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

“Football without fans is just nothing,” goes the quote from the legendary Celtic manager Jock Stein. Few would argue with him. Anybody who had the misfortune to sit via England’s recent zero-zero draw with Croatia might be acutely aware of this: the game was played behind closed doors because 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 obvious, it may not really be that related to the clubs themselves. Regardless of the platitudes handed out by managers, players and administrator, the financial impact of supporters passing by way of turnstiles, buying merchandise and meals and customarily 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 literally crucial in any respect for clubs to make money. According to 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 worth freezes put in place throughout the leagues and caps on the price of away supporter tickets. MyVoucherCodes helpfully compiled the info on this compared season ticket costs and single ticket prices throughout Europe’s 5 largest leagues, with the (admittedly pretty obvious) outcomes that the UK is by far the most costly place to watch football.

An average season ticket is £516 and a median single match £28.50, far outstripping say, the German Bundesliga, which averages £159 for a season and £13 per game. Bayern Munich, who often sell out their Allianz Area stadium cost just £one hundred twenty five for a standing season ticket behind the goals. Famously, their club president Uli Hoeneß has mentioned that FC Bayern “don’t think the fans are like cows to be milked. Football has obtained to be for eachbody. That is the biggest difference between us and England.” This isn’t limited to the top leagues, either: the cheapest common season ticket in the entire English league system, at Charlton Athletic, is still more costly than watching Bayern Munich or Barcelona.

The bigger query about who football is for has been executed to dying, and the reply that most have come to is that it is not for the working classes. Chelsea FC blogger Tim Rolls has extensively charted the rising costs at his club towards the average weekly wage of someone in London, finding that in 1960, tickets at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge price 1% of the typical weekly wage, which rose to almost 3% by 1990 and in 2010 stood at 10%.

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

“My residence season ticket prices £880 for 19 Premier League games,” says Tim of the costs at present at Chelsea. “I’m additionally an away season-ticket holder and the 19 away tickets price me £560 (the £30 price cap is helpful here), plus Southampton give an extra £10 off as a part of their sponsorship take care of Virgin Media. So PL tickets cost £1,440 a season.”

“I reckon my away journey probably prices around £900 p.a., which assumes no in a single day stops. Chelsea do run sponsored £10 coaches to all away games outside London and £10 trains when there isn’t a suitable service train, though the availability of these is determined by the not-very-helpful train companies. My journey to home games is free as I am over 60, in any other case it would most likely value round £250.”

If the core constituency of the English game is not the working class, then it begs the question of who it’s for. The answer to that’s, evidently, the TV audiences at dwelling, who fund the majority of the sport through Pay TV subscriptions and the advertising revenue derived from the flexibility to market directly to them. This is replicated in club funds across nearly all levels: cheap manchester united tickets United derive 20% of their earnings from matchday revenue – a summation of ticket prices, hospitality and meals/beverage – while around twice that comes from TV and but more from industrial deals.