Living in North America makes it very expensive to watch just about any professional sport live. NHL, NFL, NBA tickets can easily run in the $ 100 plus range. Add to that the fairly expensive food and drink, travel and parking, and an outing for a family of four can easily add up to $ 500. Play-off games demand premium pricing even above this.
Which limits attendance to a special family occasion, to the wealthy, or to businesses. The fact that games are mostly sold out suggests that the model is working for the clubs.
In contrast ticket prices in top European soccer leagues are much lower. Here are the average prices for the top leagues:
- Spain $ 45 US
- England $ 40
- Italy $ 35
- France $ 31
- Germany $ 28
Stadiums still offer standing room spots and tickets can be had for as little as $ 12 in Germany.
In addition food prices are reasonable. A sandwich or sausage on a bun can be had for as little as $ 5 and a beer in Germany for $ 4. Quite often the ticket price includes public transportation to the stadium. This means that fans can park outside the congested stadium area, which often is near a city center, and avoid delays in exiting the parking lot after the game is over. In larger cities trains or trams are used at higher than normal frequency, in smaller centers buses.
Why are the prices relatively low? For the most part because there are so many teams, not just in any particular country, but including neighbouring countries, that games still don’t sell out. The low ticket prices mean less revenue for the teams but make games affordable for anyone. As discussed in a previous post European soccer teams generate revenue through club sponsoring and media, much more so than teams in North America. Imagine the Dallas Cowboys having “AT &T” plastered all over their jerseys.
Two different systems, my preference is the European one as it opens sports up to families.