West Ham have announced that they will be cutting their season-ticket prices for their first campaign in their new home, the Olympic Stadium.
Assuming they remain in the Premier League for 2016-17 the cheapest adult season ticket will drop to just £289, a huge reduction on this season’s £620-£940 pricing. For under 16s, a season ticket will cost a mere £99, with a family of four able to pick one up for £776, which equates to £41 per match.
As a result, Hammers fans will soon be blessed with the cheapest pricing strategy in the Barclays Premier League. Co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold are using the television revenue windfall to pass on savings – something that fan’s rights groups have been calling for with increasing vigour. Chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation Malcolm Clarke came out in support of the move, albeit with some concerns that will likely be shared by the majority of fans.
“Any reduction is welcome, so two cheers for West Ham for that … But before we give them three cheers, we await to see what they do about price categories, what they do about away fans and what they do with ordinary admission”, Clarke told the BBC.
The Football Supporters Federation protest against the Premier League wealth holders in March of this year – attended by Copa90 – made the point that the enormous new £5.1bn TV deal could and should pave the way for lower ticket prices. Karren Brady, speaking on TalkSport radio this morning, told listeners that West Ham “[are] selling a far superior product for less”.
Whilst it was no doubt meant in good faith, this kind of clinical terminology will no doubt be a big turn off to fans. In an era where the football experience is increasingly commodified at the expense of supporters, Brady would do well to avoid making the marketing process so overt. There is certainly the suspicion that this ‘appeasement’ of fans is merely a shrewdly repackaged marketing move, as the West Ham board attempt to fill an extra 20,000 seats – especially considering the club could be liable to pay millions in compensation for contravening European state aid laws. Regardless, the move is a welcome one, and an important first step in re-establishing the power of the disenfranchised fans of Premier League football clubs.
How do you feel about your club’s ticket pricing? Do you think this is an honest attempt to share TV wealth with football fans? Leave your answers in the comments below or tweet with #copafam.