Last month the BBC released their price of football survey. The study looked at prices for 166 clubs in 10 divisions across British football, including the Conference Premier and Women’s Super League. It recorded the prices for the most expensive, and cheapest, season tickets and adult matchday tickets as well as the cost of a cup of tea, a pie, and a programme – to calculate the cheapest possible day out at a match.
The biggest news to come of this survey was that the average cost of the cheapest adult ticket in the top four divisions of English football has risen by 11.7% in the past 12 months – more than five times the rate of inflation. The study also shows that the average price of the cheapest matchday ticket in English league football has gone from £19.01 to £21.24 For those that didn’t see the survey, West Ham’s cheapest season ticket is £480 while the most expensive is £850. These prices are surprisingly more expensive than current Premier League champions Manchester City.
I know that City have oilrich owners, but I still think it’s surprising that West Ham, a club that has just been promoted from the Championship, have more expensive season tickets than the champions of England. Yes, City have a lot of money, but they won’t keep spending a shed load of money on transfer fees and wages like they have done in previous years because of the financial fair play rules, where a club cannot spend more money than it receives in turnover. So I’m surprised that they have cheaper tickets than the Hammers.
West Ham also has the fourth priciest “cheapest day out” which combines the cheapest ticket price with the cost of match day essentials of a programme, a cup of tea and a pie. West Ham’s figure comes to £44.50, behind Chelsea, Liverpool and Reading.
I hope that if The Hammers move into the Olympic Stadium that our ticket prices are cheaper and more affordable for the family. With the £3 billion television rights deal starting from next season, the fear is wages will keep on rising and we could end up with a lost generation of fans. It’s all well and good building St George’s Park for the new generation of young English players, but there’s no point in that if there are no new fans to watch them. If West Ham do become tenants of the Olympic Stadium, they have to lower prices than they currently are. To not fill a 60,000 stadium on a regular basis would be damaging for our club. But with the new TV deal and potential for even higher wages. Lowering the cost of tickets may not become reality.
Sam Allardyce believes a move to the Olympic Stadium is imperative if the club are to compete with Chelsea and Arsenal. The future of the stadium in Stratford has again been delayed and it may be another couple of weeks for a final decision. “I understand the history and tradition of Upton Park or the Boleyn Ground, but to really become one of the true top clubs in London, if not in this country, then a new stadium is of the utmost importance to host the huge fan base that West Ham United have,” he said.
Allardyce also said the Stratford venue would be beneficial for West Ham so they do not get left behind. “We’ve seen Chelsea’s stadium grow and we’ve seen Chelsea grow into a major European side over the last decade, because of Roman Abramovich’s money,” he added.
We’ve seen Arsenal move into a brand new stadium, we’ve seen Man United grow their stadium to 75,000, and I think that moving from West Ham into the Olympic Stadium is a must for the growth and the development of the club. And of course 60,000 seats are planned, I think, and that will satisfy everybody who wants to come to West Ham and a fantastic venue it could be too. We experienced what the atmosphere was like at the Olympics, you know, from that point of view that same atmosphere could be recreated as West Ham football team playing there.”
Hopefully football will see sense and make football more affordable for everyone, but we have to be aware that this desire may not become reality