Premier League clubs will struggle to fill their stadiums this season
Top flight grounds will soon be emptier than Kerry Katona’s head
According to a poll in this morning’s Sun newspaper, an incredible 43 per cent of West Ham fans are planning to boycott their beloved club in 2008/09, with many arguing that they didn’t receive very good value for money last year. Upton Park has yet to sell out any of its three home games this season, and away tickets for this weekend are still available, something that would have been unheard of last season.
The reason for this lack of support isn’t so much a protest at the club (although in some cases it is), but a reflection of the hard times brought on by the credit crunch. According to a Virgin Money poll, the average cost of watching a game is now £106.21 when tickets, transport and food are taken into account. To put that in perspective for our American readers, that’s about $63,000, and for those in Middlesbrough, that’s a four bed semi.
On average, Premier League clubs have increased their prices by fourteen per cent this season, a necessary move when you consider Frank Lampard is paid approximately £1.04 per second (based on a 40 hour week). Such an increase means top clubs can continue to stay competitive, yet it also means the prawn sandwich brigade will have fewer lowly proles to look down on in the stands: nearly one in seven fans refused to renew their season tickets this year, and around 26 per cent of supporters will choose to spend Saturdays being dragged around crowded shopping centres instead of getting behind their team.
Clubs such as Bolton and Blackburn, on the other hand, have resisted the urge to increase prices massively above inflation, instead opting to reduce ticket prices and fill the seats that gathered dust last season.
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