Clubs warned over keeping fans

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Football News

The Premier League have warned that clubs will have to "work hard" to keep fans coming through the turnstiles during the credit crunch.

A number of clubs including Newcastle, Manchester City and Sunderland have announced season-ticket price cuts for next season or other incentives to bring in fans.

Others, including Arsenal and Tottenham, have announced price freezes while Chelsea are currently offering cut-price corporate hospitality deals.

This month's announcement of a £1.782billion domestic TV rights deal for 2010/13 has provided some long-term security for top-flight clubs, and enabled them to reduce ticket prices.

A Premier League spokesman said: "Last season's attendances were the highest for 50 years. That is a high-water mark and clubs are having to work hard to stay there and that's what these season ticket prices are reflecting."

Attendances have held up so far this season - the occupancy rate of Premier League grounds is just under 92% compared to just over 92% a year ago.

League chiefs remain confident that the incentives being offered by the individual clubs will prevent a big drop next season, although corporate hospitality remains a greater challenge, particularly for the big clubs - though they tend not to be affected by drops in general ticket sales.

The biggest price cuts have been announced by Sunderland and Newcastle - Sunderland have dropped season ticket prices by 10% and are offering junior season tickets for as little as £19 when bought with an adult's.

Newcastle on Tuesday announced an average 9% cut, while Manchester City this month revealed a 7% average cut and Portsmouth have slashed their ticket prices for next season by as much as 16% or £120.

Chelsea are offering money off hospitality packages while Blackburn - who cut prices by up to 33% two years ago - are also considering further cuts or a new incentive scheme.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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