Bang for your buck – A-League ticket prices

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The 2015/16 A-League season is in full swing and, after an offseason that dragged on, it’s nice to have some regular domestic football to talk about.

UPDATE: View the 2016/17 A-League ticket prices

With that though comes the inevitable discussions around ticket prices and whether football in this country is value for money.

Once again there was huge membership drives by all clubs, with both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC setting new club records. Brisbane Roar however really struggled to get going following their ownership issues.

Similarly, the Newcastle Jets had their problems at the top but look to be on the straight and narrow now with the backing of Football Federation Australia (FFA).

 

The opening round crowd figures were a little underwhelming, something acknowledged by the Head of the A-League Damien De Bohun on the Daily Football Show earlier this month.

De Bohun described the first round as “solid without being stunning”, thanks in part to both AFL and NRL Grand Finals taking place the weekend before the season got underway.

He also believes that another reason for the drop off was the decision to move derbies out of Round One and into Rounds Two and Three instead as the league continues to experiment with its fixturing.

A crowd of 40,217 at the Melbourne Derby in Round Two was certainly encouraging, but as the season goes on it’s important to look at whether fans are getting value for money at their clubs and whether pricing can have an impact on numbers attending.

The figures contained in this article were gathered as follows:

  • General admission prices are based on one adult for the club’s least high profile game, with the ticket purchased online, and including any associated fees and charges.
  • Membership prices are based on the cheapest adult option.

There are of course plenty of caveats when it comes to General Admission tickets; Sydney FC’s prices depend on the opposition – tickets for Melbourne Victory are more expensive than Brisbane Roar, for example.

Melbourne Victory, meanwhile, charge $3 more for Sydney FC than Adelaide United, while tickets are a further $5 or so cheaper for the Central Coast Mariners game.

Interestingly, Ticketek, who are the sales agent of choice for six clubs, charge a handling fee for Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne City, Wellington Phoenix, but not Sydney FC.

To keep things simple, Wellington Phoenix prices have been converted from New Zealand dollars to Australian dollars.


Club

General Admission (Online)

Breakdown
Adelaide United$33.68$30.00 ticket, $0.58 processing fee, $3.10 handling fee
Brisbane Roar$32.78$27.00 ticket, $0.53 processing fee, $5.25 handling fee
Central Coast Mariners$20.39$15.00 ticket, $0.29 processing fee, $5.10 handling fee
Melbourne City$34.12$29.00 ticket, $0.57 processing fee, $4.55 handling fee
Melbourne Victory$32.08$27.00 ticket, $0.53 processing fee, $5.55 handling fee
Newcastle Jets$26.75$22.00 ticket, $0.40 processing fee, $4.35 handling fee
Perth Glory$32.59$27.50 ticket, $0.44 processing fee, $4.65 handling charge
Sydney FC$29.06$28.50 ticket, $0.56 processing fee, $0.00 handling fee
Wellington Phoenix$27.04$21.56 ticket, $0.56 processing fee, $4.92 handling fee
Western Sydney Wanderers$29.81$25.00 ticket, $0.46 processing fee, $4.35 handling fee

 

Based on the above, there really isn’t much between nine of the ten sides, with the Central Coast Mariners offering a very generous option of just $20.39.

Moving on to memberships, and there is one clear winner as the Newcastle Jets look to bring back the disgruntled supporters who walked away when the club was owned by Nathan Tinkler.

Their Red membership is superb value at just $160 for 14 games (five clubs play 14 times at home each season).

 

At the other end of the scale, Perth Glory’s Silver membership, available for $295, is almost twice the price of a Jets Reds membership when you average things out over the course of the season.

Glory have done well to break the 5000 members mark in the wake of last season’s salary cap debacle, but there have been many comments from supporters with regard to tickets prices, and the figures back up their claims.

Adelaide United aren’t too far off at the expensive end of the list, while Sydney’s FC’s Bronze membership is excellent value at $230 for 14 games.


Club

MembershipSection


Per Game

Adelaide United$292Red (13 games)$22.46
Brisbane Roar$265Orange/Den (14 games)$18.93
Central Coast Mariners$200Navy (14 games)$14.29
Melbourne City$240GA (14 games)$17.14
Melbourne Victory$245Premium C (13 games)$18.45
Newcastle Jets$160Red (14 games)$11.43
Perth Glory$295Silver (13 games)$22.69
Sydney FC$230Bronze (14 games)$16.43
Wellington Phoenix$177Silver (13 games)$13.62
Western Sydney Wanderers$225White (13 games)$17.30

 

In an increasingly competitive environment, it is worth checking to see how the A-League membership prices match up with the other popular sports.

To get an idea of what else is available around the country, below are figures for clubs chosen at random from six other codes.


Club

CodeMembershipSection


Per Game

Port Adelaide Power

Australian Rules$175GA (11 games)

$15.90

Melbourne Demons

Australian Rules$209GA (11 games)

$19.00

ACT Brumbies

Rugby Union$140Bronze (8 games)

$17.50

Western Force

Rugby Union$195Blue Crew (7 games)

$27.86

North Queensland Cowboys

Rugby League$164Gold Star (12 games)

$13.67

Sydney Roosters

Rugby League$149Bronze (10 games)

$14.90

Perth Wildcats

Basketball$349Bronze (14 games)

$24.90

Adelaide 36ers

Basketball$310Bronze (14 games)

$22.14

Brisbane Heat

Cricket$90Upper GA (4 games)

$22.50

Hobart Hurricanes

Cricket$84Captain’s Club (4 games)

$21.00

West Coast Fever

Netball$165Green Zone (6 games)

$27.50

Melbourne Vixens

Netball$145Full Court (6 games)

$24.16

 

The cost of attending live sport, and football in particular, has been up for debate in England recently, with a number of clubs heavily criticised for their ticket prices.

The BBC last week released its annual ‘Price of Football’ study, and the survey of 227 clubs in 13 UK leagues revealed that 70% of the 700 tickets reviewed had a price freeze or were reduced compared to the previous season.

 

However, with eleven Premier League clubs increasing the price of their cheapest match day ticket, the average is now more than £30 ($64) for the first time.

One of the key facts pointed out in the study is that Eastleigh FC, who play in England’s National League (fifth tier), have the cheapest season ticket in the top five leagues at £120, but that is still more expensive than Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

Of course, ticket prices are generally relative to the product on show, but it is crucial that the powers that be in the A-League don’t price fans out of attending games, especially on a casual basis.

Are they doing so at the moment? Well, we’ll find out as the current campaign unfolds.

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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