them on at vastly inflated prices to the large market of Liverpool fans in London, Ireland, Scandinavia and, er, Chicago. The highest bidder gets the ticket.

You go to any Liverpool midweek away game in London and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were at a casting call for Borgen meets Minder meets Father Ted.

This is a problem that uniquely affects away tickets too. It’s a paper ticket, a one off transaction, it’s easy to rip someone off. You’re not giving anyone anything as valuable as your season ticket and, due to the wonders of modern technology, you can conduct the whole transaction from your bedroom. It’s not like you have to take a trip down to London and take a chance on selling it outside anymore is it?

So, why is this a problem and how does it affect us all?

Well, imagine you work at Arsenal and part of your job is to decide the ticket price for next season’s Arsenal v Liverpool game.

Last year you went for £62, you got a bit of grief, but it sold out. However, you’ve also done a more extensive version of the straw poll that I did at the game. You’ve trawled a whole bunch of websites (mostly based overseas to avoid UK law on the re-sale of football tickets) and you’ve seen what I’ve seen. £62 was the lowest anyone paid, the average was a lot higher.

So what do you do? Stick at £62 knowing you’ve underpriced it or increase it further to reflect what is going on anyway and bring the money back into the club?

Reading is our next away game and I’ve paid £40 for my ticket. 2 minutes on google though and I can see tickets going for £130 in the Liverpool end. What legislation there is has become ineffective and the entrepreneurial bedroom touts have never had it so good. Again, what do you if you’re Reading and you see tickets going for that price on the secondary market? If they did stay up you could almost guarantee Liverpool fans would be paying more for their trip to the Madejski next year.

I support the “twenty’s plenty” campaign but how would that affect it? You could argue that it just creates more margin for the seller? However, I would hope it would have the opposite effect by making the whole day out more affordable, therefore encouraging the fan that got the ticket in the first place to attend the game.

The real problem is the resale market and the way it acts as a mechanism to say to clubs “look, this is what you could have charged”. The waters are getting further muddied now by clubs going into partnership with resale sites so fans can officially resell their tickets to other fans. Some fans are even using the market for away tickets to subsidise their own season ticket. The more they get charged at home, the more they’ll charge for their away tickets. A vicious circle.

As the secondary market grows and grows, so will the prices on the primary market. This unfortunately is inevitable. Clubs will never wholesale reduce prices when they see fans selling to other fans at ridiculous prices. Their attitude will always be “if they can do it why can’t we?” and “at least if we’re selling them at a higher price the money is coming into the club rather than lining individuals pockets”. Groups like SOS (Spirit of Shankly) are so important here because they provide a balance to rampant exploitation. Without them, and similar groups, prices would rise even higher, even quicker.

Even the much heralded “German model” has started to see the secondary market thrive off the back of low ticket prices and concerns are being expressed there about what impact this may have on primary ticket prices.

So, how have other areas of the leisure industry coped with the rise of touting?

Take a stadium rock show for example -

5 years ago, all of the tickets for a stadium gig would have been between £50 -£70. As a result ,the best 20% would have then been touted for £100+ on the secondary market.

In response to that , the next tour would have seen all the tickets rise to £90 in an effort to combat the secondary market. Unfortunately, this had the knock on effect of pricing loads of fans out of the market and resulted in unsold tickets. This is the stage that a lot of football clubs are approaching now.

However, some Rock and Pop promoters got wind to what was happening and radically changed their pricing strategy. The Bon Jovi Stadium tour this year, for example, has ticket prices that range from £12.50 to £295. They’ve set the prices to reflect the variable income of their fans and thousands of people are going to see Bon Jovi in a stadium for just £12.50 this year! That would never have happened a few years ago and it’s only happening now because they’ve reacted to what was happening on the secondary market and created a pricing strategy where a higher ticket price can also subsidise a lower ticket price.

The new tiered pricing structure at Liverpool is an example of them trying to do something similar but it’s proving to be more complicated. When a band announces a tour it starts from a clean slate. No one has an existing ticket and they can develop a pricing strategy that takes into account their audience and the market. Put simply, fans can choose to buy the ticket that’s appropriate to their means

However, a football club has fans that have sat in the same seat for years, through thick and thin. If the club is then going to create a tiered pricing strategy where the rich pay more and the poor pay less it means that some of the existing fans have to bear the brunt of that. But how do you impose a huge price rise on some poor fella who’s sat in the main stand for 25 years? It’s ultimately not his fault and you can understand his indignation at being asked to pay more to subsidize a wider ticketing strategy that has nothing to do with him.

