If you aren’t completely oblivious to the BBC Sport website or Twitter you will know that Huddersfield Town were named for the second season in a row as providing the “cheapest match day experience”.
Once again it shows how much Huddersfield Town do under Dean Hoyle to keep in touch with the fans. However, it must be stressed that these figures that the BBC have produced, have been using promotional offers set up by clubs and that is what makes Town the cheapest in the league. The £10 offer, which will be in use against Charlton next week, has been added to the price of a programme, pie and cup of tea making a total cost of £17.80. That is just 20p cheaper than Derby County who offer the same promotional offer but charge a bit more for a brew.
That is great news for the club as they are clearly doing some things well to try and draw in new fans and provide financial relief to fans who can’t make every game. The Pic ‘n’ Mix initiative that has is being trialled this season is another step in the right direction, but as my previous blog showed, there are many areas where the club could improve and it could even be said that they are failing some fans and perhaps losing quite a bit of revenue.
Whilst some fans will enjoy the news of town’s value for money and the promotion the club are seemingly getting, others have questioned the validity of the BBC survey and rightfully so.
Surely a survey on the price of football should be based upon the normal match day prices that fans have to pay if they want to go watch a game, rather than have to wait for promotional offers. So this afternoon, whilst under Doctors orders to be in bed, I got bored and researched every Championship clubs match day price. The results are quite interesting and show that Huddersfield Town don’t provide the cheapest match day experience in the Championship.
Note: All Match day prices used in my survey are from the middle of the category system or from the category that a club will play its most games in. (For Example: I have used Huddersfield Town’s category B – the middle prices)
Also I have used the middle prices from each clubs stands. (For Example: Huddersfield Town’s Britannia Rescue stand is the third cheapest of five stands, therefore the middle price)
*** In the case of clubs who charge extra for paying on the day, I have chosen to use the cheaper price you can get by buying in advance. (also note I have not included the price some clubs charge for ordering online via ticketmaster and the price some clubs charge for postage or delivery) ***
As you can see from above it shows that Wigan Athletic clearly offer the cheapest match day experience and to say they were in the Premier League last season, the FA Cup holders and currently in Europe, that is a fantastic offer. Town meanwhile, are languishing amongst quite a few clubs in mid table, who all offer a match day experience in around the £33-£34 region.
So how can Huddersfield Town attract the floating fans? Due to Financial Fair Play the days of cheap season tickets and Hoyle bank rolling the club are gone,to become sustainable the fans have to pay a bit more whilst the club make sure the finances are well run. In reality it’s hard to expect many fans to regularly pay in the region of £30+ to go to the odd game here or there. Initiatives like ”Pic’n’Mix” and promotional offers are certainly a step in the right direction, but to regularly get bums on seats then the football on the pitch has to be attractive and successful and prices have to remain low.
Until these things happen then fans who can dedicate time and money to the club will continue to complain about fans not turning up. Sadly we live in a world now where disposable incomes are limited and fans who want to watch football have to pick and choose games.
What the BBC survey has shown is that clubs like Town and Derby County offer fans some occasional respite to their pockets. However, my research has shown that except for the odd occasion where the club offers promotional prices then watching Town isn’t that cheap. In fact for a few hours of a match day experience it is rare that you can get to a game for less than £30, no wonder armchair fan numbers are seemingly increasing.
Do Town really offer the cheapest match day? Seemingly not, but perhaps a few times a season.
What are your thought about these and the BBC’s findings? Whilst Town and other clubs do offer some relief to fans pockets can more be done? Or is it down to the FA, Football League and Premier League to make sure that fans aren’t put out for players wages and clubs clamouring for success? Please feel free to comment.