Twenty’s Plenty, but Thirty Will Do.
The news that all 20 Premier League clubs had a secret meeting last week and unanimously voted in favour of a £30 price cap came as a big surprise to MOMS, the Football Supporters Federation and other supporter groups campaigning for a drop in ticket prices in light of the huge increase in Premier League TV revenue.
For starters, Premier League club reps weren’t scheduled to meet until March 23rd to vote and secondly, when they previously had a ‘mock’ vote, only 11 clubs were in favour, with a majority of 14 needed to pass the motion. From the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) and other supporter group’s intelligence, there was more than a handful of clubs that were steadfast against it.
Next season’s bumper new TV deal means clubs could give tickets to away fans for free and still be £38m richer each
A couple of weeks ago, MOMS had met with representatives of Premier League supporter group reps and the FSF in a London hotel to discuss a mass action before the mooted 23rd March meeting. The aim was to sway those three extra votes needed for a majority vote. We’d discussed several options, including a mass walkout by all fans on a particular weekend, but settled on a weekend of action on the weekend of March 19/20.
The meeting came days after Liverpool fans had caused a stir with their walkout on the 77th minute of their previous game, protesting against the Liverpool board’s announcement of ticket price rises for next season, which included a £77 ticket. Because of the protest, the Liverpool board had a rethink and the £77 ticket was no more.
Shaking the Apathy Tree
When it comes to ticket prices, some supporters over the past few months have made remarks to me like ‘well, it’s demand and supply’, ‘don’t go, if it’s too expensive’ and ‘they’ll never listen’, but what these fans fail to realise is that together, supporters make up one pretty powerful consumer group and can affect change.
What has traditionally divided supporters of different teams with their tribal natures is now smaller than the things that unite us. There is a solidarity now between supporters of different clubs now that perhaps didn’t exist even five years ago. We now meet to share knowledge and ideas, march together, as well as have the odd drink together.
THE £3.1bn increase of the new TV Deal equates to £75.17 for every fan, at every game across the three season deal.
The announcement of a £30 cap on away ticket prices for the next three seasons, didn’t happen because suddenly the clubs felt generous. It’s been the culmination of a lot of hard work from people who cared about making football affordable for future generations of match-going supporters and supporters who have traditionally gone to games but are now being priced out of the game.
Just from the point of view of the small contribution that MOMS has made nationally, we’ve been on two supporter marches to the Premier League offices (2013 & 2014), met with MPs at Parliament, been to numerous supporter conferences and meetings around the UK, paraded a Twenty’s Plenty banner at Villa Park, as well as continuously keeping Villa supporters in the loop.
(You can find all our coverage of supporter issues here on the site.)
The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) has long campaigned for cheaper tickets and wanted prices for away fans capped at £20.
FSF director of communications Michael Brunskill welcomed the announcement of an away cap, calling it “good news for fan groups around the country”.
He added: “This shows that clubs will listen to reasonable, well articulated mass movements.”
£30 Away Cap
The £30 away ticket price cap replaces the Away Supporters Initiative (ASI), which essentially was the Premier League telling the Premier League clubs to use £200,000 each to make going to away games cheaper for their fans.
Taking money off the ticket price was always going to be the most democratic option and removes any element of creative accounting from clubs. Also, it helps dampen the price hike that younger fans experience when they go up to adult prices, as several Villa supporters have complained about.
With the new TV deal coming in next season, the Premier League clubs really had to finally think about addressing ticket prices, with even the current Prime Minister recently questioning the greed of football industry and the need to address the ticket price issue.
Next season the TV deal will see the Premier League receiving a total of £8.3bn (2016-19) – made up of £5.1bn domestic rights and £3.2bn international rights, which marks an £3.1bn increase on the previous deal £5.2bn total running from 2013 to 2016 (domestic (£3bn) & foreign rights (£2.2bn))
The £3.1bn increase equates to £75.17 for every fan, at every game across the three season deal.
It’s a staggering amount and obviously with this ‘bonus’ money there is a huge opportunity for football clubs to show concessions for both home and away ticket pricing.
Villa supporters will now have to wait to reap the benefits of this capping with their team’s destiny being in the Championship next season, due to the Villa board and player’s incompetence this season. The bad news doesn’t stop there though.
Travelling supporters potentially will be paying more to watch second-tier football than top flight games next season. The BBC’s Price of Football study a few months ago found 13 clubs in the Championship charge £30 or more, for their most expensive away tickets.
It will be interesting to see if there are any knock-on affects in Championship club’s pricing, as obviously the Championship is not privy to such TV riches, although Aston Villa at least will receive a substantial parachute payment in the first season, before it decreases drastically in the next two seasons.
Lets hope the Villa, remember how they’ve let their supporters down in recent seasons and in an attempt to rally them for the promotion push next season, price tickets accordingly – home and away.
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid
Check out the original Premier League statement on the away cap here