Loyalty is something very much at the heart of every sports fan. Everyone can remember the football team they first watched on TV, or their first rugby jersey or cricket jumper. These loyalties are something that lies with most sports fan for life.
However, with the constant growth and investment into sport, does this loyalty mean anything? With the millions generated through television rights and sponsorship deals, does the cost of our admission ticket really have an impact?
Manchester United's stadium, Old Trafford, boasts the highest average attendance in the league of 75,320 and a maximum attendance of 75,354, which was achieved against Newcastle United this season.
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From looking at the highest attendance in the league, and the success of every team, there is a definite correlation here. The Red Devils have won the Premier League 13 times during the modern era. However, if this is this case, how should the league table finish?
The top of the table would be relatively as expected, with Manchester United, City and Arsenal having the highest average attendances in the league. The next highest attendance, is Newcastle United, a side that have never won the Premier League and were relegated in the 08/09 season. This is where the correlation starts to become some-what less clear. How can a team get up to 50,388, yet still finish 16th, 10th and 15th in the last three years?
Scraping the barrel
They did, however, finish fifth the season prior to this under manager Alan Pardew. Since this season, Newcastle fans have been upset with the owner, and believe a club of their size should be finishing considerably higher rather than scrapping near the bottom, close to teams with capacities less than half of their own. This includes Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion, with capacities of just over 20,000.
There have, and will continue to be protests by Premier League fans, who wish to watch their team, and pay a hefty sum to do so. There are worries of a decline in attendances due to the working class and young being priced out of going to matches.
Sky Sports released data showing the season ticket prices of all 20 teams in the league including highest and lowest prices for an adult season ticket. Looking at the cheapest season tickets, Arsenal were charging a minimum of £1035 and a most expensive season ticket of £2039.
The BBC reports that in Germany, Borussia Dortmund are beginning to steal fans away from the Premier League. It's stadium is able to hold up to 80,000, more than Old Trafford and has season tickets on sale for as little as £160, less than half the price of Aston Villa or Manchester City. Average Match day tickets at Dortmund cost as little as €30 (£13).
Priced out the game
Dortmund fans don't just get a better deal off the pitch either, they also have achieved greater success in recent years, having reached the Champions League final in 2012/13. And many have warned English clubs not to 'price out' the young and the working class or risk losing all atmosphere for which it became so famous. Fans such as the 'Kop' at Anfield were notorious for their loyal support, but this is in risk of being wiped out if nothing is done by clubs to make games more affordable again.
In the 'Price of Football Report' by the BBC, there is an report into English fans travelling to watch Borussia Dortmund who have found it cheaper to travel to Germany to watch a game than to watch their local teams.
Marketing director of Dortmund, Carsten Crammer, goes on to say about the supporters of Dortmund: "(It is) Not just the old people or the rich. That isn't the case in England."
In response to the argument that Arsenal are able to make considerably more income than Dortmund on match day even given 20,000 less capacity, he explains: "The fans are the most important, and (Dortmund) would not be able to charge prices like this."
"This way fits to the core values of our club. We are a very, very down to earth club."
The question is, given the revenue through TV deals and sponsorship, is there really any need to charge such astronomical prices? Could English clubs not start to follow the German method and bring back the supporters that make football the 'peoples game'?
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