A new study by Football Supporters Europe (FSE) unveils a striking disparity in away ticket pricing among European football clubs, particularly in the Champions League. The Scottish giants, Celtic and Rangers, emerged as the most expensive clubs for away supporters during the 2022/23 season. The average cost of an away ticket at Celtic was 69.45 euros, while Rangers were slightly lower at 68.85 euros. Both clubs charged the maximum away ticket price of 70 euros multiple times, signaling a steady pricing approach.
Contrasting Pricing Strategies Across Europe
These high prices contrast with the significantly lower averages offered by German clubs in the Champions League. German clubs charged approximately 17 euros less on average for away tickets, with standing sectors playing a significant role in reducing prices. This discrepancy underscores the varying pricing strategies and fan engagement approaches adopted by European clubs.
UEFA’s 70 Euro Price Cap: A Partial Solution?
In 2019, UEFA introduced a 70 euro price cap for Champions League away tickets to tackle exorbitant prices, which had previously reached figures as high as 119 euros. While this cap has somewhat regulated prices, the study suggests there is still considerable variation among clubs, with some consistently charging the maximum permissible amount.
A Call for Affordability Amid Expansion
The impending expansion of the Champions League to include 36 teams, increasing the number of matches, is expected to boost prize money and overall match revenue for clubs. The call from FSE for UEFA to maintain pressure on clubs to prioritize the affordability of away tickets aligns with the broader goal of ensuring a more equitable and sustainable footballing experience for fans across Europe.
Europa League and Europa Conference League: Similar Disparities
The study also covers the pricing of away tickets in the Europa League and the Europa Conference League, where similar disparities exist. The average costs for away tickets in these competitions, along with UEFA's price caps, offer further insight into the wider landscape of ticket pricing and affordability in European football.
In conclusion, this study serves as a critical evaluation of the current state of ticket pricing for away supporters in European club competitions. It emphasizes the need for greater consistency, fairness, and affordability across all clubs, advocating for a more fan-centric approach to ensure that football remains accessible and inclusive for supporters from all backgrounds and regions.