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Empty Seats at Premiership Matches Continue

middlesbrough Empty Seats at Premiership Matches Continue

While Middlesbrough’s defense was as porous tonight as their security (two fans ran across the field in fancy dress costumes during the second half), the match at Riverside Stadium revealed another disturbing fact: All those empty seats.

We broached the topic last week after Boro’s home match against Chelsea. But in that match and others, the commentators have dismissed the low crowds as being a result of people still on holiday. Although the holiday claims may sound plausible, I don’t believe them for a second.

While not scientific, I reviewed Boro’s home attendances for the beginning of last season and compared them to now. Here’s what I discovered:

  • When Boro lost 3-0 at home against Charlton on August 28, 2005, the attendance was 26,206. Tonight’s attendance was 24,834. The capacity of Riverside Stadium is 35,100. Boro’s attendance for the Chelsea match last week was 29,198.

So attendances are down for Boro and there are more empty seats than last year. But the issue is not just at Middlesbrough. Throughout the Premiership, fans are voting with their feet regarding the high priced tickets for matches.

While the prices are high for Middlesbrough fans ($45 to $60), how does that compare with a ticket to a NFL game? To go see the Miami Dolphins game against Buffalo Bills in September, tickets run anywhere from $39 to $250 (with $39 being in the nosebleed section, something Boro fans don’t have to worry about). Of course, there are far fewer NFL matches during a season, but the comparison is interesting nonetheless.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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7 Responses to Empty Seats at Premiership Matches Continue

  1. The Gaffer says:

    Here are a couple of interesting articles submitted by The Tokyo Toffeeman from, well, Tokyo:

    1. Unfortunately these figures are a year out of date but still the point about Premiership match tickets is clear.

    2. Another article via When Saturday Comes illustrating the rip-off aspect of Premiership ticket prices…

  2. Anonymous says:

    It would be more pertinent to find a detailed comparison of ticket prices in other European leagues – the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A & Division 1 in France are much less pricey for fans. The rip-off of the Premiership will be starkly apparent.

  3. Frank Garrison says:

    During my two trips to Arsenal last season, the price for ONE ticket was 44.50GBP (about $80). Now I know Arsenal have the highest prices in the league, and I didn’t mind paying that price for the 4 home matches I saw, but there is no way i could justify a season ticket (or really even more than 8-10 matches a season) on those prices. I fear that Arsenal will have many poorly attended matches this season (particularly if our form stays the same!).

  4. fsquid says:

    Soccer was supposed to be a place for the British worker to unwind on Sat and cheer on his “tribe”. These prices have priced out the blue collar worker. Combine that with more matches on TV in the UK and you have your attendance problem.

  5. jason says:

    I don’t blame Arsenal for having high ticket prices. With a season ticket waiting list of 30,000 people, Arsenal should charge an arm and a leg for a match ticket; especially a club which neeeds to fund a squad expected to compete in the Premiership and the European Cup.

  6. Pingback: Top 20 Best Supported Premier League Clubs of the 2007/2008 Season | EPL Talk

  7. Tennesssee AVFC lad says:

    you cant compare the NFL. If the premiership had 16 games in a season then people would be scratching peoples eyeballs out for tickets at every clubs stadium. so the comparison with the NFL is not even fair. And i am from the US and i live here and go to NFL games…. the atmosphere is a bismal compared to a premiership game. and where a city in england has 3 soccer teams per city (for example), there is one NFL team in a state, so you get the entire state supporting the team, not just 1/3 of the city. So IMO, english soccer just dominates…

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