It may be wiser to only apply the higher pricing to new season ticket holders and I’d like to see the club offsetting any increase with a decrease in other ticket prices. For example, some of the seats at Anfield offer less than a fantastic view and they should be sold for under £20. This would make the game affordable for more fans. Likewise, new season ticket holders around the half way line should be asked to pay more. This should be phased in over time and not affect existing fans. In time, you would then have a stadium where a lot of tickets are sold for under £20, a lot are sold for over £100 and the rest of sold at varying levels in between.

Like Bon Jovi, but with Depeche Mode songs instead.

Meanwhile, whilst clubs are addressing that, all clubs could improve revenue overnight by offering a better experience – better food, less queues for drink, more toilets, a stress free ticket buying experience etc etc. Raising ticket prices is a crude way of extracting more money out of fans and I’m never sure that giving someone a choice of “Pay up or don’t come” is a choice at all.

The best way to get people inside the ground and happy to pay more is to offer value for money. On average, I pay less than £10 in the ground and over £30 outside the ground. Clubs wouldn’t need to increase ticket prices at all if they understood the reasons for that and sought to address it rather than treating fans as a captive market.

Just before I go -

There’s a festival called Secret Garden Party. Any customer can buy a weekend ticket at the designated price but there is also an option for customers to pay more if they can afford to.

Everyone said that was a stupid idea, why would people pay more unnecessarily? It will never work.

Guess what? It worked

Some people paid more and the extra pot of money helps keep ticket prices down.

That’s so easy to implement and even if no one took up the option the club wouldn’t be worse off. A great opportunity for the club to try something imaginative and reframe the debate

There’s another festival called Glastonbury. Yep, you’ve probably heard of that one. They were so fed up of their tickets being resold on the secondary market and fans being ripped off that they decided kill the secondary market by introducing photo ID tickets that couldn’t be resold.

Everyone said it was too much hassle for customers and it wouldn’t work.

Guess what, it worked. Everyone pays the price that the festival sets and there is no secondary market pushing prices up. It was so successful that The Ryder Cup and many other events followed suit.

So, anyone want to give me a hand with my “Non fungible, non transferrable” banner for next year’s Arsenal game?

And Ian, if you ever fancy going to a festival, just give me a shout. You might need to swap your Harley for a Campervan for the weekend though

Martin is Head of Business Development for See Tickets and has a Hodgsonesque 20+ years of experience in ticketing, the only difference being he’s actually quite good at his job.

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39 Comments

  1. So fans are f*cking other fans over.
    Very good insight

  2. Only a small minority of fans Mark. Most fans thankfully know that selling at more than face value is a big no no

  3. Nice Article Martin. Just one thing If i am a fan travelling from US/ASIA and want to experience A match with LFC, either at home or away, i’d not mind paying any prices as frankly its going to be a once in a life time experience. anyway the club can officially tap into this market?

  4. The scum-bag parasites who operate in the secondary ticket-sale market and rip off fans need to be stopped whether they are professional hustlers or boy-next-door types making a fast buck on one ticket sale.

    As usual the music business leads the way by introducing photo-tickets, a technology which i have been aware of since the late 60s (when I got my first Californian photo-driving license.)

    This would stop the ticket re-sale scam overnight but I don’t have any faith in the football clubs’ ability or determination to introduce this system any time soon.

    When did football clubs ever have the interests of their fans at heart? Never!

    Where do you think that the ticket allocation for travel agents who provide very lucrative “packages” for fans from abroad come from? Yes, that’s right, the clubs themselves! Have you forgotten ‘Parry-gate’?

    The highly in-efficient and tunnel-visioned football industry will only re-act when gaping gaps appear on their terraces, (I mean LFC, Arsenal etc. and not Wigan…) and then it will be too late.

    • where you been mate? Arsenal are lucky to 50,000 for most home games. take the 60,000 attendance that they always declare with a pinch of salt. the camara doesn’t lie.

