COS new boy Jodo ponders the benefits of *gasp* cheap football tickets.
On 22nd October Blackburn Rovers host local rivals Bolton Wanderers at Ewood Park and Rovers will introduce their new cut-price ticket initiative. The scheme will see adult ticket prices drop for the day to Â£15 (from the customary Â£32) and concessions will be able to watch the fiery local derby for only Â£5 (dropping from Â£13 and Â£20 for children and pensioners). Older visitors to this site will be able to recall when these prices were viewed as expensive themselves but in todayâ€™s modern business focused game they are seen as somewhat of an anomaly.
Football is becoming a more expensive hobby every season with London clubs seemingly the worst offenders for extortionate entry fees. A ticket to see a Chelsea match will come in at somewhere between Â£35 and Â£60, although even this isnâ€™t the most expensive seat on a Saturday afternoon with Tottenham angering their fans by charging up to Â£70 for a chance to see some high class entertainment (?). Similarly at Upton Park the most expensive match-day ticket is Â£53, which is more than twice the comparable price at their recently promoted counterparts, Wigan. A fan could watch Paul Jewellâ€™s men from as little as Â£17, the lowest price in the Premiership. Iâ€™m not debating the fact that a higher average wage in the south of the country helps to contribute to this pricing structure but is that reason enough for such a drastic variation.
Blackburn chairman John Williams has decided to take this step after much discussion with fans, and various feedback received concerning an alarming in drop in attendances at Ewood Park. The average attendance for Blackburn Rovers has dropped over 1,500 from last season and they were hardly attracting full houses even then. Williams has said:
“Normally clubs may discount what they view as a low profile game but we are doing something radically different here because this is a Lancashire derby and a match fans want to see.
“We are hoping for a full house as both sides have started the season well and all the feedback from supporters is they want to watch games in packed stadiums because it creates a better atmosphere.”
Is this innovative idea something that fans from other clubs would like to see brought in at their club? Would this help to increase attendances all over the country, particularly in predominantly working-class areas? Would season ticket holders feel like they are missing out? Would fans, players and board members all be happy to have a better atmosphere with more fans? Or would you have to stage the game in some peopleâ€™s back gardens to drag them out of the pubs and back to the stadiums?
You’d be hard pressed to find a supporter who wouldn’t want to see the game once again become accessible to the everyman, but it might be a while before such fan-friendly, initiatives find their way to the rest of the Premiership.