Price of Football 2016: Premier League cuts cost of tickets

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How the Premier League is cutting the cost of football

The cost of attending Premier League football has come down in the first season of a record £8bn global TV rights deal, a BBC study has found.

The Price of Football, the biggest study of its kind in Europe, looked at prices at 223 clubs.

More than two thirds of ticket prices across the UK have been either cut or frozen for the 2016-17 season.

However, an away ticket in the Championship can now be more expensive than for a Premier League match.

This is because top-flight clubs have capped prices for visiting fans at £30.

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Price of Football: Dan Johnson and Malcolm Clarke discuss premier league prices

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation, said: "On their current £8.3bn deal, the Premier League could afford to let every single fan in free for every game and still have as much money as they had under the previous deal.

"That gives you an idea of the scale of the amount of money they have got."

The Premier League said in a statement: "Clubs are listening to their fans and working hard to make sure that Premier League football is accessible as well as competitive and compelling."

The study also found replica shirt prices have increased year-on-year and half of top-flight clubs put up the price of their junior shirts.

For the first time, we asked clubs for the percentage of male and female season-ticket holders. In the Premier League, 14 clubs responded, with Southampton revealing one in five of their season-ticket holders are women, while at Liverpool the figure is 11%.

Average price of the most expensive away ticket

Other findings include:

  • The average cost of the cheapest adult home matchday ticket in the Premier League has decreased by 6% year-on-year (from £30.95 to £29.05)
  • A Premier League cap of £30 on away tickets has led to the average cost of the most expensive away ticket dropping 37% (from £46.44 to £29.44)
  • The average cost of the most expensive away ticket in the Championship is now more expensive than the Premier League (£31.57)
  • In the Scottish Premiership, cheapest matchday ticket prices have risen slightly (1%) as four clubs, included newly promoted Rangers, put up their prices to an average £20.58. But they are still cheaper than the English Championship (£22.11)
  • Only 14% of prices have increased in the Premier League, while 34% were cheaper than last year and 53% have been held
  • Three clubs - Burnley, Middlesbrough and Leicester - increased their cheapest matchday tickets but Hull City, Liverpool and Manchester City reduced theirs
  • The Premier League's cheapest season ticket average of £480 is less than the cost in 2013, when it was £489
  • In the Championship the average cheapest season ticket is £322.83 this is down 5% year-on-year and cheaper than in 2013
  • Three Championship clubs have season tickets under £260 - Huddersfield and Wigan at £179 and Fulham at £254
  • In the Welsh and Irish Leagues, matchday tickets have been held at 2015 prices and cost £10 or less per game
  • Prices have gone up in the Women's Super League as the game continues to grow but WSL 1 games cost on average less than £5 and WSL 2 cost £4

With the bumper 2016-2019 Premier League TV rights deal coming into effect - which includes £5bn for domestic rights and another £3bn globally - top-flight clubs will each benefit by a minimum of £100m.

In this year's study, we contacted 223 clubs across 23 leagues in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the continent.

We have analysed ticket prices in six categories - cheapest matchday, dearest matchday, cheapest away ticket, dearest away ticket, cheapest and dearest season tickets - as well as teas, pies, programmes and junior and adult shirt prices.

The rate of inflation over the past year, as measured by the Consumer Price index, is 0.9%, and over the six years of study it is 15.65%.

What are the clubs charging?

  • Arsenal have the most expensive matchday ticket at £97, but this price has not increased since 2014. Their season tickets include all 19 home Premier League matches and the first seven home cup matches in European competitions and the FA Cup.
  • Hull City and Liverpool have the cheapest Premier League matchday tickets at £9
  • The top three most expensive season tickets are all in London - Arsenal (£2,013), Spurs (£1,895) and Chelsea (£1,250), but these are all frozen from 2015
  • At £252, Hull City have the cheapest season ticket in the Premier League and it is less expensive than 88% of clubs in the Championship
  • National League side Sutton United have the cheapest season ticket of the top five men's English leagues - Porto in the Portuguese Primeira Liga charge a similar amount, 100 euros (£86)
  • Newly promoted Rangers have the dearest season ticket in the Scottish Premier League at £625 - £66 more than Celtic and an increase of £101 on last season

