Mar
31
2011

Singing In The Cheap Seats

This article and its information was accurate at the time of writing (20-08-2010)

Following the announcement of the ticket prices for the upcoming derby match against Sunderland at St James’ Park, there have been a few discontented voices about the increase in price. The club has set the ticket price at £42, a £17 increase on the previous ticket prices for the home matches against Stoke and Blackpool. First thoughts were that Mike Ashley has raised the price of the tickets because of the opposition, knowing that a fixture against our local rivals will result in a sellout regardless of the price of tickets, and is cashing in on the loyalty of both Newcastle and Sunderland fans. £42 to watch the mackems!

After releasing the ticket prices, the club took the opportunity to defend themselves on the official website:

The Club operates a number of different ticket price categories based on the expected popularity of a match. The home match versus Sunderland is in our top ticket category with a ticket in the Gallowgate or Sir John Hall Stand costing £42 for adults. To balance this however, an adult ticket for our lowest category match costs £25 in the Gallowgate or Sir John Hall Stand.

Essentially, if you want to see Newcastle play against Sunderland, Manchester United or any other team  that falls into the top ticket category you can expect to pay £42, whereas if you want to see Newcastle play against Blackpool, Stoke or any team that falls into the bottom  ticket category you can expect to pay £25.

This is a pricing strategy that is common in other forms of entertainment – if you want to see a top musician you pay top category ticket prices, if you want to see the best comedian you pay top category ticket prices, now in the Premier League if you want to see the top football matches you pay top category prices. This is an approach that is not just being taken up by Newcastle United, but 17 of the other 19 Premier League clubs who are also using a ticket pricing structure based on the perceived quality of an opponent/match, the only exceptions being Blackpool and Manchester United.

So how do Newcastle’s ticket prices compare to other Premier League clubs and are the fans being overcharged for the top category matches, such as the derby against Sunderland?

Top Category Ticket

The table below compares the cheapest adult ticket for top category matches, the price it will cost fans to see the likes of ‘The Big 4’, Tottenham, Man City and local rivals, from cheapest to most expensive:

PositionClubCheapest Ticket (top category)
1Aston Villa£25
2Bolton Wanderers£27
2Manchester United£27
4Blackburn Rovers£28
4Wigan Athletic£28
6Sunderland£29
7Birmingham City£30
7Wolves£30
9Everton£33
10Blackpool£34*
11Fulham£35
11Stoke City£35
13Newcastle United£42
13West Brom£42
15Liverpool£43
16Tottenham Hotspur£44
17Arsenal£48
17Manchester City£48
19Chelsea£51
19West Ham United£51

*Blackpool tickets are sold in packages of 3 for £102

Newcastle charge £42 to see top category matches, which ranks them at joint 7th most expensive compared to other Premier league clubs and £5.50 above the average top category ticket price of £36.50.  Considering that our neighbours Sunderland charge £29 for their top category matches, £42 seems on the expensive side for a newly promoted side who are trying to win back fans after recent lower than usual attendances

Elsewhere, at the higher end of the price scale, West Ham and Chelsea charge an astronomical price of £51 with Manchester City and Arsenal not far behind with their prices of £48.

At the lower end of the price scale there are pats on the back for Aston Villa, a side who have regularly finished in the top 6 recently but who haven’t cashed in at the expense of their fans (take note Tottenham and Man City) by raising the price of their tickets, pricing them at only £25. Other clubs with low ticket prices include poor attendance magnets – Bolton (£27), Blackburn (£28) and Wigan (£28). The ticket prices at Manchester United are the same for each game and the cheapest ticket is available for £27 putting them in the cheaper bracket.

Bottom Category Ticket

The table below shows the cheapest priced adult ticket for bottom category matches, the price it will cost fans to see the likes of Blackpool, Wigan and Bolton, from cheapest to most expensive:

PositionClubCheapest Ticket (bottom category)
1Blackburn Rovers£17
2Aston Villa£20
2Birmingham City£20
2Bolton Wanderers£20
2Wigan Athletic£20
2Wolves£20
7Sunderland£23
8Fulham£25
8Newcastle United£25
8Stoke City£25
8West Brom£25
12Manchester United£27
13Everton£29
13Tottenham Hotspur£29
15Arsenal£33
16Blackpool£34*
17West Ham United£36
18Liverpool£37
19Manchester City£39
20Chelsea£46

*Blackpool tickets are sold in packages of 3 for £102

Newcastle charge £25 to see bottom category matches, which ranks them at joint 8th cheapest compared to other Premier League clubs and £2.50 under the average bottom category ticket price of £27.50. Newcastle appear to have their pricing just about right in comparison with other Premier League clubs for bottom category matches.

Chelsea and Manchester City are again guilty of charging the most with £46 and £39 respectively, while Blackpool’s consistent ticket price of £34 puts them in the top 5 for the most expensive bottom category matches.

Blackburn charge the least at a bargain £17, while fellow low pricers Bolton and Wigan are joined by 3 clubs from the midlands – Aston Villa, Birmingham and Wolves who all charge a respectable £20.

