19 May 2024

Fans react to football clubs increasing season ticket prices

Many football fans are being priced out of supporting the teams they love.

Clubs have already announced next season’s ticket prices and most are putting them up. Some are also reducing or removing discounts for certain season ticket holders. It’s angered supporters, who say their loyalty is being exploited while clubs make huge profits from commercial deals.

We have been speaking to fans of Nottingham Forest and Spurs.

For more than two decades, Roman Piotrowski has gathered the Tottenham faithful. He arranges coaches for supporters out in Wiltshire, ready to make the two hour journey from Swindon to north London. Now, though, this might be his last journey.

Roman Piotrowski: I haven’t been awarded my senior season ticket. I’ll be 65 on May the 23rd, which will entitle me to a season ticket. And now to the new restrictions at Tottenham, they’ve decided that they’re not going to issue me with a new season ticket.

Tottenham Hotspur, like many Premier League clubs, are increasing their season ticket prices next year, but they’re also phasing out part of the concessions for over 65s.

Roman Piotrowski: You’ve got to have a cold heart to do what you’re doing to your own fans. Is it greed? You know, they’ve got money coming in from every single stream you can think of. So now you’re turning onto your own fans.

The coach makes it to Tottenham just a few hours before kick-off and supporters make their way to the stadium. The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust say they’re disappointed by a 6% increase in season tickets next year. The frustration is also that new season ticket holders aged 65 and above will not be able to apply for a discounted price in 2025, and existing senior season ticket holders will see their concession reduced steadily, so that a 50% discount will be 25% by 2030. Tottenham say they’ve reluctantly made this decision, but that the number of senior season tickets has risen fourfold since they opened the new stadium, and that increase is not sustainable.

Martin Buhagiar, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust: I understand the overheads, understand there’s there’s huge expenses. But football is a fundamentally working-class sport and we don’t want to see that taken away. We don’t want to see fans stopped from supporting their clubs because they’re being priced out of attending football matches.

This all comes after a year in which fans at Fulham and Liverpool have protested about prices. And at this game, Manchester City fans join Tottenham supporters in their campaign to save our seniors.

Kat Law: Football Supporters’ Association: There is a groundswell of discontent across fan bases throughout the division around ticket pricing. Fans have been asked to pay more than ever before, while there’s more money than ever before within the game.

Now many clubs say that ticket prices have been frozen for years, that inflation has pushed matchday costs up, that they have to be careful about financial sustainability. But supporters say that ticket sales are a small fraction of a club’s revenue and that this is about football losing touch with its community, that clubs are trying to entice in high- paying tourists, and that fans are no longer fans, they’re consumers.

From the cloudy streets of north London to the sunny banks of the Trent. Here at Nottingham Forest, it’s the young fans losing out. Harvey Humphreys pours pints part time, just a short walk from the City ground. He says he has been a Forest supporter his whole life

Here at Forest, they’re getting rid of concessions for 18 and 19-year olds, meaning many of Harvey’s friends cannot afford the increase.

Harvey Humphreys: A lot of my mates paid £190 for the lower Bridgford stand, and then now it is £550, or £450, nearly £500.

Nottingham Forest say the rises were needed for the club to continue to grow financially and remain competitive. This year the club was deducted points for breaching profit and sustainability rules, and despite the increase, the club says their tickets are among the best value for money in the Premier League.

Andy Caddell, Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Trust: Is there a logic to increase the prices? Yes, there is. Price increases we’ve seen though are way above everybody else and massively above inflation.

Is this the price though you have to pay for modern football, for the Premier League?

Andy Caddell, Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Trust: I really hope not. But it’s being seen elsewhere and it’s certainly the direction of travel I think in football generally. I regret it. It’s a bit King Canute, isn’t it? Can you stop the tide coming in?

As another blockbuster season in the richest league comes to an end. There is no doubting the allure of English football globally, and supporters will still flock to grounds up and down the country. But with rising prices, how much longer will supporters put up with a game that changes more and more?