Kitting out costs more

  • 31% of clubs in the top four English leagues have increased the price of their junior shirts, with Manchester United charging the most (£50)
  • Manchester United and Manchester City charge £60 for adult shirts, while Bournemouth and Burnley charge the least in the Premier League - £40
  • In the Scottish Premiership, Celtic charge the most - £53 - for an adult shirt, while Inverness Caledonian Thistle's are the cheapest at £35
  • The cheapest men's shirts can be found at Newtown AFC of the Welsh Premier (£27), while shirts for London Bees in the WSL2 cost £20.90

Food and drink

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Price of Football: Fulham fan's ambition to eat as many pies as possible
  • Pies and tea have increased above the annual rate of inflation, 0.9% over the past year, as calculated by the Consumer Price Index.
  • In the six years of the study, pies have gone up by 17%, and tea is up by 13%. The rate of inflation since 2011 is measured at 15.65%
  • Forfar Athletic, in Scottish League Two, charge £1.20 for a pie and 80p for a cup of tea - which are the cheapest in the study
  • West Ham's pies are the most expensive at £4.10 - and seven other English clubs charge £4
  • £2.50 is the most expensive cup of tea and five clubs charge it - Liverpool, Manchester United, Bristol City, Fulham and Rangers
Manchester United would have to sell 35.6m cups of tea at £2.50 to recoup the £89m fee paid for Paul Pogba
France midfielder Paul Pogba joined Manchester United in August for a world record transfer fee

What about European football?

  • Replica shirts at top European clubs are a lot more expensive than the Premier League. Standard Liege in Belgium charge 90 euros for an adult shirt, which equates to £77.68, while Bayern Munich, Schalke, Ajax, AC Milan and Juventus are 89.95 euros (£77.67)
  • Barcelona's dearest matchday ticket is 450 euros (£372) yet their cheapest season ticket is 132 euros (£114), while Paris St-Germain's most expensive season ticket will set you back 3,000 euros (£2,588)
  • At the other end of the scale, Porto's cheapest season ticket is 100 euros (£86.31)

What is the reaction?

English Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey:

"It's clear to see from the recent research that EFL clubs are working very hard to ensure home and away ticket pricing continues to be as competitive and affordable as possible.

"In addition to the BBC's findings, we know from our own analysis that EFL clubs have reached a significant landmark this season, in attracting over 500,000 season-ticket holders across the three divisions for the first time.

"Quite rightly, clubs make the final decisions on pricing models and we will continue to work with them to ensure the positive trends highlighted are maintained and that football attendances across the three divisions of the EFL continue to thrive."

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster:

"All 42 SPFL clubs work tirelessly to ensure they have a pricing structure which provides as much value for money as possible, especially for families to help attract the next generation of supporters.

"We know that while much progress has been made in three years there is much more that can and needs to be done to help make Scottish football as attractive as it can be to existing and potential customers."

Average pie cost in the Premier League compared to the Scottish Premiership

Football Supporters' Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke:

"We believe it's a positive thing that almost three quarters of ticket prices have been reduced or frozen. That's thanks in no small part to pressure from football supporters up and down the country.

"There is no room for complacency, however, with some Premier League clubs charging far too much for their season tickets and away ticket prices in the Championship being the most expensive in the country. We will remain vigilant and continue our campaigning to make football affordable for this generation of supporters and the next."

The Premier League:

"Clubs value their fans and appreciate their support. Full and vibrant grounds are a significant part of what makes the Premier League a great football competition.

"Research we published only last week, using club data and analysis by leading professional services company EY, detailed not only the price of tickets, but the number purchased at each price. The research also found that four million tickets are discounted from the publicly listed price through early-bird renewals and concessions.

"The data demonstrated the real prices being paid by fans and what volume of tickets are being sold at what levels, finding that 56% of fans in Premier League stadiums this season will pay £30 or less per game with the average price paid being £31."

Burnley chief executive David Baldwin:

"What's very evident about Burnley as a town is that it is very much a one-club town. You very rarely see other club colours being worn around the town. It is very much claret and blue.

"We don't take that for granted because what we have to be conscious of is what is affordable to people. You don't want them to fall out of the love of football.

"We've established this year a fans' forum so fans can discuss ticket prices for next year and we already have a number of supporter consultant groups that we discuss our pricing policy with before it goes forward for a recommendation."

Shadow Sports Minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan:

"Football should be accessible to everyone, from Sunday League to Premier League.

"I am pleased to see the average cost of Premier League tickets come down this year, but with the amount of television and sponsorship money being pumped into football - more needs to be done.

"Despite the small reduction in ticket prices, the vast majority of fans are priced out of football. Children look up to these players, they are role models for millions - yet it costs £40 for a child to wear the same shirt."

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