The price of watching West Ham

In the BBC Price of Football survey released earlier this year

West Ham have the 4th most expensive ‘cheapest season ticket’ in the Premier League at £640 behind Arsenal £985 Spurs £795 and Liverpool £710. Chelsea £595 Man United £532 and Man City £275 have cheaper season tickets available than West Ham. *West ham Renewal price was £620 & with 5% Loyalty Discount price £589

In the most expensive season ticket table West ham rank in sixth most expensive at £910 with only Arsenal £1955, Spurs £1895, Chelsea £1250, Fulham £999 and Manchester United £950 being more expensive.

West Ham’s cheapest league match ticket is £37 which is the second most expensive ticket behind Liverpool at £38. Chelsea’s cheapest League Match day ticket is £36 Man Utd £31 and Man City’s is just £20.

West Ham’s most Expensive Match ticket is £67 which the fifth most expensive in the Premier league. Only Arsenal £126, Chelsea £87 Spurs £81 and Fulham £75 are more expensive. Man City’s most expensive ticket is £58 & Manchester United £53.

However all of this pales into insignificant compared with what German fans pay. A season ticket in Bayern Munich’s standing section at the Allianz Arena costs just £104. Disabled fans, meanwhile, can watch their team all season at the Allianz Arena for just £67.

Bayern Munich is run as a private company it is 82%-owned by its fans, with the sports goods firm Adidas and car company Audi holding just over 9% each.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoenes said: ‘We could charge more than £104. Let’s say we charged £300. We’d get £2m more in income but what’s £2m to us?
‘In a transfer discussion you argue about that sum for five minutes. But the difference between £104 and £300 is huge for the fan.
’We do not think the fans are like cows, who you milk. Football has got to be for everybody.
’That’s the biggest difference between us and England.’

The FSF claim every Premier League clubs could cut the cost of every ticket by £32 due to the new income from TV rights deal.
They calculated the potential £32 decrease in ticket prices by taking the aggregate Premier League attendance for 2011-12, which was 13,148,465. They then multiplied it by three, which is the number of seasons of the new TV deal,giving 39,445,395.

FSF chair Malcolm Clarke said earlier this year “This figure shows what could potentially be done with this money,Yet we’ve just had new cost control measures, but no mention at all about how to tackle high ticket prices.”

However this is Karren Brady’s view on the subject of West Ham’s ticket pricing in August this year

“Last season, we were extremely proud to have recorded the club’s highest ever average attendance in its 118-year history – 34,720 across the 19 league fixtures. Achieving this was no mean feat, as any club working hard to drive attendance will know – it is not a simple case of introducing an attractive pricing strategy. This is key, but it must be supported by the product and work in tandem with the need to retain and reward seasonal supporters. The 17 consecutive sell-outs we enjoyed from October were a powerful endorsement of the innovative marketing and ticketing strategy we offered throughout the campaign. “

Since we became involved in football, David Sullivan, David Gold and I have been committed to offering affordable football to all. At Birmingham City, we pioneered the popular “Kids for a Quid” promotion now widely recognised throughout the game as a successful way to engender support at grassroots level. We feel passionately that people from all walks of life should have access to elite sport to enjoy, to inspire them and to encourage sports participation.

At West Ham I have developed this further to encourage lifelong support through a fully integrated fan-engagement strategy. Supporters coming to the Boleyn Ground for the first time receive a full information pack to enrich their experience. We follow up post-visit to find out how that experience was enjoyed and offer a range of targeted promotions to encourage repeat visits.

This has been a hugely successful initiative with a 40% increase in the number of first-time fans buying match tickets from the 2011/12 season. More than 25% have returned for at least one further game during the course of the season".

Obviously the pricing strategy has been successful in putting bums on seats for the last 20 matches but is it affordable football?


£200,000 to be spent on away fans.

The Premier League has agreed that each of the 20 clubs will spend £200,000 each on subsidising costs for away fans as part of a new £12m fund to halt the 10% decline in away fans.

