Ticket prices in Scotland have only gone one way in the last few years, leaving people wondering if the football is becoming too expensive for regular fans.
An Adult can’t attend a Scottish Premiership for less than £20 which is simply far too much money. The cheapest ticket in the Scottish topflight is at Motherwell FC which costs exactly £20, meanwhile the most expensive ticket unsurprisingly falls at one of the bigger clubs in the league as Rangers most expensive ticket is a whopping £52.
On a more positive note, there are clubs such as St Johnstone, St Mirren, and Motherwell who offer children tickets at fair and reasonable prices and some clubs give out free tickets if a paying adult enters also. But if the adult ticket prices are overpriced, it is surely defying the point of keeping things fair for everyone?
Last season especially, fans have shown their frustration about the ticket prices. There have been banners from near enough every SPL club as well as boycotts, little did the fans think they’d want to visit the stadiums and see their glorified clubs play despite at the time of writing boycotts being the pinnacle of the debate.
One of the most recent protests saw St Mirren fans dress up in Coronavirus suits at their game at Parkhead against Celtic with the banner reading “CON-£30”,
The “Twenties Plenty” campaign has been successful across the whole of Europe. We have seen Bayern Munich protesting by not attending the first five minutes of their game against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League after being charged £64, while other English Premier League clubs such as Aston Villa, Stoke City, Southampton and Newcastle have all displayed banners also.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster believes that prices are currently fair as we are continuously seeing a rise in SPL attendances each year, but as we enter 2020 the law of elasticity of demand is going to play a major role. For those who don’t know what this law is, it means if prices go down, the demand for ticket will improve while if prices increase less people will go and watch their side.
The Scottish Premiership has been dominated by Celtic for the last nine years, and before that it was always a two-horse race between the two wealthiest sides in Rangers and Celtic. The Parkhead sides biggest ever sale came just last year when they sold the highly rated Kieran Tierney to Arsenal for 24.3million, while Rangers most expensive departure was nearly half the value as Giovanni Van Bronckhorst left the club for Arsenal in the 2001/02 season. These fees are far more superior to any other clubs in the SPL, who could only dream to have money like that.
One suggestion to tackle ticket prices cost is by potentially forming a coalition between Scotrail, First Bus and the SPFL and now with action suspended, the timing is perfect to have a plan in place for the return after Covid-19.
In Germany, one of the best supported footballing countries, they have an excellent deal in place for supporters. Not only do they offer value for money in ticket prices, they also offer free transport to the stadium where the game is taking place.
The inconsiderate pricing in Scotland could begin right in front of the Scottish FA’s eyes. International football in Scotland was a well conversed national topic, but in recent years the extortionate prices have been driving fans away from watching their country.
The SFA came under huge fire from all around being branded as a ‘joke’ by the Scotland fans as they charged £30 to watch the Tartan Army play against the world’s lowest ranked nation San Marino in October last year. The run continued even further downhill in November when a mediocre 19,515 endured a 3-1 win at home to Kazakhstan.
However, credit must go to the chiefs as they dropped the prices to a reasonable £20 for huge play off leg against Israel in March. Hampden was near enough sold out as the country looked forward to seeing the national stadium rock again, but unfortunately due the horrible coronavirus outbreak all football has been cancelled for the last month. So where do we go from here?
Unfortunately the season has now prematurely ended given circumstances unforeseen, therefore a fair solution should be put in place for fans next season whenever that should take place.
There has been a lot of chat about season tickets for next season and what will happen in the most likely case that next season starts behind closed doors. The most popular topic at the moment is a ‘virtual season ticket’. It’s a brilliant idea if fans are able to watch their sides home and away games through a TV channel, but unfortunately some of the bigger clubs in Scotland such as Celtic are playing with their fans heart-strings.
Celtic have offered out virtual season tickets for those who are willing to renew because of the current pandemic and it hasn’t gone down well with a lot of fans. They are asking fans to pay full price on their season ticket with the only guarantee of “better quality”. Celtic are unfortunately thinking of money instead of fans and are making fans pay hundreds if no thousands of pounds with no guarantee of when they will be back in.
Another thing that is frustrating fans of the Parkhead side is that some households are having to pay from more than one season ticket, yet they will be getting all the codes which are clearly not needed because families will only need 1 code per household. Again, Celtic will not be giving any sort of discount or compensation with this.
On a more positive note, Lanarkshire sides Hamilton and Motherwell have a fantastic deal in place for fans. Accies are offering a live stream for £10 per week, with no season tickets needing to be bought. This is a fantastic idea as it allows fans who may not be ale to attend weekly the option not to buy a stream for a game they wont be watching.
Motherwell, who will be welcoming European football to Fir-Park, have offered a FREE live stream to every game that takes place behind closed doors and have also offered a partial refund on 2019/20 fixtures.
Although times are tough, a reasonable suggestion could be to discount virtual tickets in the next campaign and this even would offer attraction to those to who don’t come to games as much and just like the return of the prodigal son clubs will hope that fans will return to support them more enthusiastically. The break gives the board a fantastic opportunity to review ticket prices during the time off and if a correct decision is made, fans could rejoice and flood through the gates after the global pandemic is over and fans are allowed back into stadiums.