Football, soccer for those in North America, has commonly been referred to as a “working class game.” Fans who weren’t executives and who didn’t make boatloads of money each year could feel good that they could still afford to watch their favorite clubs participate in weekend matches without having to break the bank.
Those days may be long gone.
A recent BBC Price of Football survey found that ticket prices for the English Premier League and the Football League are rising at three times the rate of inflation. One may be able to understand clubs often in big-time competitions such as the Champions League posting the most expensive tickets in English football.
This list begins with a smaller team that wasn’t even in the Premier League a year ago.
These are the 10 most expensive English Premier League season tickets for 2014-15.
10. Leicester City: £730 ($1,180.59 USD)
Leicester City made it into the England top-flight by winning the Championship last May. Leicester went on to clinch their spot in the Premier League with ease, finishing nine points ahead of Burnley. They finished the season with the most wins and the best goal difference of any team in the Championship.
Leicester’s home capacity is set at 32,262.
Everton and Newcastle United are two teams who have recently enjoyed stints in European football. Everton finished fifth in the Premier League last season. Both clubs offer cheaper tickets than Leicester.
9. Southampton: £853 ($1,379.51 USD)
Southampton surprised many with their stellar play in 2013-14. The Saints notched banner victories over Chelsea and Liverpool, two clubs that earned Champions League berths and were in the title hunt all the way through the final weeks of the season. Southampton went on to a respectable eighth-place finish.
Some believed that Southampton would be in for a down year after manager Mauricio Pochettino left the club to take the available Tottenham Hotspur gig. Life has been good for the Saints thus far this season, as Southampton sit third in the league table.
8. Manchester City: £860 ($1,390.84 USD)
This is a bargain when you consider what club is responsible for the eighth-highest season ticket in the Premier League. City Football Group controls several clubs, including MCFC and Major League Soccer expansion side New York City Football Club. CFG have dumped millions upon millions of dollars into City to make it the best team in Manchester and one of the best teams on the planet.
City have won the Premier League twice in recent years. It hasn’t been all good times for the club, however, as their Champions League struggles have been well documented. City will once again be near or at the top of the league table next May.
7. Liverpool: £863 ($1,395.69 USD)
They’re back! They’re back! Liverpool are back!
After years of being punchlines to jokes, Liverpool returned as one of the best teams in the Premier League last season. Controversial striker Luis Suarez won Player of the Year honors, and Liverpool were in the title picture right up through the final afternoon of the campaign. They ultimately fell just two points shy of winning it all, but Liverpool are back in the Champions League.
Now comes the tricky part.
Suarez completed a transfer to Spanish giants Barcelona over the summer. As much of a hassle as he was, Liverpool could not merely replace the striker overnight. Finishing in the top-four of the league table was one thing.
Remaining in the Champions League could prove to be more difficult.
6. West Ham United: £940 ($1,520.22 USD)
The fact of the matter is that West Ham have no business being anywhere in the top-six of most-expensive Premier League season tickets. They were in the second division a decade ago. The Hammers aren’t in title races, and they don’t win trophies on a yearly basis.
That said, West Ham are about to have a shiny new home.
West Ham will move into what was the Olympic Stadium in London. That venue is currently closed for renovation, and its capacity will be 54,000. The Hammers will begin playing in their new venue in 2016.
5. Queens Park Rangers: £949 ($1,534.77 USD)
Sometimes money can’t buy you happiness or winning football.
QPR have gone up and down and back up over the past few years. They’ve fought for their Premier League lives, struggled in the second division, and made it back up into the top-flight. Their stay in the Premier League could be another short one, however, as they are dead last in the table as of the posting of this piece.
The bad news doesn’t end there.
QPR spent tons of money on players that did not bring positive results for the club. A recent report claimed that the team is £177.1 million in debt. Things will only worsen if QPR drop back into the Championship.
4. Manchester United: £950 ($1,536.39 USD)
United are one of the most-recognized sports brands in all of the world, largely because of the successes they’ve enjoyed throughout the years. Legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson departed from the club in May 2013, and he named then Everton boss David Moyes as the next United manager. That experiment did not last an entire year, as Moyes was shown the door after United failed to earn European football.
Louis van Gaal was brought in to right the ship, and he took over at United following the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Things have improved for the club after a slow start. Van Gaal has United at fourth in the league table.
3. Chelsea: £1,250 ($2,021.56 USD)
High prices aside, Chelsea reward fans with winning seasons year after year. They won the Champions League after failing to finish in the top-four of the Premier League table for the 2011-12 season. The Blues have since reestablished themselves as Champions League mainstays. They came close to winning the Premier League for 2013-14, and they are favorites to finish atop the table for the current season.
Manager Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea in 2013. His first season back in England was somewhat of a disappointment in that Chelsea could not outdo City in multiple competitions. Mourinho will be looking to rectify that issue this time around.
2. Tottenham Hotspur: £1,895 ($3,064.69 USD)
The temperature decreasing as summer turns to fall. That feeling you get as you walk barefoot through a dewy meadow. Tottenham Hotspur letting their fans down.
It’s those yearly traditions you can count on that get you through rocky times.
The days of Spurs finishing with a Champions League berth seem like long ago. Harry Redknapp, Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood have since all been shown the door at White Hart Lane. Luka Modric and Gareth Bale are living out their dreams at Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Tottenham supporters continue to be disappointed by their club’s performances.
1. Arsenal: £2,013 ($3,255.52 USD)
Like their North London rivals, Arsenal offer some expensive season tickets. Unlike Tottenham, however, Arsenal reward fans with Champions League football each year. The Gunners teased being Premier League title contenders last season before falling off later on in the season. They finished fourth in the table.
Last season was not a total bust for Arsenal, however, as they ended their trophy drought by winning the FA Cup. Arsenal may struggle to finish ahead of the likes of Chelsea and City in the league, but that likely won’t have negative affects on the club’s finances. Only United have a higher value than Arsenal among Premier League teams in 2014.
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