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What's your cost of Chelsea football?

Alex Livesey

Is it Saturday yet?

I guess we're talking "price of football" today. Specifically ticket prices, but also just cost in general.

The Premier League released their cumulative 2012/13 season ticket sales figures today and perhaps surprisingly, the numbers add up to a shiny new record. Since data tracking began nine years ago - really, Premier League, you didn't track this data until the 21st century!? - the 476,776 season tickets sold beat the old record from 2007/08. By about 500 - so less than 0.1% - but still, a new record is a new record, and that's in spite of continuously rising average season and single-game ticket prices.

While it's easy to paint clubs as greedy evildoers only concerned with squeezing every last piece of pocket lint out of the mindless masses crammed into their luxury box-filled temples of ultra-commercialized mass consumerism, and it is imperative that the "working class" do not get priced out of their local stadia, we should try to keep in mind that at the end of the day, it's always going to come down to basic supply & demand. And full stadiums aren't exactly major incentives for reducing ticket prices (95.3% of all Premier League seats were sold last season).

Despite the impressive sales figures, (some) clubs do seem to be making an effort. Especially at making the game affordable to young people. Both the BBC's survey and Chelsea's little fluff piece on ticket prices place great emphasis on junior tickets, and the prices quoted make for some lovely reading. For example, Chelsea, in addition to bumping the upper age limit to 18 from 16, have made them available for £12.50-17.50 for early FA/League Cup and Champions League matches. That's about the same (or even slight less for League Cup) then they would have to pay around my neck of the woods to go see minor league baseball (no junior pricing) and the gap in the cost of living between the Capital of England and the Capital of California might as well be as wide as the Atlantic Ocean.

With Chelsea keeping season ticket prices frozen for yet another year (six out of the last eight now), the average ticket price for any given fan will once again probably hover around £50. Certainly a non-trivial amount, and that's before adding in a pint or two, a programme, and the cost of travel. Although it does compare rather favorably with the price of sports in America - seats for the NFL in stadiums of 60-70k+ usually start around $100, and that's before your $20 parking spot, $10 Beer-Approximate, and $5 lukewarm hot dog in a soggy bun with neon yellow mustard - I'm not entirely sure that's a comparison we should take all that seriously. Having said that, I just put my deposit down for Sacramento Republic FC season tickets and the price I paid for third tier football in the USA seems to compare surprisingly well with League One football in England. I'm not sure how I feel about that (hint Re level of football to be on display: Republic FC are having open tryouts).

Anyway, what's the cost of your Chelsea fandom? Do you feel you're getting enough value out of whatever amount it may be? If you're lucky enough to be regularly among the match-going faithful, how affordable is Chelsea football in London while trying to afford living in London? If not in London, things are probably a bit cheaper for you, but other costs may be involved such as, say, sleep deprivation from getting up at 3-4am on weekends. How do you go about feeding and maintaining your long-distance relationship? What's the price - financial or otherwise - that you pay?

Although I'm not all that interested in specific dollar amounts, here's my, what I believe to be fairly typical case for an overseas fan - not including incidentals and cable TV / Internet:

Chelsea True Blue International membership ... £30
Chelsea-in-America membership ................ $10 Matchday Programme iPad subscription ......... $60 FOX Soccer 2 Go full year .................... $170 We Ain't Got No History membership ........... $0 Chelsea 24/7, 365 ............................ PRICELESS

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