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Money for Nothing

8 years ago

“Money,” said Homer Simpson’s brain when he found twenty dollars under the sofa instead of the nut he had dropped, “can be exchanged for goods and services.”

We usually know how much stuff will cost up front, and we can decide whether or not that is a reasonable sum to pay.

My mam once went nuts when I spent eighty-five quid on a pair of Nino Cerutti jeans. I thought it was a perfectly reasonable price to pay to look just like David Ginola in the advert in FHM. Sort of.

Now, Peter Scudamore, biggest of all cheeses at the Premier League, reckons football fans in this country are getting excellent value for money.

Compared to other sports, football is not value for money. The match is 90 minutes, minute for minute, it’s going to work out at less than a comfortable sum. But we know that. And we know that there might be very few goals, and the chances are that they are scored by the other team.

Not happy, but fair enough. So why isn’t it value for money? Is it just the Premier League?

I went in search of answers.

What if I lived in Madrid? Both Atletico and Real Madrid’s prices for a La Liga match are fairly comparable with Newcastle United prices. Oh, well.

But if I lived in Germany… the average price for a ticket is just over a tenner.

Well, Mr Scudamore, given that Germany won the last World Cup, have some of the best teams in Europe and don’t have some of the twaddle-talking pundits we put up with every week, your argument is becoming flawed.

Maybe it’s because it’s ‘The Best League in the World’. Who made this up –Jeremy Clarkson?

In some other sports, the ticket prices to see athletes of equal, if not a far higher standard to the average footballer, is lower.

A few years ago, we took two adults and two kids to the European Team Athletics Championships at Gateshead Stadium for less than forty five quid. We saw top class athletes. Mo Farah, Holly Bleasdale and Greg Rutherford, among others, did their stuff in a programme of events lasting hours. Bike races are free.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say we are being ‘conned’, purely because we know how much we’re parting with and what we’re getting. I’m perfectly happy to be argued down on that one. It’s semantics.

But I do think we are being ripped off. The pricing structure of charging more for bigger games makes financial sense, and exactly the same thing happens with holidays; the more popular times of year are more expensive. And I also understand the concept of supply and demand. But that doesn’t make it right.

The ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign is a brilliant idea. But it’s desperate that football fans are campaigning to be charged twice as much as home fans in Germany. It’s ridiculous.

And it’s immoral when you look at the actual turnover for the clubs and how much of that is made from ticket sales.

In 2012-13, NUFC made 96 million pounds, of which 28 million was through match day income. Most came from TV rights and 17 million from commercial ventures. Since then, the TV deal has been massively increased to levels that could help solve the NHS crisis.

You know what? I think Premier league clubs, not just Newcastle United, can afford fans a little more value for money. Because we’re not getting it.

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