Are attendances in the Football League dwindling due to an increase in ticket prices? According to research from the BBC, the average cost of the cheapest adult season ticket across the top four divisions has risen by 11.7% over the last 12 months.
So then, has this price increase affected attendances in the Football League? Well if you look at certain clubs within the Championship, League One and League Two it certainly looks that way.
An example of this is Derby County. In the 2011/12 season Derby’s average attendance stood at 26,020 in the Championship. Then for the first time in seven years they increased the prices of season tickets by 10%, and now for the 2012/13 season their average attendance has dropped to just 22,194.
This suggests that some supporters have been put off by the 10% increase and have decided not to purchase season tickets this season.
Even though Britain remains in difficult financial times, football clubs are still charging fans high prices.
“Despite the difficult economic times we live in, prices at some clubs and at some levels of the game are still exceedingly high,” Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said.
Of the 72 Football League clubs, only two clubs offer a day out for less that £20. Those clubs are Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United. This is a stark contrast to last season where 12 clubs could offer a day out for under £20. As a result, average attendances on the whole are down in the Championship, League One and League Two this season.
14 of the 18 clubs that were in the Championship for both the 2011/12 and 2012/13 season have seen their average attendances drop this season. This is a stat which suggests that more fans are turning their backs on clubs because the prices to go to matches are not affordable.
It is a similar story in League One where 16 of the 18 clubs that were in that league this season and last have seen average attendances drop. The same can be said in League Two also where, like the Championship, 14 out of the 18 teams have lower average attendances this season as opposed to last.
So to conclude, these statistics show that on the whole attendances are down in the football league compared to last year. More and more fans are staying away because they feel that they are not getting value for money. Fans may go to the odd games throughout the season instead of purchasing a season ticket because they are simply unaffordable.
Clubs need to start thinking more about the fans. Clubs like Sheffield United who have various offers on for example ‘quid for a kid’ often get good crowd attendances from this and more clubs should follow suit.