      • Paul,
        You are correct about the attendance at the Emirates (I am a season ticket holder) but the club announce the number of tickets sold and not the number attending. The games are all sold out with a high number of no-shows. This backs up Martins argrument, why lower prices if fans are happy to pay and not show up? There is a potential downside in lower programme, food & drink sales etc. On the basis that most of the no-shows are likely to be season ticket holders there is the risk that these people are more likely to not renew their tickets, but with a large waiting list at present they are easily replaced.

      • That’s completely incorrect. Although it’s not good at all for the fans, from a business point of view Arsenal have no reason whatsoever to decrease their ticket prices. As football is rapidly becoming more business-like, 99% attendance (a figure which Arsenal constantly achieve on matchdays) means that Kroenke et al have no need to alter their prices. Lower prices = lower revenue, especially as they do achieve the feat of full capacity week-in-week-out.

        As long as Arsenal fans attend games, prices won’t change.

  5. Very good article. The last time I went to see LFC I had a 22 hour return journey, arrived at the ground 30 seconds after kick-off, and had to leave 3 minutes early to make sure we got our ferry on time. (We made it with 7 mins to spare) On top of trying to find a parking space within walking distance of the ground, buying 200 quid’s worth of plane tickets which were wasted when the fixture got pushed back to Sunday, the fixture was Blackpool. Sadly, my circumstances have not allowed me to get back since.

    To be fair though, Blackpool were pretty good that day. We paid 32 pounds each for 2 tickets on the kop, which was by a country mile the least of our expenses. Overseas fans will know this trip like the back of their hand, the struggle to get tickets, the massive expense of travelling, hotel rip-off prices, and , unfortunately, the barely concealed disdain of our fellow fans who live in Liverpool.

    Of all the hundreds of pounds I spent that day, LFC gained only 64. And they were the reason for the entire trip.

    The airline gained 200 odd, the ferry company 160. 100 quid for fuel. The overseas fans you meet in London in midweek will have paid 4 times the cost of the tout’s ticket just to get there and home again.
    So the ticket, not the price of it, will always for them be the reason they travel, and stacked up against the cost of the travel, it will have to be a significantly higher proportion of the whole package for them to not travel. And consequently GB based fans are in competition with fans from abroad for the tickets.

    How we get round this is a difficult question, but could I just ask the GB based fans to consider this: For fans from out of the country, who have followed this team for decades, and who, in 2 or 3 trips a season spend the equivalent or more than the cost of a season ticket to attend what might be 3 really dull games, to then be talked of in, at times, a disdainful way, is quite disappointing. There is a lot of money coming in from around Europe to support this club, money that would be better off in the coffers of the club than in the travel agents, ticket dealers etc. We would be more than happy to hand over the same amounts to the club itself, and if this could subsidise the local support, which we know is the heart and soul of the club, then so much the better.

    Ferd.

    • Ferdia: “….. We would be more than happy to hand over the same amounts to the club itself……..”

      You say this after saying that you are “disappointed” that OOTers are treated with disdain?

      The question is why the club are raising ticket prices by 9% at a time when they receive a cash windfall from TV in excess of £80m next season.

      • Yes, Disappointed. Not by the club, ALL fans are treated with disdain by the club. It’s disappointing to hear local FANS talk about overseas fans with disdain. Or to give them their own TLA for instance.

        “and , unfortunately, the barely concealed disdain of our fellow fans who live in Liverpool.”

        Ferd

      • probably to keep paying off Rafa’s compo (£6M), Roy’s (£7.5M) and King Ken’s (£8M). let’s just hope they have finally learned their lesson and put a clause in Brendon’s contract should it all go tits up. :-(

  6. Me and my wife went to the liverpool home game against arsenal this season through the club. the george edward suite ticket. we got a breakfast, a programme and a match ticket in the upper anfield stand. this was the cheapest ticket we could get to watch my beloved liverpool. the tickets were priced at £180 each which for what we got in return was an utter disgrace. i love my club and was willing to pay it but these kind of prices are unreal. something has got to be done about these tickiting situations, especially at our own ground.

  7. It sounds a bit non-fungible Martin.This article!

    How many Clubs Direct-Debit Season ticket-holders for every game?Even those Carling Cup games where the season-ticket holder knows that the Club will put out a 3rd choice side.

