Date: 16th November 2017 at 11:37pm
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The BBC’s Price of Football annual survey was released this week, and their investigation shows that the price of Premier League football has again seen some reductions for 2017/18.

Compared to the last survey the (2016/17), the BBC found that ticket prices in the Premier League had fallen again in some circumstances, but at the very least had been frozen in the majority of cases and ticket brackets.

Average season ticket costs across the top flight were found to be at their lowest levels since 2013, and they showed a second consecutive yearly drop as football adjusts to making the most from richer fans whilst not overly attempting to price out fans who see more of an effect from the economy on their wages. However the average balance being sought still suggests the less cash rich fan is shouldering the burden.

Of course the record £8.3billion global television rights deal signed last season figures in the freedom to make some changes, and for those arguing for a fairer deal for fans in a money bloated game, the fact steps continue to be taken should be applauded. The issue for many remains to be the case that whilst those steps are applauded, they are too few steps in reality.

No more so than a sense of giving back with one hand, whilst taking with the other.

Shirt prices continue to rise with the average price now being £50 for the first time in history, whilst a junior shirt on average now tops £40.

The BBC’s Price of Football is now in its seventh year and they requested details from 232 clubs across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Europe and that’s a wider remit than in previous years and for the first time ever they asked clubs to provide details specifically relating to fans aged between 16-24, including special ticket price offers for those ages.

Like last season, the top flight also guarantees that away travellers will pay no more than £30 for a ticket following the cap, and some clubs go further with subsidy on travelling and reciprocal ticket deals and they are slowly becoming more common place this year compared to last.

In terms of a general away roundup, away fans pay less than £30 on average with Southampton going for the ‘£20’s Plenty’ suggestion and Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle, Stoke, Watford and West Brom also charge less than the £30 cap.

A Premier League statement read.

‘This season, more than half of all Premier League tickets will cost £30 or less. The hard work of clubs to make Premier League football available to a range of supporters, combined with the impressive commitment of match-going fans, has resulted in record stadium occupancy of more than 96% for three consecutive seasons.’

Moving to home matters, the average season ticket price offered by clubs was down from £472.75 to £464 and the most expensive season ticket on average was also down by 2% from £864 to £843.58. That is what brings average levels down to lower than in 2013.

However the average cost of the cheapest ticket sadly rises from £29.05 to £29.30 and fans continue to pay more for food and drink inside of stadiums.

More than half of the top flight club increased their prices when it came to pies, and the average cost of a good old English cup of tea has also risen.

It must be said for balance when it comes to averages used though, the promotion of Huddersfield Town this season from the Championship has an effect by itself.

Chairman Dean Hoyle made a promise to fans when he brought the club that if they achieved promotion during his tenure, fans who held season tickets for that period would pay only £100 to see all top flight home games and having made that promise back in 2009, he stood true to his word and more than 4,000 took advantage of that ‘Premier Pledge’ as they made the step up this campaign.

Their most expensive ticket is also only £299 – a price only offered by Manchester City – so fans can see what that will do to the averages. The majority of season tickets at the John Smith’s Stadium were sold at £199 which represents a price of £10.47 per game.

As a counter though Huddersfield did hike prices of their cheapest home ticket from £15 to £30, as well as away single tickets, pies, programmes and both junior and adult shirts.

On the subject of reductions in general however, I can’t help but reference the television deal and the Football Supporters’ Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke who said in last years edition.

‘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.’

Just like last year though, for those fans benefiting from a drop in prices you have to factor in where the TV money comes from anyway – fans and subscriptions and although Sky changed their Sports package this year, it’s far from ideal.

For other headline news from the survey.

The cheapest day out is Liverpool where a ticket, pie, tea and programme could cost as little as £18.40, largely thanks to the availability of 500 tickets priced at £9 for those in the L postcode.

Arsenal claim the most expensive matchday ticket at £95.50 but that is lower than last season. Their season ticket also includes all home Premier League games, plus seven European and FA Cup clashes.

The cheapest pie falls to Chelsea at £2.50 but for some reason you have to order that through an app. The most expensive pie falls to Tottenham, but the £4.30 joke of a price is set by Wembley not the club. Pie prices in general are up 4.58% – higher than inflation!

Pukka that.

Just like previous years, three London clubs have the most expensive season ticket prices, Arsenal at £1,768, Tottenham at £1,700 and Chelsea at £1,250. Chelsea’s price stays the same whilst Arsenal and Tottenham have reduced compared to last year.

Huddersfield’s £100 promise is better by only National League sides Woking and Sutton United who offer £99 season tickets. Boreham Wood also have a £100 ticket.

Moving to kits, with it already stated that prices continue to rise, both adult and junior shirts show an increase of 2%. That means an average adult price of £50.90 with a junior average of £40.25.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are most expensive at £60 for an adult shirt, and Manchester United take the junior most expensive crown at £50.

Burnley however offer the cheapest shirts at adult £40 and junior £32 but many parents will ask whether that should be applauded – compared to the other prices though reluctantly it should be.

As a comparison to the Championship, former Premier League ever presents Aston Villa boast adult shirts at £55 and junior shirts at £45 for the second tier.

Miles away as a contrast from National League outfit AFC Fylde and Sheffield United Ladies who sell the cheapest adult shirts at a price at £19.99.

I guess the material they use somehow costs less because clubs and shirt manufacturers wouldn’t rip off fans would they?

In a brief comparison to down the pyramid.

The Championship’s average lowest matchday ticket drops from £22.11 to £20.58, however they boast the highest average away tickets in any league in the UK.

Matchday and season ticket average costs in the third tier have been reduced both on the cheapest and most expensive levels.

However in League Two the cheapest and most expensive averages have risen.

The UK game continues to embarrass itself compared to the continent in terms of prices charged as fans can potentially spend less, including travel, to watch Bayern Munich (£13 ticket), Ajax (£11 ticket) or Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus (£8.90 ticket).

Even Barcelona charge £22 to £29 a ticket.

However, continental shirt prices should leave the Premier League breathing a sigh of relief. Bayern Munich, Juventus and Ajax adult shirts carry a price of £80.

Clearly their shirts must come with added singing and dancing abilities and maybe an option to cook a bacon, sausage and egg sarnie when you return a little too tipsy from a game?

As the data is sifted through, the above link will lead you to club specific information, but as ever, Vital Football will give a club by club breakdown in the coming days.