The audiences you see on television don’t pay for tickets to those shows.  The reason for that is the vast majority of shows are so bad that nobody would pay to go and watch them.

However, the BBC and ITV are selling a product to a wider audience than that.  They want the viewing public at home to be fooled into believing that what they are watching is of some value.  So there are websites where the public can apply for free tickets to be herded into shows and told when to laugh and when to cheer and applaud but never to boo or to express any dissatisfaction.

It’s always funny to me when the facade slips and a show cuts back to the audience in silence for a beat, before they’re reminded of their job and start whooping and hollering.  Big brother do that better than anyone.  100 people stood silently miserable in a cold damp car pack at half ten on a Friday night suddenly flare up like they all won the lottery.  What are they cheering?  The end of the adverts?  No, that’s the bargain, you get free tickets, you see Davina McCall, you do as you’re told and legitimise the show.

The news that West Ham are slashing season ticket prices in their new stadium tells us that Premier League football is heading the same way.  When the new TV deal begins in 2016 their cheapest season ticket will more than half in price from £620 to £289, from £32 a game to £15.  What were once supporters are now only fans.  The finance they provide a club is no longer of any significance to the club’s survival.  Like TV shows, clubs are not beholden to the audience on location, but to the viewers at home.

Newcastle are in the same boat as West Ham and a dozen other clubs.  Mike Ashley has made a song and dance about freezing ticket prices for those that commit for 10 years, but in reality those that didn’t commit long-term have rarely seen an increase anyway.

In the Gallowgate and Leazes ends season tickets are already £24 less than they were 3 years ago.  Season tickets are slowly following the trend of single tickets and getting cheaper rather than more expensive.  Why, if the league is more popular than ever?  It’s there for all to see  in the TV show model.

Like most TV shows, clubs outside of the top 6 or 7 are not worth watching.  They are not looking to thrill, to entertain, to compete, to win.  These are clubs jostling with each other just to survive, set up not to lose games primarily and if they scrape the odd win here and there, it’s enough.

Without actually striving to captivate a crowd, other methods have to be used to attract people and have them make some noise. The home audience will not stand for quiet empty stadiums.  Some clubs have started to play music after a goal, just like the “laugh” card being held up on the set of a TV show and in lieu of the roar that would have greeted a goal in years gone by.

And like TV shows, clubs can’t attract crowds to this sporting capitulation while charging even reasonable ticket prices.  Prices will continue to go down at clubs in line with the quality of product on display. It’s the only way of ensuring seats remain populated on camera to give the appearance of a product worth paying for.

ticket prices

Judging by the West Ham announcement, Premier League football could be cheaper to watch in person than Championship football from 2016.  If those in the second tier have to drop their prices further, how much lower can League one and two clubs go while still being able to employ professional players?

As supporters we demand cheaper tickets, but care needs to be taken for the wider good of the game to ensure that the majority of tickets are sold for a fair price, not given away like West Ham are tending towards and not inordinate as visitors to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have seen for themselves.

The debasement of what it is to be a supporter of a club in the Premier League has ramifications throughout the game in England and will inevitably lead to professional clubs without either TV riches or matchday income becoming unsustainable.

It is vital that we don’t allow ourselves to be bought by TV money like the owners of our clubs already have, we must make our dissatisfaction heard, we must ensure that supporters have representation in the boardroom of every club so that the entire fanbase is not devalued to the point of becoming Saturday Night Takeaway style automatons.

#standuptoashley #20plenty

Thanks to Chris Holt for another excellent piece and you can visit his blog HERE, plus you can follow him on Twitter @MikeAshleyLies

  • Alexh1984

    I always like reading your articles and this is another good one.
    All I would say is that in other countries, germany for example, the tickets are way cheaper. I think Dortmund do a season ticket for £109. The atmosphere there looks incredible though.
    On that basis I think cheaper tickets are a good thing.
    Where they aren’t are at clubs like our own. Without a shread of ambition they are being used to fill the ground.
    West ham at least show some attempt at being a football club who try to progress on the pitch and will probably spend relatively largely before they move.
    There has to be a reason clubs like spurs, west ham, Liverpool are all striving to get bigger stadiums and that can only really be financial. More stadium visitors means more spend in the club shops, bars etc. more jobs created in the local area, more visitors growing the local economy and so on. All things other clubs take seriously but what won’t be at NUFC as it isn’t beneficial to SD

  • Marklp

    A whole generation of Toon fans have been priced out of SJP. Cheap tickets would be an excellent way of giving the club back to these fans. Cheap tickets and a large standing areas at the bottom of leazers and gallowgate ends is the way forward.

  • SGM

    Cheap tickets are a must, less corporate more kids.

    Also: season after season the bottom of the table is far more exciting than the top.

    Who cares who wins its the same old, same old.

    Who’s got the bollix to stave off relegation is what matters.

  • Harry Todd

    Low prices try Fifty six pounds at Chelsea and Man Utd, fifty two at Liverpool and mid forties at West ham,
    Man City and QPR and it is quite clear that you do not attend away games.If that’s cheap let me know the ideal price.

  • Chemical Dave

    Am surprised you have time to go to away games as your medical expertise must be a drain on your free time ? You are utter scum by the way, time to change your username…again ?