    And what does the season ticket holder do?He tries to sell his ticket to anybody who’ll take it.And some people will pay a high price!

    And I’m surprised that you haven’t cottoned on to this.Some people think that there will be too much trouble going to a game against Liverpool or ManU.Their supporters will cause a lot of trouble so they sell their tickets knowing that certain Clubs have particularly fanatical supporters.

    The real question is why LFC are increasing their prices.It’s got nothing to do with black-market touting!

  8. Hi Brian, thanks for your comments. I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say, particularly this bit – “some people think that there will be too much trouble going to a game against Liverpool or ManU.Their supporters will cause a lot of trouble”

  9. enough is enough lads. Liverpool charge the 4th highest AVERAGE tickets in the Premiership. higher than Man City (about twice as high), Newcastle (about 3 times higher). even higher than man United! Sure United may have many higher ticket prices, but they also sensibly have many more concessionary rates available to balance the equation. most notable for kids. do you know how many concessionary tickets we have for the under 16′s? 500. yep you heard right. 500 measly junior places (but only when accompanied by an adult!) in the whole 45,276 capacity. and housed in the northwest corner of the Anfield road (upper) stand. most other clubs offer a variety of concessionary under 11′s/16′s/21′s/Student/Armed Forces places. and not just in one corner of the ground either. check out other northern clubs websites. e.g. Man City, Sunderland and Newcastle, all practically give away under 21′s tickets. they are clearly mindful of encouraging the next generation of fans to attend the games.

    Liverpool charge London prices (higher than most London clubs actually), but most locals do not receive London wages. I get sick of hearing how much Arsenal charge their fans. but even they have many concessionary places in the stadium. and as for the famous Arsenal season ticket costing upwards of a £1000, it does include a guaranteed 7 cup games included in the package. so that’s 26 games in a Grade A Uefa rated stadium, with lots of leg room. not a bad deal if you ask me. it’s hardly comparable with our uber-cramped £840 Main stand season ticket (for 19 games). I won’t be renewing mine for next season!

    And to really drill home just how more expensive we are compared to our northern counterparts, check the websites (I dare you!).

    Man City charging from only £25 (kids from £7) for the visit of their Greater Manchester rivals Wigan Athletic.

    http://tickets.mcfc.co.uk/

    Newcastle charging a maximum of £20 (and this in their posh seats) for their bumper Quarter final Europe League tie against the world famous Sporting Lisbon.

    http://tickets.nufc.co.uk/events.aspx

    Earlier this season, I payed £40 for my usual Main Stand seat for the round of 32 tie against St Petersburg. I dread to think what we would be charging against Sporting if we had made it that far. dread to think.

    Even notoriously high price chargers Chelsea, only charged a maximum of £30 for their quarter-final FA Cup reply against United. Can you imagine Liverpool adopting similar ticketing policies? No, neither can I. Yanks/Ian Ayres Out.

    • All clubs will charge as much as they can get away with. If LFC got remotely near the top of the table for a few seasons, the gloryboys would be out of the woodwork and STs would go up across the board. If the city wasn’t so poor, the STs would be at least 500 quid higher.

      You can’t have cheap tickets and a massive club pushing for success looking to obtain the cream of players who demand enormous salaries, not unless you have a sugar daddy. We don’t have one, most of us don’t want one either.

      So please bog off to man city, you obviously love them. You won’t be missed.

      • What you talking about Willis? It has been proven that with the new Television deal in place for next season, Liverpool could afford to cut tickets down to as little as £32 and still make the same money as they make this season. The fact that they choose to be just about the only Premiership team who will be putting up ticket prices speaks volumes for the mentality of our owners. And not just a £1 rise, but a whopping great £2 to £4 (but mainly £4) for the Main Stand, paddock, Centenary Stand (both upper and lower). Now you might be able to afford your new £840 season ticket (assuming you are sat near me in the Main Stand) but I certainly can’t. This isn’t frigging London you know. The Man City and Newcastle examples were listed as similar size teams to us in similar economic black spots (although Manchester is obviously more richer these days than Merseyside on the whole), but they choose not to fleece their fans. And instead offer huge discounted tickets for virtually all games (and more importantly cater for the next generation of fans). We should be doing that too. As has been pointed out already, that with the new TV deal in place, the club could virtually knock 40% of all League tickets and still have the financial income that they are getting from their 19 home league games this season. No?

