Premier League Bows to Critics and Caps Prices for Away Ticketsby
Ticket prices for visiting supporters limited to 30 pounds
Prime Minister David Cameron expressed concern about costs
After fans protested the cost of tickets to English Premier League games, teams have agreed to cap ticket prices for visiting fans to 30 pounds ($42.61).
The 20 clubs agreed to a three-season deal today at the Premier League’s headquarters in London following a threat of a day of protests by supporters. The world’s richest soccer league has long drawn fire over the cost of attending games, and the new 8.3 billion pound television contract has only increased fans’ irritation. British Prime Minister David Cameron has also been critical, saying in February that the cost of attending games had become “a problem.”
Liverpool, controlled by Boston Red Sox-owner Fenway Sports Group, was forced to reverse a new ticket pricing policy after fans walked out midway through a home game with Sunderland in February. The American owners apologized for the price hike and revoked it. Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation in England, called that decision a “game-changer.”
“Clubs know that away fans have a unique status,” the league said in a statement. “They are essential for match atmosphere and stimulate the response from home fans that distinguishes Premier League matches from those of other leagues.”
Fans in the U.K. travel for games more regularly than fans of other European leagues; the home team sells tickets to away fans through the visiting club, but the revenue accrues to the host. A BBC study published in October found nearly half of the 20 clubs charged more than 30 pounds for their cheapest ticket to visiting fans. Arsenal have the highest-priced ticket for away fans this season at 64 pounds, according to the Daily Mail.
“We have fantastic support home and away,” Arsenal Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis said. “We know that following the club is a commitment and are always seeking to strike the right balance in our pricing.”
The U.K.’s leading fans group backed the move. “This shows that clubs will listen to reasonable, well articulated mass movements,” said a spokesman for the Football Supporters Federation.