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The English Should Really Take A Leaf Out Of The German Book

Sunday 19th February 2012
 

I'm sure all of you English football fans out there, having thought about the ever-increasing prices of a typical match day, are becoming rather disgruntled. I know I am. But for fans in Germany, they do not have these worries to even dream of, for in Germany, the fans rule the roost.

The Bundesliga boasts the lowest average ticket prices in Europe, charging an average of only €15 for an adult, and also the highest average attendances. A prime example of fans being treated like kings is at Borussia Dortmund. Borussia play their home games at the impressive Signal Iduna Park, usually known as Westfalenstadion. It is Germany's largest stadium, and Europe's 6th largest. The club regularly sell over 50,000 season tickets for the 80,000+ capacity ground. The club even limit the number of season tickets that are sold at the start of the season, to make sure that everyone who wants to can attend a game.

Admittedly, attendances in the Premier League do seem to remain high, but top-flight English clubs want to make as much money as possible out of their fans these days. The thing that drives fans to these expensive games week after week is the entertainment. If that goes out the window, what would be left? It seems to me that clubs in the Premier League are giving into commercialism, and forgetting that we, the fans, are their customers, and that we owe them nothing.

Figures show that clubs in mainland Europe produce most of their overall revenue from commercial sales, sponsorship and Broadcasting money, and make little on match day. Compare this to the British clubs, they too make a lot of money on broadcasting, Sponsorship and commerce, but exploit their fans by making much more money on match days. Surely this shows what is wrong with the English game!

The Bundesliga really is putting the rest of the European game to shame. A quick look at the other four major footballing countries in Europe shows just how they can follow Germany's lead. The teams of Serie A play in half full stadiums every game. In the UK, clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United are faced with colossal amounts of debt, and even large clubs such as Rangers and Portsmouth are dicing ever-closely to extinction from the game altogether. The Spanish league suffers with debt also, with many players in the lower leagues refusing to play due to unpaid wages. In the French Ligue 1, a huge 71% of club's income is spent on player wages. Yes, you guessed it; the German leagues suffer with none of these problems. The government regulates club spending, and makes sure at the start of each season, that a club will be financially stable for the coming season. They maintain high attendances with their low prices, and they limit the amount of money spent by each club on player wages. The English claim to have invented this beautiful game, but do seem to be ruining it. It is the German's who are revolutionising it.

In Germany, fans enjoy the optimum match day experience. They have some of the lowest prices to be paid on match day, they happen to be some of the most passionate fans in the world, and the football is entertaining… They've got it made! The fans are treated with the utmost care in the Bundesliga, and this really does result in high customer satisfaction. Again, take Borussia Dortmund as an example. Their famous south stand is the largest stand in world football. It holds a whopping 26,000 loud fans under one roof, which only pay around €15 (£13) for admission. With the safe-standing terraces in place, this all adds up to one of the greatest spectacles in football. 25,000 passionate fans, waving flags, and vocally supporting their side, it must be an outcry of happiness! This is surely worth more than 13 quid! Couple this amazing match experience, with free rail passes for all fans, results in a wonderful, stress-free match day, where the supporters are treated as respected desirables; something English fans can only dream of.
Sammy Russell

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