Chelsea F.C. tickets to cost a fortune


Stamford Bridge season ticket prices tripple Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Premier League team Chelsea F.C. (UK) fans are being asked to pay more than three times the current price for their season tickets with costs reaching almost £4,000 next year, after the club upgraded the facilities in one of the stands at their residence – Stamford Bridge.

The ‘Daily Mail’ stated that the West Stand upper tier has been rebranded, Westview, with new bars, food outlets and TV screens, but it comes at a cost for supporters wanting to keep their padded seats next season.

The Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club based in Fulham, West London (UK). Founded in 1905, the club competes in the Premier League, the top division of English football.

The Stamford Bridge is a football stadium in Fulham, adjacent to the borough of Chelsea in South West London, commonly referred to as ‘The Bridge’. It is the home of Premier League club Chelsea F.C. With a capacity of 40,834, it is the ninth largest venue of the 2021-2022 Premier League seasons.

The current price of £1,250 will rocket to £3,900 per seat for a tier one ticket on and around the halfway line, which is likely to push Chelsea ahead of its London rivals for the most expensive seats in the Premier League next season.

The ‘Daily Mail’ further stated that this term, the Premier League team Tottenham Hotspurs F.C. held that dubious honor with the top-priced season ticket at its digs – the 62,850-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London – setting supporters back £2,223.

That price was only rivaled by the Premier League team Arsenal F.C., where the most expensive annual season ticket cost £2,013.

The cheapest tickets were at Premier League team Burnley F.C. – the Lancashire side’s most expensive this season was just £650.

Chelsea fans received notification of the price hike on November 17th and were quick to express their incredulity on social media.

Tweeted one fan, “That can’t be right, surely there’s a typo in the email. How can they justify that?!”

“Insane,” suggested another.

Supporters have been offered the opportunity to move seats – and those seated in the ‘Goal Line’ area of Westview will only see a small increase in price that will also see domestic cup matches included in their season ticket.

Fans had been warned that the price would rise in the refurbished and rebranded section of the stadium.

The works were carried out prior to the 2021-2022 seasons and fans were allowed to renew tickets for this term, but would have to accept the new price structure or move in 2022-2023. Now, Chelsea has written to supporters.

Wrote Simon Hunter, Head of Venue and Hospitality, Chelsea F.C., “As you will have seen, the concourse has been transformed to create a spacious area with lots of natural light. There are two new 360-degree bars with faster service and a new food hall serving an expanded range of high-quality food. In the seating bowl, we’ve introduced three big screens to ensure all seat locations can view the screen content for the first time, and all seats have been replaced with new padded seating.”

Added Hunter, “When the changes were communicated before the start of this season, we explained that a new pricing model for Westview would be implemented for the 2022-2023 seasons. To give you plenty of time to review your options, we are now writing to let you know how this pricing model will be structured.”

The pricing model divides seats into four areas, Tier One is at the halfway line and costs £3,900, Tier Two is at the 18-yard line and costs £3,000, Tier Three is at the goal line and will cost £1,500, while Tier Four is a match-by-match option.

The creation of a premium seating area and the dramatic price rise reflects the need for clubs to generate more revenue from their stadiums, say analysts.

Observed Kieran Maguire, a Lecturer in Football Finance at the University of Liverpool, “We have seen this at Tottenham, if you look at the variety of season ticket prices everything is geared towards having as many price points as you can in order to capture revenue. Clubs are targeting different income brackets and degrees of wealth. Chelsea has fallen behind in terms of the revenue-generating ability of the Big Six.”

Added Maguire, “It is a combination of the benevolence of Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich and a very clever player sales model that enables them to compete, but they are trying to get more money out of the stadium itself.”

When Chelsea completed the construction of the West Stand in 2001, it took the capacity of Stamford Bridge to 42,000, the highest of any team in London.

However, now the ‘Blues’ have been easily surpassed by Tottenham Hotspurs, Arsenal F.C. and West Ham United F.C., whose new stadiums are all at 60,000 capacity or above.

Maguire, who also hosts the Price of Football podcast, said that in a good year Chelsea will make in the region of £75M on matchday income, compared to ‘Spurs’, which will generate around £120M.

As well as the additional comforts in the new Westview facility, the two highest tier prices in the pricing structure also include access to domestic cup matches and European group stage games, worth about £155 so far this year.

Chelsea did undertake consultation with fans before renovating the West Upper and implementing premium pricing, which included a survey of season-ticket holders, small group consultations and a market review.

A statement on the Chelsea F.C. website read, “We took the opportunity during the pandemic to review our current matchday experience and understand where we could improve as a club. In looking at clubs of a similar profile to us, we realized that there is a gap in our stadium for a premium ticket option.”

The statement further read, “Consideration of elite clubs and national stadiums revealed premium ticket pricing between £2,000 and £6,000. The feedback we received from the survey shaped plans to introduce a premium ticket in the West Stand Upper tier. Our objective was to deliver an improved matchday experience and address concerns shared during the survey process.”

Ticket to Stamford Bridge

  • Current blanket price: £1250
  • New Tier 1 price: £3,900 (halfway line)
  • New Tier 2 price: £3,000 (18-yard line)
  • New Tier 3 price: £1,500 (Goal line)

All three tier prices include the 19 Premier League home games, plus all domestic up home matches. Tiers 1 and 2 get European group stage home matches included in the price, but all three tiers get the option to buy home knockout games. Tier 3 gets a concession ticket available.

The revamp that never was

  • Chelsea developed plans for a £1bn transformation of Stamford Bridge into a 60,000-seat stadium, which were given planning permission in 2017;
  • The current structure has a capacity of 41,600, but it would have been demolished to make way for the construction of a new ground;
  • The club received permission to start knocking down buildings around Stamford Bridge to make extra space back in March 2017. But work never began;
  • Chelsea acknowledged the expiration of the planning permission deadline back in March 2020;
  • Abramovich, who has invested heavily both on and off the field, shelved the planned redevelopment of Stamford Bridge after he was denied a UK visa three years ago; and
  • At the time, it was reported that the decision was taken due to his frustration at being unable to work in a country where he spent much of his time since acquiring the club. The delays led to him missing Chelsea’s FA Cup final win in May of 2018.

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