Championship: the most expensive league in the world for away fans?

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Away ticket prices in the Championship are once again under the spotlight following the Premier League’s announcement that the £30 cap will continue for another three seasons…

The Premier League announced last week that the £30 competition-wide cap on away ticket prices would continue for another three seasons and the cap, which is likely to save supporters millions of pounds, was welcomed by fans across the country.

Immediately after the announcement countless fans of clubs in the EFL Championship got in touch with the FSF via social media to ask the simple question: “Why can’t we have this in the Championship?”

The Premier League’s cap means that the Championship is now quite possibly the most expensive league in the world for away fans.

Last week, journalist David Dubas-Fisher looked at ticket prices across the division. Of the 386 Championship matches that are publicly available so far in 2018/19 season the vast majority of those games - 80 per cent - had standard, advanced, adult tickets priced at £30 or less. He also found: 

  • 80% of matches this season have standard adult tickets priced at £30 or under. However, that still leaves 20% (77 matches in total) that are more expensive
  • Some 33 matches had tickets priced between £35 and £40
  • The average cost of an away ticket stands at £27.04
  • The worst offenders are Leeds United who have charged visiting fans an average of £37.82 per ticket. Birmingham, meanwhile have charged £19.12
  • Leeds United fans are charged the most at £29.50 on average, followed by Sheffield United (£29.04). Reading are charged the least at £24.85.

It’s clear that a significant number of clubs of the division are charging away fans some eye-watering prices, seriously hurting the average away ticket price. Pricing in the EFL Championship remains a real problem for travelling fans.

The EFL refused to entertain the idea of a competition-wide price cap, saying that pricing was a matter for each individual club.

“Singling individual cases out can often draw inaccurate conclusions,” an EFL spokesperson said. “But the live football experience remains an attractive proposition to millions of people young and old; a fact that is testament to the effort clubs make in working with supporters to devise innovative ways to attracting fans into their stadiums.”

What conclusions are Ipswich Town fans, being charged £37 for their long trip to Bolton Wanderers next month, supposed to draw?

Championship representative on the FSF national council Teddy Bellamy, from the Millwall Supporters’ Club, says affordability in the division must be addressed.

He said: “In my eyes we have to do as much as we can to encourage young fans, particularly those in their late teens and early 20s, to attend Football League games and follow their local club.

“They are responsible for a large part of the atmosphere at football matches, are the future fanbases of clubs and are probably most susceptible to the glamour of the Premier League - particularly if they haven't fully developed a loyalty to any club yet.

“Small savings per match could potentially be crucial in encouraging younger fans to attend as they are often still students or in low-paid work.”

More comprehensive young-adult pricing has long been a campaign aim of the FSF and as long as fans are being stung by match-day categorisation and eye-watering ticket prices we’ll continue to raise the matter with the EFL and fight for more affordable pricing in the division.

“That appetite will always be there as football is our national game,” Teddy added. “And there are hundreds of thousands of fans across the country who are fiercely loyal to their club - that's no excuse to take the mick out of them.”

Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this blog.