West Ham announced they are looking at a host of offers, incentives and actions aimed at travelling supporters, including affordable tickets, reduced-price coach travel and enhanced match day experiences.

They also announced a commitment to six Kids for a Quid fixtures available to visiting supporters during the 2013/14 season.

West Ham are also investigating reciprocal ticketing arrangements with other Premier League clubs, as well as the significant benefits of reduced booking fees, ticket prices and coach travel for Season Ticket holders and members.

Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Swansea, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Sunderland have all offered either discounts or deals on tickets.

Free transport has been made available by clubs including Hull, Aston Villa and Stoke, with the latter offering complimentary coach travel for all of their away matches this season

The Football Supporters’ Federation says ticket prices are the priority for away fans. FSF chief executive Kevin Miles says “We launched a campaign last season, ’Twenty’s Plenty’. We believe £20 is a reasonable price to pay as an away fan. Once you add in travel costs, away fans shouldn’t be expected to pay £50 and more to go to watch their team,”

It is understood that Newcastle United preparing to announce a reciprocal deal by which they will charge any club’s away fans £20 for a ticket, if their own away fans are given the same deal.

Let’s see how many clubs including West Ham take Newcastle up on that deal?

Earlier this season West Ham got an Initial allocation at Newcastle of 2,000 tickets rising to 3,200 depending on demand

Tickets were sold at £27 Adults, £22 Over-65s/Students with valid ID & £13 Under-18s

FSF ’Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign


What is the FA Cup worth to West Ham?

Following on from my Capital One League Cup financial rewards article I thought I would explain the financial rewards of the FA Cup competition in comparison.

Unlike the League cup clubs earn money prize throughout the stages of the FA Cup.

Prize Fund

Third Round Proper winners: £67,500
Fourth Round Proper winners : £90,000
Fifth Round Proper winners : £180,000
Sixth Round Proper winners : £360,000
Semi-Final winners : £900,000
Semi-Final runners-up : £450,000
Final runners-up : £900,000
FA Cup Final winners : £1,800,000

The gate money for FA Cup ties is split 42.5% to each club, 10% to the FA Cup prize fund and 5% to the FA.

FA Cup TV & Radio Rights

ITV has 16 live matches including the final, where they have the first pick of every round. BT Sport has 25 live games including the final.

Below are the TV facility fees paid out to each club when their game is shown on TV Live, delayed feed or as TV highlights.

FA Cup Round Live TV Recorded TV Highlights

Third Round Proper £144,000 £72,000 £6,750
Fourth Round Proper £144,000 £72,000 £6,750
Fifth Round Proper £247,500 £123,750 £6,750
Sixth Round Proper £247,500 £123,750 £6,750

Radio Fees

Full Match (90 mins) £8,100
Half Match (45 mins) £4,050

Our entry into the third round proper is not until 4th January 2014 next year but looking at last season and our games against Manchester United this is what we approximately received in TV & shared gate income.

Under new FA rules the home club sets the price of the tickets whereas in the past the figure had to be agreed upon by both participating teams. In the case of a third-round tie, the minimum price set by the FA is £15.

The Boleyn home tie against Manchester United on 5th Jan 2013 achieved an attendance of 32,922 at £20 per ticket netting us around £279,987. As the game was also featured live on ITV we netted another £144,000 for LIVE TV plus the Highlights and Radio fees making a grand total around £438,837.

As we all remember that late Van Persie goal which broke our hearts and deprived us of another famous victory against Man United under the evening Boleyn lights but that draw was financially beneficial for the replay.

We played the replay on 16th Jan 2013 at Old Trafford in front of a crowd 71,081 priced at £45 per ticket. That one game netted us around £1.39m as the 42.5% percentage of the £3.19m gate. Again it was picked as the ITV Live game which bought it another £144,000 plus £14,850 in highlights and radio fees. So a total income around £1.55m for the night

So we disappointingly exited the FA cup at the third round proper but our combined income of around £2m over 2 games was financially worthwhile.

When you compare that West Ham stated in their 2006 financial accounts that our 2006 FA Cup run in which we were runners up generated a relatively modest £2.4m of income, net of bonus payments and other costs.

