Aston Villa ticket price hikes didn't shock me - it proved everything we already knew

Aston Villa fans have been voicing their anger at match-by-match ticket prices
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Aston Villa have received backlash to a price hike for 2024/25 Premier League season match-by-match tickets, which the Football Supporters' Association (FSA) have described as 'outrageous'.

The club increased season ticket prices by only five per cent, which they say has led to a greater increase in match-by-match ticket pricing. Games are split between Category A and B fixtures, with four price zones across Villa Park. The cheapest adult ticket for an individual game, which is a Category B match in price zone four comes to £44.50.

The most expensive ticket for Category A matches in the '1888 Seats' is £92, while tickets in price zone one seats for Category A fixtures come in at £78. Tickets for category one games have increased at roughly 15 per cent on last season, while prices for Category B matches have increased by around 10 per cent.

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Match-by-match adult ticket prices in seven of the 15 blocks in the Holte End cost as much as £72 for Category A games. Last season, fixtures against Arsenal, Newcastle, Manchester United, Tottenham, Wolves, Chelsea and Liverpool were classed as Category A.

An FSA spokesperson said: "Sadly this summer is shaping to be another period of record price hikes that could force a lot of fans to give up their tickets or even going to the match entirely.

"Squeezing match-going fans for an extra million here and there will not solve football's spending problem. For the long-term health of our clubs owners and executives have to recognise that football must remain affordable."

Our Claret & Blue contributors Dan Rolinson, Mat Kendrick and James Rushton have had their say on the price increases...

Mat Kendrick

Without wishing to be 'that guy' nothing in football surprises me any more. The old git in me still remembers when paying £30 for a Wembley cup final ticket seemed steep, but we're not in 1996 any more, we're in 2024 and, as we all know, life is expensive. If supporters are treating attending matches as a rare twice-a-year treat then it is possibly justifiable to spend 300 quid (travel, food, drinks etc) for a family of four for a day out, in the same way they might have an occasional trip to a theatre show or a gig. Doing that more than a dozen times a season, however, makes it a very pricey endeavour for the average family.

As a season ticket holder I can't pretend I'm not grateful that our tickets weren't subject to a bigger increase. My seat in the Trinity Road Upper is costing me £818 for the 2024-25 season, which for 19 home fixtures in the Premier League works out at just over £43 per game. When you look at it that way it is 'cheap' compared to some of the individual category A games.

As relieved as I am about my own situation, it does seem harsh on match-by-match fans having to subsidise us 'lucky ones' by paying such a premium for one-off games. If Villa continue on this Unai Emery-inspired trajectory on the field, there's no doubt they will continue to pack out Villa Park every other week. But I do fear working class fans, already struggling during the cost of living crisis, will be priced out soon, if they haven't already.

It's a tough one. It's supply and demand and Villa know that while the going is good fans will pay the prices, in the knowledge that if they don't there will be a queue of others who will. Let's not pretend this is anything new - top flight football lost touch with the fans a long time ago, you only need to look at ridiculous kick off times outside of evening and weekend train schedules to see that. It was only a matter of time before Villa fully joined in, especially a Villa eager to fast track their place among the elite and close the financial gap between themselves and the big boys in every way possible.

There's so much money washing around the game, whether it is lining the pockets of players, agents, TV executives, whoever, it’s certainly not us fans feeling a boost to our wallets. Some of the wages being dished out now are obscene - let’s face it, our club superstars could live a life of luxury beyond our wildest comprehension on a tenth of the salaries they are paid. Again it all comes down to the going rate. Footballers are only worth what clubs are prepared to pay them. The Premier League has branded itself the best league in the world and would no doubt argue that it needs to constantly increase the pay packets of its stars to fend off Saudi and other emerging threats to their talent.

The reality is that matchday receipts are still a drop in the ocean compared to broadcast revenue, but when clubs like Villa are trying to optimise every single line on their balance sheet, it is still a significant enough revenue stream from which to extract every last penny. As our Business of Football writer Dave Powell told me on our Claret & Blue podcast recently: "Every element of the business has to wash its face and show its delivery." Quite literally at the expense of the supporters.

Dan Rolinson

I'm not at all shocked. This has been an inevitability in the past three or four seasons and it's always likely to see a club where there is success on the pitch to hike the prices and strike on any feel-good factor. I can understand it, a more 'premium product' requires a higher financial outlay, but there surely has to come a limit. I worry though, where that limit may be, and how many will be priced out by that time.

I don't think the justification is fair. I'm a season ticket holder, so I'm glad my personal outlay will only be rising by five per cent. But that doesn't mean I can't be disappointed or angry for others who can no longer afford to pay the increased prices. Football is no longer for the working-class.

Fans are no more than numbers on a spreadsheet. Clubs would do well to remember how drab football was without fans in the 2021 season. I don't think anything will change, whilst the club is successful, prices will increase. Let's just hope there's people on that waiting list willing the pay the several hundreds of pounds extra.

I completely agree with the FSA. I'd like to hear more from them about what can be done about spending in football. It's absolutely right that an increase in gate revenue can help with PSR, it's such a minimal amount in comparison to spending on player trading, or massive wages, or hiring and firing coaches after 11 months.

James Rushton

The news didn't shock me at all. I feel like it's almost a foregone conclusion that prices at the club will continue to rise when it comes to tickets. Next year it will be another season ticket uplift. The year after a general admission hike. This is to be expected.

I think it's a shocking justification to be fair. It plays fans off against each other and acts like season ticket holders are gaining at the expense of others. That's unfair to pitch as an idea. Prices rose because the club wants to make more revenue, and it's as simple as that. Coming out and saying it is to limit season ticket hikes is a little cringe inducing. Just be honest!

COVID-era football showed us the worth of loyal fans, and Villa are lucky to have such a fanbase. It's not just Villa, but all manner of clubs hike prices and point to PSR/FFP as an excuse. Any other business would cut costs when spending is so dramatically an issue. Football clubs aren't inclined to do that though, and they might be inclined to remember who stood by their side when the chips were down business wide. Hint: it was fans.

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