Are football clubs exploiting their fans

Posted by Sam Twyford in Personal Finance on 8 January 2018 - Sam is a Product Manager at checkmyfile

With Premier League teams under huge pressure to remain in the top flight of English football, the amount lavished on transfer fees and player wages have soared in recent years.

Despite multi-billion-pound broadcasting deals that leap in value every few years, the need for clubs to maximise revenue wherever possible has seen the cost of actually attending games reach eye-watering levels in some cases.

Thankfully, it does seem that clubs are starting to remember that football without fans is just a game, not an industry.

The most recent BBC Price of Football study found that over 80% of Premier League tickets either being frozen in price or reduced for the 2017/18 season, reaching their lowest levels since 2013.

There’s a huge amount of variation in price depending on your team (Huddersfield offer the cheapest season ticket at £100, while Arsenal’s most affordable is still one of the league’s most expensive at £891), but no matter how you look at it, it’s a large chunk of money to part with in one go.

That said, the cost doesn’t (yet) seem to be harming season ticket take-up. A number of clubs, including Arsenal, West Ham Liverpool and Man Utd (where an estimated 75,000 people are in the queue) have waiting lists.

Given the large up-front cost of a season ticket, many clubs offer payment plans, allowing fans to spread the cost over a number of months. This doesn’t come cheap though. Finance ‘partners’ such as Zebra (working with teams like Arsenal and Southampton) or V12 (West Ham and Spurs) charge interest of around 6-8%.

Financing for season tickets

For that reason, it’s not uncommon for people to turn to a credit card to help pay for a season ticket. This lets people pay off their ticket at a speed that suits them, especially if using a new card that has an introductory 0% rate. By clearing the debt within the 0% period, you won’t have to pay a penny in interest compared with that of the finance offered by official club finance partners. This saving could go a long way especially if prices start to rise again for the 2018/19 season.

In both cases – either through an official season ticket payment plan, or a credit card, you’ll face a credit check when you apply. Any negative information, and you could see your chances of attending home games scuppered, especially if you’ve left it to the last minute to apply.

To see how you’re likely to fare and to avoid any nasty surprises, you can see what lenders and make sure that your credit report is free of errors with checkmyfile. You can try it free for the first 30 days and then costs £14.99 per month until you cancel, which you can do at any time online, or by phone or email.

Updated 08/01/18 by Richard Catlin

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