At the time the club said in its company accounts “When this figure is placed in the context of Premier League merit fees of £450,000 per league position it is perhaps clearer why, despite the tremendous excitement and sense of history generated by the club’s appearance in last May’s FA Cup Final, so many clubs now prioritise the league ahead of either cup competition”

The merit fees in the Premier League 2013/2014 season are set to be £1m per league position.


Is a league cup run really worth it?

I must stress I am writing this article from a purely financial basis rather than a football perspective before you shout me down. But as we all know football is now a money driven business whether we like it or not.

As the money rewards for the Premier league success or just survival get greater and greater the rewards for success in the Capital One League Cup reduce lesser and lesser from a financial perspective.

In the Second round of the Capital One League Cup this season we played Cheltenham at the Boleyn ground with an attendance of 23,440. Assuming an average ticket price of £10 that makes a total gate of £234,400. However each team gets 45% of the gate with the remaining 10% going to the Football league. Our approximate cut of the gate was £105,000 not including our ground expenses of paying staff, stewards, policing and the flood lights electricity bill.

In the third round of the Capital One League Cup against Cardiff City prices rose to £15 for a reduced attendance of 18,611 at the Boleyn ground bringing an approximate gate of £279,165. Again we only get to keep 45% of that so around £125,000 was banked less our ground expenses.

West Ham play Burnley away in the fourth round on Tuesday 29th October. Although Turf Moor holds a capacity of 22,546 they have an average gate of just 13,000 and their last Capital One match against Nottingham Forest in September bought in a crowd of just 6,405 at £15 per adult ticket. At those reduced numbers our 45% of the Gate could be around £43,000 for the fourth round,

The Capital One League Cup prize money is also very modest with the winners receiving £100,000, the runners up £50,000 and the two losing semi finalists get £25,000 each.

Sky bought the Football League TV rights for 3 years in 2012 for £195m but this is part of a much larger package including Football league games plus Capital One Cup and Johnston Paint Trophy games. Sky get 75 matches from the Football league including the Play off finals. Even this £195m deal was a £69m drop from the one football league negotiated in 2009.

The Sky TV rights for The Capital One Cup include just 15 games 5 of which include the two legged semi finals and the final itself. Although not published the TV facility fee for having your league cup game shown on Sky is thought to be a similar amount we received for Championship games which is £100,000 for a home game and £10,000 for an away game.

When you factor premier league player’s appearance fees, win and goal bonuses you start to wonder whether it is financially worth it in the early rounds which probably explains one of the reason that Premier league club’s often field a team of youngsters in the early rounds.

Only the league cup finalists earn significant income that would make a difference to a premier league club.

Each finalist earns £250,000 of TV income for the Wembley final plus 45% of the gate money which with a crowd of 90,000 assuming an average of £50 per ticket would bring £2 million to each team.

The Capital One League Cup winner qualifies for the UEFA Europa league whose prize money can be found below in Euros.

UEFA Prize Money

Group stage participation in the Europa League awards a base fee of €1.3 million. A victory in the group pays €200,000 and a draw €100,000. Also, each group winner earns €400,000 and each runner-up €200,000. Reaching the knock-out stage triggers additional bonuses: €200,000 for the round of 32 teams, €350,000 for the round of 16 teams, €450,000 for the quarter-finals and €1 million for the semi-finals. The losing finalists receive €2.5 million and the champions get €5 million.

Premier League Money

As for a comparison with the prize money for the Premier League it pales into insignificance. This season around £1.7bn will be split by the 20 Premier League clubs. I plan a future article to cover this in detail but roughly speaking each premier league club will get £42m guaranteed as a basic award. Every game shown on Sky or BT Sports will be worth £1.2m to each club and every position in the league will be worth £2.1m per place.

So if we are going to have a cup run can we make sure we win it!

Match Report

The Spurs Monstering: It was worth the 14 years of waiting

I was very fortunate to be one of over 3,000 West Ham fans at White Hart Lane on Sunday to witness our historic 3-0 win over our London arch rivals Tottenham.

