New Premier League Initiative Seeks to Alleviate Away Costs for Fans

In June, Premier League fans protested in London against the rising costs of supporting their clubs.

Greed

Protestors in London – Photo Courtesy of standard.co.uk

For much of the summer, supporters’ groups from England’s top clubs have voiced anger over the ever-escalating cost of attending a Premier League match. The displeasure has been such that, in June, supporters of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham alike united in London to protest against the increasing financial burden of supporting their favorite club.

Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly played a key role in organizing the protest, which was particularly driven by ticket price hikes in the aftermath of the Premier League’s massive, ₤5.5 billion TV rights deal, which went into effect this season. Now, it would appear that Liverpool Football Club themselves have led the response to the fan rebellion.

The club has announced that it will reduce prices for away fixtures over the 2013-14 Premier League campaign. Liverpool said the reductions would be instituted starting with the club’s next away match, against Swansea City on September 16, and that it had consulted with supporters’ group in devising them.

But the reductions don’t mean that the club’s pockets are absorbing a hit to keep fans happy. As part of a recent, ₤4 million initiative sourced by Premier League revenues, each of the division’s 20 clubs are receiving ₤200,000 to spend on improving the experience of attending away matches. For Liverpool fans, this means a ₤2 to ₤4 decrease in the cost of away tickets, depending on the opponent.

That may not seem much, but other clubs are sure to follow in allocating the cash — which essentially amounts to a subsidy from the Premier League — for ticket price reductions, cheaper travel or any other number of amenities. The moves will hopefully go some way to alleviating the financial burden on loyal fans of the world’s richest, most popular league; the Premier League reported that its stadiums were filled to 95% capacity over the course of last year’s fixtures, a number that would be nearly impossible to reach without fervent away support.

In any case, price reductions stemming from the initiative represent the Premier League’s response to criticism from fans and the media alike. Much has been made of whether modern English football has pushed working-class fans out, while Premier League ticket prices have been disfavorably compared to other European leagues, namely the Bundesliga.

Reporting on the business side of the world's game.