Soccer Premier League

Is The EPL The New Ballet?

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After reading J.J. Zucal’s article, “Arsenal’s Ticket Scheme Angers Fans,” I felt compelled to add my thoughts to it.  As was stated, Manchester City returned 900 of their ticket allocation for the game at the Emirates Stadium, owing to the exorbitant £62 ($100) price.

The EPL is now foolishly trampling on its traditional roots of support: The working class man and woman.  Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said: “……the only way we can pay the wages and compete without external help is through the ticket prices……”

What he really means is: The only way we can pay players the likes of £75,000 ($120,000) to £100,000 ($160,000) per week, is by selling a ticket for what Bricklayers, Nurses and Factory Workers earn per day. It is not just the cost of the ticket. It’s the programme, the food, the merchandise, the replica shirt etc.

The make-up of an EPL crowd has changed dramatically since the seventies. Where it was once the domain of the predominantly white working class male, it changed for the better when the old First Division morphed into the current EPL format, in 1992. More females, ethnic minorities, and children began attending games. This change helped enable the EPL to become the most watched and richest football league in the world.

However, the flood of money from TV into the EPL is almost entirely swallowed up by the astronomical wages paid to the players; and so the clubs find ever more ingenious ways of fleecing their supporters.

The time is fast approaching when the fans will be priced out completely. EPL beware: Loyalty is hard to win but very easy to lose. So is football the new ballet? It seems so, as 40% of the tickets at the Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden, are £40 ($64) or less.

At the end of the game between Arsenal and Manchester City, the TV microphones picked up a beautiful moment that sums it all up. John Brooks, the assistant referee, was heard telling Joleon Lescott and Joe Hart of Manchester City: “They’ve paid 62 quid over there,” pointing at the City fans, “go and see them.”