      • what planet are you on lad? and saying that if our city wasn’t so poor, that the season tickets would be £500 more expensive is just bonkers. from costing £13 a game in 1993 to up to £52 in 2013 is even worse than Israeli inflation. how many of your mates can still afford to go the game? whilst I have nothing against OOT’s attending matches (I am just glad that they chose us over others), the amount of local lads attending matches is falling by the season. why do you think the atmosphere at most League matches is total shite? it’s mainly because most of the lads we all grew up with can no longer afford to go the game. come on lad, use your savvy for fuxsake.

  10. actually Man City’s tickets for the Wigan league game mentioned above, are priced at only £20. i was looking at a secondary ticket outlet.

    http://www.mcfc.co.uk/news/tickets-and-travel/2013/january/city-v-wigan-ticket-information

    £20 for a Premiership game lads to watch the Champions in a local derby lads? it really hits home that we are being well and truly ripped off by our owners. Yanks/ian Ayres out

  11. Brilliant article Martin. The Bon Jovi idea is definitely one Liverpool need to consider, particularly given just how poor the atmosphere at Anfield has become in recent years. Something needs to be done to get younger, more enthusiastic fans inside the stadium and there’s no doubt that a more flexible pricing structure could do that.

    By the way, I went to The Secret Garden Party six years ago. It was ace.

    • well surely they can start by offering more than the 500 under 16′s places currently available? no wonder the atmosphere is as dead as a Dodo. there are far too many old codgers there., for a start.

      • Are they the same “old codgers” who kept the club alive through the lean times and played a significant part in making LFC the successful business which it is today?

        Maybe the same “old codgers” who turned up to a European Cup semi-final when the attendance that night was just over 12,000 and there was NO tv coverage……

        If you are unable to show respect to fellow fans then it would be better to keep your opinions to yourself.

        • Just to correct my last post before someone else does, the attendance that night was just over 20,000.

          The attendance at Anfield for a European Cup game v Dundalk in 1982 was 12,021

          The attendance v Brentford in the 1983 League Cup was 9,902

          And some people think that the “old codgers” who made up those numbers should now be discarded.

  12. Really enjoyed the article, Martin.

    I think someone mentioned this above, but I didn’t see a response. As a fan from the US, I have and would pay anything to see Liverpool play. For me, unlike you and so many others with season tickets, we don’t have the opportunity to see the team whenever we want to. So we accept that we must pay a premium to see them and to be honest, it’s totally worth it. While I understand where your argument is coming from, it is definitely hard to relate because there are so many fans who would be lucky to see the team once in their life, let alone multiple times or more than once in a single season.

    But anyway, the main point here is that the clubs have to do something to stop the secondary ticket market or at the very least, create their own secondary ticket market. They could even partner with someone that already does this. This way, prices would be forced to be limited to the face value.

    Concerts are a great example because you read about so many artists who are fed up with secondary market companies selling their tickets for 2x-5x the face value immediately after they are on sale. And sometimes, for very in demand shows (Radiohead for example), you will find tickets at the very back of a stadium for $1000 a piece. This is a joke. But people pay it because they have no other choice.

    I’m a big advocate of fair value tickets for all entertainment events so I hope articles like this and campaigns help force the issue on clubs to start doing something. Forcing it on Ticketmaster would be nice too! Because I’m hoping to come to the UK later this year to see Liverpool play, and while I would pay £200 a ticket quite happily, it would be nice to pay whatever everyone else is paying, the face value of the ticket.

  13. “Like Bon Jovi, but with Depeche Mode songs instead”.

    A great line in a great article, cheers.

  14. The club knows who it sold the tickets to. Selling them on is illegal. Why not prosecute the touts and put them on a banned list?

  15. Very good article. Another aspect of the ticket selling was on a five live investigates podcast from 3/12/2012 which found that some clubs are allowing tickets to be sold for above face value legally but selling at face value to anyone is breaking the law. Worth a listen.
    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/5-live-investigates/id391332685

  16. Excellent article, with a great underlying meaning.

    The only thing is the Glastonbury thing means fuck all. I know people who have got on in tickets of people with different skin colours and genders, haha.