Season Ticket

This table shows the cheapest priced adult season ticket from cheapest to most expensive:

PositionClubCheapest Season TicketCost per Match
1Blackburn Rovers£209£11
2Wigan Athletic£250£13.16
3Newcastle United£330£17.37
4Bolton Wanderers£339£17.84
5Aston Villa£350£18.42
6Birmingham City£360£18.95
7Fulham£369£19.42
8Sunderland£380£20
9Blackpool£382£20.11
10Stoke City£399£21
10West Brom£399£21
12Manchester City£420£22.11
13Everton£443£23.32
14Manchester United£513£27
15Wolves£522£27.47
16Chelsea£550£28.95
17West Ham United£585£30.79
18Tottenham Hotspur£650£34.21
19Liverpool£680£35.79
20Arsenal£893£34*

*taking into account the 7 cup games included as part of an Arsenal season ticket

Newcastle offer the 3rd cheapest adult season ticket in the Premier League,  recognizing that fans in level 7 may not enjoy as good a view ( or even vertigo) and lowering their ticket prices accordingly, a mentality which is not matched at Old Trafford. The price of £330 at St James’ Park is £121 cheaper than the cheapest average season ticket of £451.

The cheapest available season tickets apart from Newcastle are at Blackburn (£209), Wigan (£250), Bolton, (£339), Aston Villa (£350), Birmingham (£360) and Fulham (£369) where the cost per match works out at a bargain £20 or less.

The cheapest available season ticket at Arsenal costs £893, followed by high prices at Liverpool (£680), Tottenham (£650) and West Ham (£585). It’s staggering that these are the cheapest available tickets at these clubs, especially West Ham who are hardly setting the Premier league alight with their football.

It’s worth mentioning that the table above looks at the cost for new season ticket holders only. It doesn’t take into account early bird ticket offers that some clubs including Newcastle, Wolves, Sunderland and Bolton offer to season ticket holders who can get cheaper prices if renewing before a certain date.

Overall Comparison

The table below uses the ticket prices for top category tickets, bottom category tickets and season tickets, to compile an aggregate overall ranking, 1 being the cheapest and 20 being the most expensive:

PositionClubRanking
1Blackburn Rovers2
2Aston Villa2.67
2Bolton Wanderers2.67
2Wigan Athletic2.67
5Birmingham City5
6Sunderland7
7Newcastle United8
7Wolves8
9Fulham8.67
10Manchester United9.33
11Stoke City9.67
12West Brom10
13Blackpool11.67
13Everton11.67
15Tottenham Hotspur15.67
16Manchester City16
17Arsenal17.33
17Liverpool17.33
19West Ham United17.67
20Chelsea18.33

Not surprisingly Blackburn are the cheapest Premier League club for ticket prices and Chelsea are the most expensive. The real winners appear to be Aston Villa fans who follow the 2nd cheapest club and who can expect to enjoy regular European football, whereas the losers appear to be West Ham fans who have to watch a season on season relegation battle for the 2nd most expensive prices in the League.

Of course, there are other factors that can affect ticket pricing such as player wages, location and demand. For example West Ham can charge higher prices because they have a higher wage bill, a strong fanbase and are based in London where it tends to be more expensive, whereas Blackburn have low ticket prices as they have a lower wage bill and to bring in fans as they don’t have as strong a fanbase, helped in no small terms by being in such close proximity to other Premier League clubs Manchester United, Manchester City and Bolton.

However, with 18 out of 20 Premier League clubs basing their ticket prices on the perceived level of entertainment and opposition then this appears to be the main factor in setting ticket prices, the findings reflect this; Blackburn fans who pay for the cheapest ticket prices are witness to Allardyce’s anti-football whereas the Chelsea fans who pay the most expensive ticket prices get to enjoy Ancelotti’s free-scoring style of football.

Newcastle are just above average as the joint 7th cheapest club in the Premier League for ticket prices, a term that could also sum up their performances so far this season. However the ticket prices for top category matches are above average in comparison with other Premier League clubs and are a massive jump in price of £17 from bottom category matches.

It would be helpful if the club clearly communicated price categories and that some matches would be more expensive than others. As this wasn’t clear, the club were asking for trouble as 3 bottom category matches against Blackpool, Stoke and Wigan followed a top category match against Sunderland and a sudden £17 increase, of course the fans were going to be unhappy and ask questions. This could have been avoided.

In comparison with other Premier League clubs,  Newcastle’s prices are in my opinion fair and reasonable, but an effort to bring the price of the top category tickets down by £4-£5 would  narrow the price between top and bottom category prices and would be a big step to winning over fans who have been put off by the current £42 price tag.

This article and its information was accurate at the time of writing (20-08-2010)

About the Author: Ryan Davison

Ryan is an NUFC Season Ticket holder. He is also a co-founder, editor and blogger for NUFC and football blog LeazesTerrace.com. You can find him on twitter: @ryan_davison

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • wow i love new kit for newcastle i give newcastle united fc 100%

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