Since joining Leeds United in May 2017, Andrea Radrizzani has been like a breath of fresh air to most Leeds supporters. Buying back Elland Road, investing in the youth system and facilitating some top signings are just a few of the standout things he has done for the club so far. But many believe his first mistake has been made with the release of the general matchday ticket prices for the upcoming season. Over the past few years, Leeds have consistently had one of the dearest matchday experiences in the Championship, with many hoping for a change to come soon. However, Radrizzani has failed to deliver on this front as the cost of an average adult ticket has increased rather than decreased. - (A list of matchday and advanced ticket prices can be found on Leeds’s official website).
In the past couple of days, fans have voiced their discontent at the continually high prices and whilst the love for Radz is still strong, many have urged him to reconsider; and I, for one, have to agree with them. For a recently graduated student living a couple of hours away from Elland Road, just travelling to the ground can be costly enough before I’ve even bought a ticket. Additionally, with more and more Leeds games being on shown on Sky Sports, why would I spend over £60 on trains and match tickets when I can watch for free at home? As much as I’d love to do it every week, and as much as I’d love to have a season ticket, for some of us, it just isn’t possible.
Last season in the championship, the average cost of the cheapest matchday ticket was £22.11 - £9 lower than the cheapest adult ticket for a game against a smaller Championship team in the Family Stand of Elland Road. Surely this isn’t fair.
These prices are more akin to the Premier League and unfortunately we’re not there yet. Also, the new category system seems to be based on supply and demand, in that prices go up against better opposition because more people want to see Leeds play against the best teams in the division. However, Leeds sold on average 27,698 tickets of the approximately 38,000 seat capacity stadium last year, meaning that charging more for the better games when there’s still 10,000 seats available is illogical.
Plus, we don’t even know which teams will constitute each category! Imagine turning up to Elland Road on a wet Tuesday night and paying £44 for a ticket in the East Upper Stand, to watch Leeds trundle over the line against an average Burton Albion side. OK, that might be a bit disrespectful to Burton, who did effectively end our play-offs hopes last season, but you get the picture – it’s £44 and not exactly El Clásico is it.
For Leeds to be a top club again, selling out Elland Road should be a priority. The atmosphere created by the fans at away games is noticeable every time we visit another ground in the UK. So why not try to recreate this at our own home week-in, week-out? The only way to achieve this is to make the price of a matchday ticket affordable for everyone, not just for the well-off, and not just for those who a season ticket is feasibly attainable.
It's crazy and shortsighted. It doesn't reward season ticket holders it just penalises fans who can't afford or 4 whom a ST is impractical.— Mark Devaney (@markwd1) July 23, 2017
Not only would lower prices increase attendance at home games, it would probably bring in more revenue for the club as more tickets would be sold on the day, more money would be spent on club merchandise, and hopefully, with an entertaining performance by the lads, most people would enjoy the day out and return again the same season.
As a collective, we have one of the most vocal, passionate and committed fan-bases in the country – let’s not punish them or push them away with these unnecessarily steep costs.
Drop the prices, open the gates, sit back and watch Elland Road bounce again.