The Premier League is the greatest league in the world. We hear it week in, week out and considering the number of top players that arrive every year, it's hard to argue differently. Despite this, is the Premier League good value for money when it comes to paying to see your team?
You would expect the top sides to charge much more than those lower down in the table, with less lofty ambitions, but this is not always the case in the Premier League. Arsenal's game against Manchester City at the end of the month is priced at £62 for an adult ticket, a reasonable looking price considering the two sides involved. However, to see West Ham take on the Gunners at Upton Park it would cost a non-member a whopping £52, a huge price considering the Hammers' stature and players.
West Ham are in a predicament, however, as they are looking to clear their debt and progress as a club. In order to do so, chairman David Gold has stated in the past that ticket prices must remain this high, otherwise the club risks going backwards. This is understandable, but considering that West Ham United were originally a working class club, supporting the local area and all of their fans, it is hard to take when someone who has supported them for many decades can no longer follow the club as much as they would like to.
What's more frustrating is the state of German football and their incredibly fair ticket prices for even the top sides, despite the wealth of expensive talent in their teams. A Bayern Munich season ticket cost around £104 last season and their stadium was packed to the rafters as they lifted the Bundesliga title. Back home, however, season after season, Premier League supporters voice their frustrations at having to fork out a ridiculous amount to see their club play.
Now, it is easy for a well-off fan to argue that the Premier League is so much better than other leagues that it justifies the massive prices. Without them, it would appear that clubs would simply not be able to bring in the big names that make the Premier League what it is today and fans pay to see these players, albeit at a premium. However, with the heavy investment in England's top division nowadays, clubs should still be able to compete with those around Europe without having to charge fans such extortionate prices.
The main problem is that since the prices are currently this high, a club could not massively reduce their own unless every other club did and the players, particularly at the clubs without heavy investment, were willing to take a pay cut. The most likely outcome would be these top players moving abroad, where money is far better managed than in the Premier League. It seems as though business has replaced the importance of keeping fans happy and a prime example of this involves West Ham and Manchester City. The Hammers were already 6-0 down after the first leg of the Capital One Cup quarter final and to ensure they had a packed out Upton Park for the return leg they wanted to cut ticket prices. Manchester City, however, refused and Hammers fans had to pay over £52 to watch their side, despite already being down and out.
Gone are the days when a fan of any background or age could go to see their team without missing bill payments and in some cases, Arsenal spring to mind, you have to be a paying member just to be eligible for the cheapest tickets. Football has always been a universal game, but the greed of certain clubs means that fans are going to have to pay outrageous ticket prices for the foreseeable future. Something tells me that unless fans see their hard-earned money invested in helping their club achieve success, fans will watch more and more of their team's games on dodgy foreign streams online.
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