Saturday, 3 September 2011

Non League Price Hikes

I went to an FA Cup match last night at a North West Counties League ground. Admission was up 20% since my last visit there only a short while ago. The week before I paid 8 quid to get in at the next 'step-up' at Evo Stik NPL Skelmersdale, this club also charged me 2 pounds for a programme that took less than 5 minutes to read (and most of this was blatant advertising for bathroom sealant).

I reckon Non League football is currently rising in price faster than the pumps at a BP Garage!

A lot of clubs are now raising admission charges anything between 15 to 30%.

Programmes are seeing 50% price hikes in some cases.

And don't get me going about single tea bags at Tea Huts.

I know clubs have to battle the recession and inflation the same as everybody else but why cane the ordinary person in the street who makes the effort and sets aside a bit of spare cash to pay through the turnstile? Lets be honest, a lot of people go to non-league because they simply cannot afford the pathetic inflated costs to watch League Football. I'm afraid some Non League clubs are starting out on the same road!

I recently attended 2 games in the Evo Stik NPL Division 1 North:
Skelmersdale v Mossley
Bamber Bridge v Clitheroe
If I include my overheads such as fuel as well as the increased prices at the ground these 2 non league games cost me over 60 quid!

Its simply too expensive.

I have a fear that attendances will drop significantly by the end of this season. An awful lot of people who enjoy going to a non league game for an affordable VALUE FOR MONEY cost will no longer be able to do it, especially if they are struggling to make ends meet and balance the books.

In a sporting world where spectators are normally ripped off as standard I always thought non league was different. That it treated its public with decency, understanding and respect, that this respect extended to reasonable pricing.

I fully understand that increased bills have to be paid and the clubs have little say in the bigger economic balls up. All I would ask is that when the clubs consider putting their prices up, whether if its at the gate, for a programme, even for a cup of tea, they do it with an understanding that the people who come and watch non league football are also having a bloody hard time (well, a lot of us are). By all means add a little onto the admission or the tea hut stuff etc but please make it less than 20, 25, 30% at a time!

Otherwise, I'm afraid some people will simply stop going. Not by choice....but because they (sadly) cannot afford it any longer.


Katy Cat said...

Hi Uwdi, interesting post - I think this is the trickle down effect of our Broken Economy to paraphrase D Cameron.

I'm serious: free-market idealogues (aka the feral capitalists) are progressively reducing the living standards of average people to the extent that income (as labour costs) has become completely dislocated from living costs because of the political economics of an elite (global institutions, City interests and much of the Conservative party: they are all in it together). Quite where it will end will be very interesting but more people becoming economic aware - and then economically active - would be a good starting point.

Michael said...

I've noticed prices begin to creep up in the north-east too. Whitley Bay have joined Spennymoor in charging £6, "to cover increased running costs" they say. At Division Two Chester-le-Street on Tuesday tickets cost £5, which is the standard price for the Northern League top-flight. Nothing as drastic as you've noticed but you do begin to wonder.
If they want to cover costs, non-league clubs should be looking at attracting new fans not penalising existing ones.

Anonymous said...

I understand 100% what you mean, we at chorley have upped our prices by a pound a 50p due to promotion, i think if we hadnt got promoted then the prices would stayed at £7.00 and £3.50, some of the cheapest in our league, i went to witton in april with chorley and was charged £5.50 what a rip. programmes also went up last year due to changing of the printers i believe but there are some good articles in our programme oh and i write for the programme now. just a thought for games why not try using the train, some say it is more expensive but for me it is cheaper then running a car

steve_e said...

I tend to think clubs at the lower levels do too little to promote themselves. They rely on charging the same 40 people 5 or 6 quid instead of charging 3 or 4 and getting 80 people in, which would generate more income and a better atmosphere.

They need to realise that they are competing with many other attractions and get competitive. Get some new people into the ground and give them a good experience rather than fleecing the regulars. I realise it's hard work and committees are already stretched but it has to be done or lots of little old clubs will be going under.

To put the other side of the story, I notice you only paid £4 at Darwen. That's a 20% decrease from last time I went there. Good luck to them.

RussWWFC said...

I agree Uwdi

Yesterday I paid

£12 for Bishops Stortford v Boston in the Blue Square North
Programme £2, Parking £1

Poor game

£7 for Cheshunt v Southend Manor
in the FA Cup
Programme £2
Dismal game, very poor programme

£6 for Hayes and Yeading v Tamworth
(half price due to be having a Wycombe season ticket)
Didn't bother with a programme as I only buy 1 for each ground (or keep a ticket stub)

Decent enough game, and a really nice club, been 3 times this season

Hodders said...

Must be agreed that a lot of non-league clubs are unfairly putting up prices and the like. Chester FC and FC Halifax are the biggest criminals of that ilk, ditto with Altrincham as you rightly said. Tis the one reason I've followed FC United [apart from being a member]; the programme has always been £2, and in the 6 years we've existed, the admission for adults has increased only once, from £7 to £8.

Karl | footysphere said...

There does seem to be a general malaise and resentment towards modern (league) football at the moment and there are many disaffected league fans.

Non-league as a whole has a great opportunity to attract these wavering supporters and turn them onto the joys of supporting their community club(s). Like Michael & Steve mention above clubs need to raise their profiles by means of better promoting what they're offering rather than raising prices.

David J. Pereira said...


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