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SBD Global/August 11, 2014/International Football

Rising Premier League Ticket Prices Could Cost League 'Generation Of Young Fans'

The Football Supporters' Federation said that EPL crowds could soon "die out" if ticket prices continue to rise, according to Duncan Geddes of the London INDEPENDENT. Football Supporters' Federation CEO Kevin Miles said that "English football risked losing an entire generation of young fans." The cost of top-flight football "has increased every year for more than a decade." This year, Premier League supporters will pay an average of £526 ($880) "for their club's lowest priced adult season ticket," an annual rise of 6.5%. Miles said, "Being a regular football supporter is a habit that's formed at a young age. If you keep raising prices, what you'll get when you look around the ground isn't what you had when you started, because you've priced out the whole generation -- you've broken that habit. And if the crowds keep aging, sooner or later they will die out." Last week, a study by budget advisers thinkmoney found that 18- to 24-year-olds "have an average annual disposable income" of £2,088 ($3,500). A season ticket "could now cost them up to a third of that," with Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and West Ham all charging more than £640 ($1,070) for their cheapest passes. Clubs in other European leagues, such as Germany's Bundesliga, "use their immense commercial income and cheap standing areas" -- outlawed in England -- to subsidize tickets for young people. German fans "can watch Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich all season" for only £104 ($170) -- less than the price of some tickets for a single Arsenal game. German football authorities "see the support of young and working-class fans as crucial." Tickets "are more affordable across the continent's top leagues." Last year, Serie A champion Juventus charged £291 for its cheapest pass while Barcelona and Real Madrid charged £172 and £177, respectively (INDEPENDENT, 8/10).
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