Thursday, 12 September 2013

The REAL cost of watching football in the Championship...

After today's headline grabbing BBC Sport 'Price of Football' survey ( about £1000 season tickets at my club, Ipswich Town, and £10 matchday tickets at Huddersfield I decided to try and dig a little deeper.

The tickets compared by this survey, as always, are totally incomparable and therefore any analysis is totally flawed by definition.

I decided to visit each clubs website and check on their match day ticket price for the 2013/14 season, and publish the results here. Note, none of this includes Derby County, who use a dynamic ticket pricing system which is unable to be analysed easily!

What type of ticket was chosen?
The ticket chosen was for an adult ticket in what is generally the cheapest part of the ground - the lower tier behind the goal.

Also, it is a ticket that is purchased before the day of the game, and any booking fees are excluded.

What did I do about categorisation of games?
In case you are unaware, 12 clubs categorise games depending on the opposition, some clubs have A and B games, some clubs have A, B and C and 1 club (Huddersfield) have A*, A, B, C and D!

Unfortunately not many clubs confirm how many games will be in each category at the beginning of the season so I've had to use a mid point across all clubs.

For clubs with 3 or 5 categories, I chose the mid-ticket price.
For clubs with 2 categories, I chose the midvalue of the 2 tickets
For clubs without categories, I obviously used that value!

The results:

As you can see, Brighton have the most expensive match day ticket in the Championship, and there are 7 teams that come in above the £25 mark - the average ticket price is £24.63

14 teams set their price between £24 and £26, and this would seem a 'fair price' for Championship football in my eyes. The 5 teams that come in under this mark are the 3 newly promoted sides, the smallest other club in the Championship (Barnsley) and Wigan who have always struggled to fill their stadium in their Premiership days and are in receipt of parachute payments.

The 5 teams with the most expensive tickets, operate 3 categories and therefore have tickets for some games that are even more expensive. Ipswich and Leeds are the worst offenders where their ticket prices are increased by £4.50 and £5 respectively. In fairness to Leicester their Category C tickets are a bargain at only £15.

Overall, the prices above generally seem fair and for me the problem comes when clubs wish to categorise games. This punishes away fans of the divisions 'bigger' clubs, a team like Leeds who are seen as a big draw will always be the highest category for each game they play, hitting their loyal away fans in the pocket on a fortnightly basis.

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