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08 Jul 2012 presents a study of the ticket prices at Primera División ahead of the season 2012/13; despite the prices at the Riazor will be –in some cases- a little higher the true is that the structure is among the cheapest ones at Primera.

The objective of the study is to determine how expensive is to see football at the Spanish stadiums ahead of the season 2012/13. It´s difficult to explain and make comparisons among the twenty clubs at Primera División regarding the ticket prices for the new campaign, because the structure is really complex. In Spain, as it happens in other European countries, the fans normally pay a subscription in order to have the right to attend to the full league competition, at least for part of it, a season that’s composed by nineteen home meetings.

According to the stats of the LFP, up to 80% of the people that watch football at the Spanish stadiums do it through the figure of an annual subscription; these fans are often referred as “socios” or “abonados”. Therefore, this study is based in what a normal socio pay for the full season and not for a single match.

Also, there are three situations that need to be explained; the first is the stadium itself, because it isn’t the same to attend to a modern structure like Espanyol’s Cornellà-El Prat than to do it to Rayo Vallecano’s Estadio de Vallecas, besides the prices are very different inside the same stadiums, because almost all the Primera stadiums have exclusive VIP sections that offer expensive services, like catering, parking and attendants. These sections are normally located at the centre, sectors often referred as “tribuna”, while the cheapest places are often located at the sides, just behind the goals.

The second factor is the number of matches involved in the package acquired by the socio; normally the clubs sell a package for the full liga season (19 games) and another different plan that includes Copa and European games. In recent times the clubs are offering a liga package that doesn’t include the matches against Real Madrid and Barcelona, for these clashes the socios have to pay an extra fee in order to enter into the stadium. Normally these matches are referred as “club’s days”. But there are special cases, for example UD Levante and Depor. Levante’s package includes the full liga season, the Copa games until the last-16 round and the Europa league clashes until the last-32 round. At Depor the package includes all liga and Copa matches, but only if the socios subscribe it before July 16, curiously both clubs are presenting the cheapest structures in the league.

Finally, the prices are not the same for all the socios; almost all the clubs have special prices for young people, old socios (65-year-old fans) and, according to the present times, unemployed socios, in some cases these type of client receive a 50% discount. Atletico Madrid and Espanyol have special prices for disabled people. Sevilla FC offers a special package for big families (5 or more members), while RCD Mallorca have lower rates for women no matter their age. At Valencia, there’s a special rate for the fans owing shares of the club. In recent seasons it’s normal to see the clubs offering discounts to young adults, as example Deportivo, club that has created a special rate for U-25 fans. So, this study has been made considering the case of a male socio having a job and between the ages of 25 and 65.

The cheapest place to watch Primera football is without doubt the Ciutat de Valencia, the home of UD Levante.  The “Gol Alboraia” section only cost €110 and it includes nineteen games in liga, plus some games in Copa and Europa League, a real bargain. These prices, however, will be 30% higher if the socio is buying his package after July 7.

And the second cheapest place to watch Primera football is the Riazor. A socio can watch Deportivo at Pabellón Inferior for just €175.  Balaidos looks cheaper as any Celta male socio can watch his team for only €120 in case of been an existent socio or €150 in case of been a new one (Fondo Preferencia Lateral), but the point is that the package of Celta doesn’t include the full 19 liga home matches as they will have to make an extra payment in order to watch two or three additional games (probably Real Madrid, Barca and the derby with Depor), so in the end they will end paying more than €200 in order to watch the full season. Still, it's a good deal.

Meanwhile, the package of Depor includes the full liga tournament plus the Copa Del Rey, the Teresa Herrera tournament, the matches of Deportivo B and other youth teams, even the games of the hockey local team Liceo. However, this package is only available to existing socios that renew their memberships before July 16. For the rest the price will be higher and, for the first time, the club will charge them the ticket price for three club’s days. But in the end the Ciutat de Valencia and the Riazor are the only two stadiums in Spain where a male fan can find a full season’s package costing less than €200. Everything else is above this limit.

Another stadium with a similar price structure than Celta is Rayo Vallecano’s Estadio de Vallecas; the package for the section “Fondo” costs €164, though it only includes 17 liga games, for the other two (club’s days) any male socio need to pay €25 per match, which means that the whole season end costing €214. Still, the socio can get a 10% discount if is able to bring 10 new socios to the club. In general the lower prices at other clubs, for their cheapest sections at the stadiums, are between €200 and €260.

The cheapest place to watch football at Primera: the Ciutat de Valencia stadium

Meanwhile, it calls the attention the policy of some small clubs, because their prices are very high, even higher than some Champions League outfits. These are the cases of Osasuna (€272), Real Betis (€275), Zaragoza (€281), Granada CF (€340),  or the most expensive one: Getafe (€380), in these clubs the cheaper season’s package is higher than the one at Valencia’s Mestalla: €221, Grada de La Mar. Actually, the socios at Valencia just have to make an extra payment of €10 and they could watch the Champions League games, at least in the sector of Grada de La Mar, though this price at Valencia is only available for shareholders, for any fan that doesn’t owe shares the price is, at least, €79 higher. The lowest rate at Athletic Bilbao is also expensive (€452, Preferencia Norte), though this one includes some of the Copa and Europa League games.