  • GToon

    SGM Aye. Can’t stand the media trying to whip up a frenzy at the start of the season about who might win the league. They should literally just give it to the club with the most money. The bottom of the table is great, you are right. And we are featuring in it!!!! Also the biggest game isn’t even in the EPL – its the Championship playoff final.

  • snodgrass2

    Don’t worry. Football is killing itself.Remember why the world wanted
    to tune into our game? Fast furious competitive aggressive. That’s what
    made it a product worth having. Look at it now. Gamesmanship and foreign
    influx.Highlight of most games is the possession factor. 70% possession
    is praised even if you never left your own half! Boring games where 6′
    4″ players fall screaming to the floor when a mighty 5′ player gets too
    close. Commentators encourage the myth….” Oh there was contact” when
    everyone can see from the second to the twelth replay there was none.
    Games are held up at the most crucial exciting times because of feigned
    injury to stop the play. The foreign influence has slowed our game to a
    near standstill. (Arsenal Chelsea anyone?) Look at our crowds. Where is
    the fervour the testoserone? Gone. Our game is dying. When Sky move on,
    as they surely will, we may not be able to resuscitate it

  • terriertwo

    Go back forty years and cap the players wages. I pay good money to support my team. They turn up and do very little and go home with a sack full of gold. Pay them a basic wage with incentives and maybe then they will pull their fingers out and put a shift in.

  • Marky_Marc77

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag
    A good read, Ashley has already got the whole L7 as ‘Family Enclosure’ I can see it happening in other stands.

  • worrichy

    NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies utter cobblers, the money from TV massively outweighs ticket returns cheap or not. Cheap tickets in Germany

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag that’s exactly the point i make. Fans are no longer the lifeblood of a club.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag Without any reliance on paying supporters quality will drip and clubs will attract disinterested tourists.

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag yes but that’s nowt to do with how much it costs. Lots of young lads in Walker & Byker would love to go

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag …they would sing their hearts out but they’re priced out of attending on a regular basis

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag the only kids that go are those taken by their parents & tend to be better off

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag kids tickets are available for £5 and adult £17.
    Prices that need to drop are for away fans and top category games

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag Also say in the article that the club have no incentive to put a product out that deserves any singing at all.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag that’s why sjp is a morgue. Not because it’s full of middle class kids.

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag just looked next home game £13 for kids £27 for adults £80 for a family of 4 that’s too cheap is it?

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag away fans tickets aren’t anything significant apart from for self-interested ‘super-fans’ #ShallowAsAPuddle.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag it’s half that. £15 and £5. £40 for a family of four.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag my concern is where it’s heading though. Not where it is. Top category games will remain extortionate.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    worrichy NUFCTheMag the rest a pittance to keep advertisers happy.

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag ok sorry I stand corrected I didn’t scroll down

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag I just can’t see it’s going to attract in a load of tourists, just because it’s cheap. The malaise is deeper

  • worrichy

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag >£500 is too much for me to renew in 16/17 – It’s a golf club membership better old gits than empty seats

  • DownUnderMag

    It is sad that fans are now the point of least concern for clubs, making very little impact to what the club is actually able to (or willing to) do with regards to the football on the pitch.  There is a sense of bleak hopelessness creeping into football, fans starting to tire of ever increasing ticket prices that only serve to, in most cases, perpetuate the ever increasing wages for mediocre players who have no hope of ever winning anything in their lifetime.  The pot is sewn up with the likes of Man City, Man U, Chelsea etc all buying their way to the top with finances far beyond anything a mere fan can bring in with a ticket purchase.
    If those fans stopped going, would it matter beyond TV audiences probably disliking games with zero atmosphere?  It does beg the question how accurate this article will prove to be, as more and more clubs look to slash prices in an attempt to lure fans back for publicity purposes rather than footballing ones!

  • IntravenusMP

    @worrichy NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies Tickets are cheap in Germany but aside from the top 2, the games are very poor and not competitive. Bayern are essentially a Man U style tourists’ team and the rest ride on their coat-tail.

  • NotFatFreddy

    There’s a high percentage of NUFC fans who over the years could afford season tickets no matter what the cost, but who’d be better off staying at home and watching the TV.  The neo-fan who would probably call the police if they experienced a proper football crowd atmosphere and complain about the noise.

    They need to be replaced by a singing end and it will only come with cheap tickets.

    It won’t be long before some PC feminist will sue the Premier League because her little ‘Olivia’ wants to play CF for Arsenal and mummy and daddy say she’s really good enough at 5ft2 and 19 stone.  So will we see an introduction of you must play two females in your team and either a gay/bisexual/transgender goalkeeper along with a different colour of skin for every other position, one must have ginger hair and at least three must be very obese?  If the Director of the BBC had anything to do with it, that is what we would end up  with.

    Grass roots football is now mixed (girls and boys in the same team), as it is at School.  Maybe we will soon se the end of football as we now know it?  A transgender goalie and three very obese ladies probably wouldn’t improve NUFC that miuch this season, but it might have at least been more entertaining!

  • DavidDrape

    good article enjoyed it. overall good ticket prices come down though.however, the likes of west hams connection with new ham council means they may have a full stadium but may not be taking ll the profits form the catering as per done deal re stadium obligations etc