How Sky did not pick our game as their live game over West Brom v Arsenal is beyond me!

We had not won at White Hart Lane since 24th April 1999 when Ian Wright & Marc Keller goals put us two nil up before David Ginola grabbed a consolation goal.

I say I was fortunate but not as fortunate of the 3,000 well behaved West Ham fans having a well humored party at Tottenham’s expense in the away end. I was in a box with my best friend & fellow season ticket holder John, very close to the Spurs home supporters but we were certainly not alone, by my estimation over 70% of guests in the boxes were hammers!

I am sure the media expected today’s headlines to be all about West Ham & Spurs fans behaviour but instead there are stories of the marvel of Sam Allardyce’s Plan B, the world class centre back Winston Reid and the young prodigy Ravel Morrison and his excellent solo goal.

Before the game we were warned in the boxes by Spurs officials not to openly celebrate any West ham goals and that there would be zero tolerance on use of the Y word. However a steward said that Spurs fans would get one written warning before being arrested while West ham fans would be arrested on the first offence. So much for equality!

From kick off West ham seemed to have the desire and we were playing it like a London derby whilst Tottenham players many of which are new to London seemed unaware of the passion and importance of this fixture. We held our own in the first half and stopped them playing their game which frustrated them. Even Jermain Defoe couldn’t put one over us this time.

When the first goal went in courtesy of Winston Reid on the 66th minute I immediately ran into the box with my fellow hammer John to jump up and down with the blinds drawn down out of site of the furious Spurs fans feet away from us. As an added bonus Winston is also in my Premier League fantasy team so I was grateful for the 15 points he bagged me too.

Just 6 minutes later after we had just taken our seats again we ran back into the box to celebrate a very fortunate Vaz Te goal. It was now two nil to the Cockney boys!

By now Spurs fans were leaving their seats in droves as West Ham fans sung ‘Is there a fire drill?’

But the best was yet to come and 7 minutes after Vaz Te’s goal we got Ravel Morrison’s amazing solo effort.

I hadn’t even made it back into my seat for this goal I was standing in the doorway of the box so I could celebrate this one properly as most of the Spurs fans had left by that point.

When full time came the West ham fans erupted with celebration in a ground largely devoid of Spurs fans. It was a magical experience which will go down in West Ham folk law.

Like tall fish stories I am sure it will be exaggerated & embellished over the years but that’s all part of the West Ham legend.

On the fans behaviour side, I spoke to a senior Spurs steward after the game. He said the West Ham fans had been well behaved and there were no reported incidents of racist chanting, songs or gestures like last year. There were a couple minor issues relating to drinking and two smoke bombs were let off but I am sure we can be forgiven for those small misdemeanors considering the result.

Spurs fans did not fare so well. Tens of thousands broke into song in defiance singing ‘Were Sing what we what!” followed by’ the ‘Y Word Army’ three times plus the Jermain Defoe Y word song twice
A Spurs steward told me that the police couldn’t be expected to arrest 20,000 Spurs fans but I understand one Spurs fan was arrested at half time in what was seen as a token gesture by the police to make an example of someone.

West Ham fans were completely surrounded by police in every isle during the game but they were not visible around the rest of the ground where the Spurs fans sung freely.

Before the game I put a £10 bet for a West ham win at 7/1, while collecting my £70 winnings in the queue I met a guy who put on £1 at 150/1 for a 3-0 win!

Later on Sunday evening while passing Liverpool street on our way home we found the West Ham fans in good spirits still celebrating in the Woodins Shades pub off Bishopsgate. They were still surrounded by police with video cameras filming their every move singing ‘Sit down if you love West Ham’ as they sat on the pavement with their beer looking slightly worst for wear.

A great day was had by all although my head slightly hurts this morning. Our West Ham players and fans were a credit to us and it was one of those rare fantastic days that being a West Ham fan is all about.

Sean & John at White Hart Lane

John & Myself post match at White Hart Lane

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