Last Thursday night saw the Football Supporter’s Federation (FSF) latest campaign launched in Manchester.
Twenty’s Plenty aims to cap away tickets at £20 (£15 for concessions). The issue of constantly rising ticket prices has finally gained the attention of the national media after Manchester City fans were charged £62 to enter The Emirates.
In a debate dominated by fans from the North West, it is a campaign that could have a profound impact for clubs such as Albion. We, as fans this season, have been forced to pay rather expensive ticket prices. Liverpool tickets in a couple of weeks’ time are £42 for a Monday night televised game. Tickets for Everton away on Wednesday night are £32. Very soon we will be heading off to Stamford Bridge at the start of March, and judging by previous ticket prices, these will be somewhere between the £40-£50 mark. Just three away games where the cost of match tickets is well over the £100 mark – and that is before travel, food and drink is factored in.
So what can the FSF actually do about these ever increasing prices of tickets, and how could it potentially affect us loyal Baggies? On Thursday night there were plenty of options discussed. These ranged from boycotts of games (that would never happen, in my opinion) to banners and t-shirts unfurled at games similar to those that City fans held up at the Emirates. There was also talk of a protest outside the FA Headquarters when the fixtures were announced, alongside an idea of missing the first ten, twelve (or however) many minutes of a match, similar to what has happened in the Bundesliga when away fans entering the visitor’s end erupting in unison and creating an electric atmosphere. Something by both the media and other fans have failed to ignore in Germany. This would showcase just how away fans could be missed as more often than not, travelling fans create the loudest noise.
Some people may argue that it’s just the ‘big’ teams that pay expensive entrance costs. However, as West Brom fans have found out, we have also been subjected to high ticket prices. £39 for Villa and £45 for Manchester United. Even Reading cost more than £30, which many probably wish they hadn’t invested in looking back in hindsight!
Albion has always had a good away following. Hundreds of loyal fans travel up and down the country for games that are often at inconvenient times and in inconvenient locations. Sunderland, a 12:45pm kick off this season, jumps out as one such game with tickets costing £29. However, if ticket costs were to be capped to £20 a ticket, would more travel? The fact we regularly sell out away ends, regardless of cost, would probably make away tickets harder to come by.
Now, how would we, as a club, feel about capping away tickets for others at £20? When the likes of both Manchester clubs come to town, alongside Liverpool and other big teams, they sell out their away allocation when we charge them premium rate tickets, making quite a bit of money. On the flip side, home fans who are not season ticket holders, still have to pay premium rates for entry to these games. If away tickets are capped then should home tickets? That would mean all tickets would be capped at £20, meaning that season tickets would probably have to be lowered in value, as the current match day ticket, if you are a season ticket holder, is around the £18-19 mark per match. Would the club be financially sound if this was the case? I am pretty certain they would. With a multi billion pound deal soon to hit the Premier League, I think the club could afford to lose £15-£20 a head for away tickets.
The campaign is one that has only just begun. But one that will no doubt carry on building up momentum for months to come. This is the start of what could be a radical change to the cost of watching Premier League football.
Do you think there should be a cap on match day ticket prices? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.
Source: WBA MAD