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Opinion

It is about time Newcastle United ticket prices were made more transparent

3 years ago
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After a long campaign by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) travelling fans have been protected by a £30 cap on away ticket prices in the Premier League.  The variation in prices home clubs charged visitors, was deemed to be unfair on supporters, and the cap was rightly implemented to provide fans with reasonable and consistent pricing.

I’m not aware of any such campaign for home supporters…

Most clubs have at least three categories of prices without a cap on what is charged for the visit of “big” clubs.

Newcastle don’t publish price categories, but in recent seasons the number of categories has been as many as six, without any transparency.

Newcastle have been rightly lauded for their deals on cheap tickets.  Some games have previously gone as low as £5  for children while adults could get in for just £15. Taking your son or daughter to see Newcastle hammer Norwich 6-2 in the Premier League for £20 “all in” a couple of years ago was excellent value.  Unfortunately, a lot of the low prices were driven by the infrequency with which the product on the pitch rewarded supporters for buying tickets.  Pardew, McClaren and Carver all played a brand of football that was neither effective nor particularly easy on the eye.

The winning brand of endeavour Rafa Benitez has the team playing with these days, and the general mood of positivity his continued presence has generated, mean the club are no longer as committed to providing tickets as cheap as they previously were.  The law of supply and demand dictates that St James can now be filled without publicising cut-price tickets when it couldn’t in the recent past.

Having chosen not to publish any Newcastle United ticket prices other than those currently on sale, it’s times like this that allow prices to go up without anyone noticing and without a drop off in attendance.

In the 5 games on sale to members so far this season, almost all prices have increased from the last Premier League season in 15/16, with increases varying between £1 and £9.  This corresponds to a percentage price increase anywhere between 4% and 100% (£5 kids tickets doubling to £10).

The average increase has been £3.  This isn’t a massive amount really is it?  In fact, the increase is so low that it makes me wonder exactly why the club continue to be so opaque on ticket prices.

If 40,000 season tickets have been sold and 3,000 go to away fans, that leaves 9,000 tickets maximum (even before you knock off the corporates etc) for member and general sale. At an average £3 increase, the extra income is just £27,000 per game at the very most.  That won’t cover Jack Colback’s wages for the week.

Is it really worth all the cloak and dagger behaviour on Newcastle United ticket prices to be able to make these changes under the radar?

If the FSF have successfully made the case for protecting away fans, then shouldn’t home fans get some corresponding oversight, which provides a limit on the variance and an increase in the transparency of ticket prices?

(I record Newcastle United Ticket prices for 2017/2018 here.)

(I recorded Newcastle United Ticket prices for 2015/2016 here.)

You can follow the author on Twitter @bigchrisholt
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