The cost of attending football matches is something that is constantly debated by the media and fans alike. With the BBC now running their annual cost of football survey and the Premier League also running their own independent report the cost of football has arguably never been under so much scrutiny.
In November 2016, Southend United was criticised by local media for the price of their season tickets. The BBC report found that Southend’s cheapest season ticket was £50 more expensive than the next cheapest season ticket in League 1 costing £395. This fact can initially sound quite shocking, but what the BBC reporting and the initial media headline doesn’t highlight is that the shrimpers sit 16th out of 24 for the dearest season ticket, also at £395.
The BBC report also discovered that the average match day ticket price for League 1 is £23.37. For this season, tickets to Roots Hall for an adult come in at £22 in advance and £25 on the day. So pretty much bang on the average for the league. When you compare the match day ticket price to other clubs in the league we sit joint 13th out of 24. The franchise, Chesterfield, Coventry and Gillingham all have more expensive match day tickets than blues.
When you look a bit further than the headlines and dig a bit deeper into the figures there are a number of additional costs that these cost of football reports don’t tell you and that Southend fans actually avoid having to pay.
Southend United charge a flat rate throughout the ground, therefore it doesn’t matter where you sit in the ground you pay exactly the same. We’re actually one of the few clubs left that don’t employ complex tier ticketing systems. These systems help clubs offset the deficit of offering significantly cheaper tickets (like Gillingham who’s cheapest ticket is £12) by having ‘premium’ areas of the ground where fans pay a peach to watch the game from the best seat in the house. Clubs also vary the match day ticket price spends on who the opponent is with some games costing more to attend if one of the so-called ‘big’ clubs in League 1 is in town. These tiered ticketing systems, therefore, manipulate the report findings. I’m sure not all blues fans sat in the south upper or the centre of the east and west stands would be happy to pay a premium for these perceived best seats at the hall.
What the report also doesn’t highlight is the cost of being a club member which a lot of clubs now enforce in order for any fans to buy tickets. Likewise in order to get ticket discounts and therefore be applicable for these cheaper tickets fans have to pay to become members, these membership prices can range from £20 to £50 per adult.
So as always, the cost of attending football is complex and not always what it might seem but blues supporters can be confident that they’re actually getting a decent deal at the hall whatever the headlines might suggest.