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Monday, 20 July 2015

Ticket Prices

The ticket prices for the first two Home games have been announced by Forest and for some they make unpleasant reading.

£30 for a game against Rotherham seems insane. But this is the first game of the season and traditionally it brings with it a bumper crowd keen to take in their heroes after the long summer break. New players will be on show and a sense of optimism and expectancy brings in a few extra thousand. That is in normal years. An embargo brings less overwhelming player recruitment and the zeitgeist being one of indifference this is just another excuse for many fans to decide this season to be one they might save their money.

People have criticised the club for this. But the first game will always have been earmarked for a higher tariff. The next game on the Tuesday comes in at £24 which is a far more reasonable price. I’m not defending the prices, far from it, football in this country is horrendously expensive to watch, but more explaining the likely process behind charging so much for a game against a team that struggled last season and likely will this season.

The Walsall cup game similarly could be a lot cheaper, but fans seem to forget that both teams need to agree a fee for entry in cup games and Walsall may have thought that charging more would bring a better gate receipt for themselves. You could charge £1 and the League Cup game would attract a small crowd such is the apathy to that competition.

What I haven’t seen mentioned nearly as much is that Brighton are changing £32 for a Friday night game that’s on TV. Potentially for the same reasons, but that’s lunacy charging so much for away fans to go on a week night on a long haul trip. I think less people are bothered there as they know they can watch on TV, but it is ridiculous.

The Championship as a whole seems to have decided to charge a fortune for games this season. Sheffield Wednesdays prices were well publicised when they came out with up to £52 in extreme circumstances for a game (specific band in a specific stand – likely to be the Leeds match)

A quick look at a few of the prices for other clubs opening matches sees the general price being £28-£30 with Birmingham being £20-25 (although this is their lowest tier price, one assumes versus Wolves will considerably more) £30 looks like it might start becoming an average price for a prime Saturday game, which is ridiculous. That said to watch a band these days the standard price has gone up to similar levels. A film at the cinema will set you back around £12. Again, I’m not justifying prices, I’m merely pointing out everything has gone up to similar levels.

At the end of the day clubs aren’t setting prices willy-nilly. They set what they think is the going market rate, and the Championship is an exciting division. There’s a breed of fans that’d go near enough every game no matter the price and clubs know this audience is one to milk dry. That’s how they see us, as something to earn money from, not as something to serve.

This is how it will be. As more clubs in the Championship get taken over by speculators wanting to get to the premier league and invest, more clubs move away from having a community involvement. It’s a sorry state of affairs but that’s what it is. We discussed a month or two ago that half the Championship s clubs are foreign owned. The gap between being a business versus being a community pillar is growing wider. And with FFP the justification clubs use is now there no matter how ridiculous it is.

High prices are now the norm. And unfortunately it will take something pretty major to stop it.

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