Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

THE GREAT LONDON FANS RIP-OFF; Spurs' Cheapest Season Ticket SEVEN Times More Expensive Than Barcelona ? Gunners Have the Most Expensive Season Ticket in the Country -- PS2,013

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

THE GREAT LONDON FANS RIP-OFF; Spurs' Cheapest Season Ticket SEVEN Times More Expensive Than Barcelona ? Gunners Have the Most Expensive Season Ticket in the Country -- PS2,013

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Football Correspondent

WATCHING regular top-flight football in London hits supporters harder in the pocket than virtually anywhere else in Europe.

The BBC's annual study into the cost of football indicates that ticket prices have risen at almost twice the rate of the cost of living since 2011 -- a statistic that will anger supporters forced to make considerable financial sacrifices to watch their team.

At PS2,013, Arsenal offer the most expensive season ticket in the country, while their cheapest, which costs PS1,014, is well above the Premier League average of PS508.55. Spurs's cheapest season ticket -- PS765 -- is seven times more expensive than Barcelona's (PS103.38) while a Bayern Munich season ticket costs just PS109.65.

The trend is similar in most of Europe's top leagues although, bizarrely, AC Milan's costliest season ticket is an incredible PS3,597.93.

In the Premier League, the only other clubs who charge more than PS1,000 for a season ticket are Tottenham and Chelsea. The most expensive season ticket at White Hart Lane is PS1,895 , compared with PS1,250 at Stamford Bridge.

At PS97, Arsenal also have the most expensive match-day ticket, although the Gunners would point out that this represents a substantial reduction on their highest price last season, which was PS126.

The high premium of watching football at Emirates Stadium was highlighted last year, when Manchester City fan Richard Taylor held up a banner that read: "PS62!! Where will it stop?" during his team's 2-0 victory at Arsenal in January 2013.

BBC Sport's Price of Football survey has discovered that the cost of watching the game in England has gone up by 13 per cent, compared to a 6.8 per cent increase in the cost of living. Not every club is squeezing their supporters, however. You can snap up a season ticket at champions City for just PS299, while Charlton charge less than any other club in the top four divisions.

At PS150, a season ticket at The Valley is easier on the wallet than anywhere else between the Premier League and League Two.

Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire told BBC London: "It's part of our new strategy. Charlton don't have a lot of people in the stadium and we want to make football affordable for everyone. We're competing against a great deal of other clubs in London. We think PS150 is a very good price and also for Under-11s, it will cost PS25 for a whole season."

Charlton are just two points off the top of the Championship and Meire refused to confirm whether such a pricing structure could be retained if they win promotion.

She added: "If and when we win promotion, it's a different ball game. For the moment, our strategy is to get as many people as possible to the stadium. …

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