Match day. For millions of people across the country, it’s the biggest day of the week. There is something surreal about thousands of fans in the same attire moving through the streets, all united by a team of 11 players, swarming towards a stadium where hearts will burst, or be broken. Nothing comes close to matching the buzz and hype which surrounds the local community, or the roar heard all over the town when a team cores. However, what if this did not exit- just rows and rows of empty seats, a few bedraggled banners hanging off fences, and a team battling it out in front of no one? Football is nothing without the fans, and this is why I feel strongly about rising ticket prices.
Over the past twenty years, the cost of a football ticket has increased tenfold. People who used to go to the game every weekend can hardly afford to go once a month! Take a club like Arsenal FC, for example, in the top division of English football. They barely finish top four in the league, and yet still charge the highest price- the average match day ticket is over £65. This is an eighth of the average weekly wage in the UK, and means that fewer working people, committed fans, are going to the game. There is a reason why football crowds are slowly getting older and older; the younger people can’t afford tickets and instead middle aged or retired people have to go in their stead. It’s a joke!
Rising ticket prices are solely down to the greediness of the club owners, and the investment that goes into football nowadays. Big players earning big wages= big debts to supplement, and guess who has to pay that excess? Football at a top level is no longer a sport- it is simply a business; a huge sponsorship deal, to be exploited by the richest people hallway across the world. Because they choose to put so much money into the sport in the first place (excessive amounts, in my opinion), big money has to be made in returns, and this comes out of the pocket of the hard-working, average person.
The life is slowly being sucked out of the nation’s favorite sport. ‘The Beautiful Game’ is slowly becoming ‘The Boring Game’- there is no passion anymore. There is rising resentment among fans, and the stadiums just get quieter and quieter. There is a reason why The Emirates is the most silent stadium in the Premier league- the younger generation, who bring so much life to the stands, cannot afford to go to matches. The strongest, most committed fan-bases are found at the smaller clubs, where the owners do not try to bleed the supporters dry in order to install a second helipad on their super yacht!
Football is not entertainment if you sit in the stands, half-heartedly watching the game while wondering how to make ends meet. It should not be a ‘bank-breaker’; to go to a game means less food for the week. It is unbelievable how much more you can get for £60. You could buy food for the week, go out for a three course meal with your wife/girlfriend, or fill up on a whole tank of fuel. Of course, alternatively, you could have two hours of entertainment, not knowing if your team will win or lose. And that does not include the cost of getting to/from the stadium, or a half-time pint.
On that note, what if your team does lose? You may feel your money has been wasted, especially if the players did not commit themselves fully to the game. It is made worse by the fact that the loss may be all down to the stubbornness of the club owner- he will not splash his ‘hard earned’ cash to buy a player who will make your time and money worthwhile. If the club is not going to provide for the fans, why should the fans provide for the club?
Rising ticket prices are a huge problem in today’s top division football. They are sucking life out of the game, preventing younger generations from watching their childhood club, and for what reason? So some billionaire can go to bed on an even bigger pile of cash? Enough is enough- why should fans hand over their hard earned cash to club which exploits them, wastes money, and at the end of the day, might not even win the game?