Swansea City have released hope-restoring news that the club will be subsidising away tickets to all 19 Premier League grounds up to the amount of £22 per fan.
For Swansea supporters and neutrals alike, it’s a step in the right direction and an indirect nudge for other clubs across the country and divisions to follow suite.
The cap on ticket prices for Swansea fans will certainly play in to the hands of the ‘Twenty’s Plenty‘ campaign that urges fans of all clubs to back a price cap of £20 on all away tickets at all grounds across the leagues. The campaign was brought to light predominantly by Manchester City supporters returning around 900 tickets for an away match at Arsenal in 2013, with smaller protests later accommodating the acts of defiance against the ever-growing cost to watch the so-called ‘working-class game’.
The BBC recently underwent a survey to find out which set of supporters had to travel the furthest for away days and, to no surprise, Swansea fans clocked up the most miles. The cost of a ticket alone is agreed to be too costly by 9 out of 10 supporters, but the added cost of travel, refreshments and possibly accommodation is a chilling thought.
You would have thought that clubs would be naturally inclined to listen to what their supporters have to say concerning such pressing matters, but no firm dialogue is ever heard to have taken place between clubs and their respective fans. I’ll avoid divulging in to the specific financial income that clubs across the spectrum generate, but taking in to account the match day ticket sales, programmes, refreshments, merchandise, sponsorship, TV rights and other passages of income does provoke the question of “why is football so pricey to watch?”
In a world which sees clubs fling about big bucks for the best players, there is consistently a huge rift ever-growing between football clubs and the real world – its fans. Back down on earth, watching football has been burning bigger holes in smaller pockets. For most, getting up to watch your favourite football team play on a Saturday afternoon is becoming a less affordable social activity and more of a pure luxury that is growing further out of working people’s reach as the years clock by.
It’s simply not an acceptable set of circumstances we find ourselves in, and the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) have subsequently gained more support as they attempt to tackle the issue by confronting ticket companies, namely Viagogo, who unethically raise ticket prices as the event draws nearer. They also initiated a petition back in 2013 which saw over 12,000 football fans sign in an attempt to prompt clubs to appreciate the loyal fan-bases that keeps them up and running each week.
In the 2013/14 season, nine clubs agreed and adhered to the terms of the ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign and helped a little under 32,000 fans save a healthy £342,260 in total. Despite these encouraging figures, some clubs have released their first ticket pricing for the new 2015/16 Premier League season, which are as follows:
(Prices quotes are for an adult ticket)
£45 for Crystal Palace at Norwich City
£33 for Aston Villa at AFC Bournemouth
Up to £55 for Spurs at Man United
Other prices are yet to be released, but after the positive news emerging from South Wales earlier this week, Swansea fans making the trip to Chelsea on the opening weekend will be sitting the prettiest in terms of ticket prices – though perhaps not so much in terms of the scoreline.
Ahead of the news that Palace fans, who are regularly vocal in their dissent against ticket prices, will have to fork out £45 for a trip to Norwich, fans on social media have began to subtly encourage Palace (as well as other teams) supporters to boycott the match in order to start visually displaying to the footballing world that the extortionate ticket prices will not be tolerated.
Whether this encouraging act will be put in to action remains to be seen, but Swansea’s actions could prove to be the catalyst required to begin a revolution to alter ticket prices in order to make them affordable for all football fans.
Watching your favourite team shouldn’t be a privilege, and the sooner clubs crash back down to earth and realise this, the better.