  17. I´m a swedish United fan going to Emirates in late april now. I´m waiting for the ballot result coming out next week but my stupid friend bought a ticket in the United end for £350. Crazy money but he belives that it´s worth it…
    Have a look at this site were he bougt his ticket. Among many others sadly. http://www.unitedticketagency.com/checkout/cart/

  18. i hope wigan dont go down there price ticket £28 as reading £40
    2 mates from switzerland went to the spurs home game paid a taxi driver £150 each ticket

  19. Good article, but Bon Jovi with Depeche Mode songs sounds like hell squared to anyone with ears, surely.

  20. Ticket prices are an issue that can only be resolved from that other continuing discussion in football – player salaries. It is not fans screwing other fans, not even the club, but players. Until the frankly unethical salaries are curbed then ticket prices will continue to go up. Liverpool are, after all, a club with an average stadium with higher than average ambitions, so to enable Suarez’ disgusting payrise to 100K (if that was true) fans will continue to get suckered at home. The fans need to be willing to say do one to one of the few clubs out there who can afford it regardless of prices, so that we have four or five teams of egos playing in Europe that would make that fictional Qatari super league seem not such a bad idea, just to get rid of the figures who have already, it seems, irreparably ruined the game.

  21. Martin the fact you’re head of bus dev for See Tickets completely undermines everyting you say. You promote the benefits of Glasters introducing the ID on tickets. Was that system not introduced by See?? Basically makes your piece look like a big promo push for See which you have attempted to pass off as down to earth terrace thoughts. Shame!

  22. Supporters should think of themselves as “props” or “walk ons” enhancing the Premier League product with their pageantry, peculiar songs and passion. As such they should be demanding equity rates for their participation in the show. It is customary to pay those who help produce and package a product in most every industry I can think of in late capitalist society. So why should supporters be treated any different from players, coaches and match officials? It is blatantly unfair said associations, guilds and unions have seen their renumeration rocket up, while supporters are not paid for their crucial part in the production, while at the same time being forced to pay exorbitant prices for the apparent privilege of providing their unique skill set to the Premier League. Supporters should not be in debate about how much they should be paying to get into a match, but rather how much they should be paid for providing the atmospherics at the match. I propose the following Supporter Match Day honorarium. Spion Kop £20 – Paid in Cash at all gates. Kemlyn Road Centenary Stand, Main Stand and Paddock $10 Voucher (which can be redeemed in exchange for savoury pies and weak tea at one of the club’s exclusie concrete eateries). Anfield Road Stand $5 Voucher which can be redeemed for cash, if bearer manages to leg it the full length of the pitch, wearing platform shoes and a tanktop before a match and dive headfirst into the Kop without being grabbed by a fella with a shaved headed in a florescent jacket.

  23. I paid £110 for a ticket to see the Reds at Spurs in 2008. Originally it was £90 and because I live in London, I thought ‘sod it, it’s only money.’ As I approached WHL the season-ticket holder rang me (from the pub he was in near the ground) to say that someone else had offered him £100 but he would definitely give me the ticket if I gave him £110. He was probably bullsh*tting and just fancied a few extra notes for a gig after the match or something. When footy fans start p*ssing on eachother, then the system is broken. This is a great article. Thanks Martin.

  24. If fans aren’t screwing other fans then the average price fans had paid for the Arsenal match would’ve been much lower than you say, closer to £62. I can’t see a workable solution. I’m not a fan of price fixing – football sold its soul when sky tv took over and there’s no going back – the bubble is now too big. The typical football fan is now much more affluent than your 80s/90s fan, hence ticket prices are higher.
    Another major problem you’ll find is that if ticket prices become dirt cheap, demand will soar thereby becoming difficult to get hold of these tickets. Plus the home fans will in effect subsidise the away fans.
    Would be better with the small away following clubs like Wigan, Fulham, Reading, etc but not for the massive away following teams like Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds etc.

  25. Away tickets is a closed shop, regularly you need to have been to 15 or 16 of last season’s away games. Chance to get to one would be a start. A few months ago one of the regulars on TAW said on the City talk show that they always get two tickets for away games. Whose is the other qualifying ticket?

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