Newcastle United at forefront of campaign to lower Premier League ticket prices (From The Advertiser Series)
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Newcastle United at forefront of campaign to lower Premier League ticket prices
NEWCASTLE UNITED are the driving force behind a plan to reduce the price of match tickets for away fans in the Premier League.
The Gallowgate club have agreed away ticket prices of £15 for adults and £5 for concessions with West Bromwich Albion for the game at St James’ Park in November, with Albion reciprocating the deal when United visit The Hawthorns on New Years’ Day, while a similar deal is in place with Swansea City.
Newcastle are now inviting fellow Premier League clubs to engage in a reciprocal pricing agreement in a bid to reduce the costs for the travelling fan.
As the most northerly club in the top flight, Newcastle fans face the longest average round-trip at 447 miles per game, added to the average adult away ticket for United fans costing less than £40.
John Irving, finance director at Newcastle United, said: “Newcastle United plays a hugely important role in the lives of supporters and in the community which surrounds it so keeping football affordable continues to be a key priority for us. Ticket prices are too expensive generally across the Premier League and we believe the right way to encourage people to attend, and to therefore fill stadiums as the Away Fans Fund intends, is to look at charging reasonable prices.”
The Premier League recently launched the Away Fans Fund to reverse falling away attendances, with all 20 top flight clubs now ring-fencing £200,000 each per season over the next three seasons to assist away supporters.
Irving added: “While we respect the right of clubs to choose options which suit their individual circumstances, we believe there is room for clubs to work more closely to try to charge a fair amount rather than discounting very small amounts on match tickets in isolation.
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with two of the first clubs we spoke to – West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City – and we applaud them for taking part. As prices indicated last season, fans of some clubs continue to pay far more than those of others and we hope this initiative will lead to a fairer system which can ultimately benefit all supporters.”
Newcastle and Swansea’s reciprocal deal will see fans of both clubs paying £20 for adults and £5 for concessions for their fixtures in South Wales in December 2013 and on Tyneside in April 2014, in both clubs’ longest trips of the season.
Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation – which has campaigned for fairer away ticket prices – said: "The FSF is delighted to welcome the announcement by Newcastle United of their offer of a reciprocal pricing agreement for tickets for away fans at Premier League fixtures. This is a significant breakthrough in turning the concept of affordable prices for away fans into a reality, and Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City are to be commended for taking a lead in this area.
"We would urge all other Premier League clubs to follow the lead of these clubs, both by taking up this offer and by extending similar arrangements to other fixtures too."
As well as its work on pricing, Newcastle United also lobbied the Premier League for the abolition of the prohibitive ‘sale only’ method of selling away tickets, which the Premier League duly ended in summer 2013 as part of efforts to halt a decline in away attendances.
Under the system, which Newcastle United refused to impose on clubs visiting St. James’ Park, away clubs received either a smaller allocation of tickets from home clubs, from which unsold tickets could be returned without charge. The alternative was a larger allocation which had to be paid for in advance. The financial burden of unsold tickets subsequently fell on the away club, leading many to continually choose the lower allocation – and subsequently fewer tickets for fans to purchase – to lessen a potential financial risk.
Under a new ‘sale or return’ agreement made between Premier League shareholders in the close season, clubs are now working closer to ensure visiting teams can service demand without financial penalty before unsold tickets are reallocated to home supporters.
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