If the reader now wonders how much is needed in order to watch Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, then it might end surprised, because it isn’t so expensive comparing the rates with other clubs. The cheaper seat at the Santiago Bernabeú costs €362.49 (Grada baja, that’s €22.49 less compared to Getafe’s rates). Not bad for the current champion in la liga. More accessible are the prices at the Camp Nou, the cheapest liga season’s package only costs €254 (Lateral 4D). To mention that both giant clubs have the same structure: the socio has to pay a yearly subscription to the club and then a rate for the section at the stadium where they want to watch the games, this yearly subscription, or social quota, is already part of the amount presented before.

Moving to the centre of the stadiums it's possible to find the more expensive seats; at Depor the highest price is at Tribuna Superior, which cost €590; at Celta’s the highest price is €515 (Tribuna), though always forced to pay for three club’s days. But the “cheapest” high price of Primera División is once again for UD Levante and the €350 that a male socio need to pay for a subscription at Tribuna Central.

Curiously, Getafe and the Alfonso Pérez coliseum, which is the most expensive place for people looking for bargains, have an ‘affordable’ price for the more expensive seats: €580 at Tribuna Cubierta. At the other stadiums the more expensive seat is always above the €600, starting at Valladolid’s José Zorilla (€647)

At Osasuna’s Reyno de Navarra the most expensive seat costs €845 (Palco Tribuna Preferencia), at Espanyol is €850 (Tribuna Inferior Central). At the Camp Nou the most expensive seat costs €904 (Tribuna, 2da grada). Then the prices overcome the barrier of the €1,000. At Rayo’s Estadio de Vallecas is €1,140 (palco central), At Sevilla FC the highest price is €1,300 (Tribuna central cubierta); at the Bernabeu is €1,587 (Tribuna). At Malaga’s La Rosaleda is €1,340. A seat at Tribuna Principal of Real Sociedad’s Anoeta cost €1,442. At the Calderón stadium the price is €1,180.

The Alfonso Pérez coliseum is the most expensive stadium for fans looking for the lowest ticket prices
But if what the reader wants is exuberance then it should visit the VIP sections. Normally the prices of these sectors don’t appear in the lists published by the clubs, because the target of this product isn’t the general public, but the companies that pay this luxury for their top employees or special clients. These VIP sections are special rooms that include luxury boxes, TV/cable, internet access, parking, catering services and attendants.

At some stadiums it’s possible to rent only one seat in these exclusive sections; as example Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan, there the socio have to pay between €2,500 and €2,525 for the season (Tribuna VIP). Meanwhile, the five-star VIP section at Cornellà-El Prat costs €2,015.  The Bernabeú and the Camp Nou are among the most expensive VIP sections in Spain. These spots cost between €5,500 and €18,000 at the Bernabeú, while it cost €3,500 and €10,800 at the Camp Nou, this for one single user.

But that isn’t the highest price that can be paid at these two gigantic stadiums; and it’s that there are other exclusive packages composed by boxes for 10 or more persons that are marketed among big companies and that could cost a fortune; according to some reports a the Bernabeú these sections could cost between €38,000 and €400,000, depending in the number of spectators, rates that include catering and other expensive services. At the Camp Nou the prices are between €59,000 and €200,600.

Deportivo’s fans also have the option to pay for a VIP section, since the season 2001/02 the club offers VIP seats located between the sector Preferencia inferior and Preferencia superior. This section has a catering and attendant service provided by the Playa Club, plus other luxuries like the possibility of watching the repetitions of the plays on TV. Deportivo never inform of the prices for this section at the Riazor, but according to some reports it costs around €4,800 for one single person. It is commented that since some years ago the club doesn’t rent individual boxes, so the price for a box of 10 persons could easily surpass the €20,000 per season; it is rumoured that companies like Estrella Galicia and Inditex are paying for this exclusive spots.

At other clubs the prices of the VIP sections are similar; as example Mestalla, the prices are between €8,800 and €10,000. At Atletico Madrid the VIP section is more expensive as it costs around €47,200. Currently companies like Coca-Cola, Damn (beer) and Endesa (electricity) are the ones paying these high prices for their employees and clients.

Almost all the Primera stadiums have a VIP section; the Ciutat de Valencia inaugurated its VIP sector on the past season, and Rayo Vallecano’s Estadio de Vallecas has a small section of luxury boses with 6 seats that cost between €7,200 and €9,000. The only place without a VIP sector is Athletic Bilbao’s San Mamés, this last club is about to build up a new stadium and it will include a VIP lounge for the richest fans (it will be launched in 2013). Getafe’s stadium also has a VIP section, but it’s only used for the club’s authorities.

It’s also necessary to explain that the clubs are also interested in selling tickets for one particular game, mainly when they are playing important things at the end of the season. In this sense is now common to see the teams selling tickets at really cheap prices, even for the Tribuna sectors. Just to remember that Depor was selling tickets at €10 and €5 during the last matches of the Segunda campaign, though any fan interested had to acquire them through a socio. The record on the past season was for Villarreal CF, club that was selling tickets at €3 and €4 for the crucial meeting with Atletico Madrid.

Besides the prices, other problem for the socios at many Spanish clubs is that there are long lanes waiting for a slot at the stadiums, actually some of the socios had to wait up to three years before been accepted as members of clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona, meanwhile Malaga CF is passing through the same situation since last season. So, expensive or not people need to wait. The price of popularity.

It can’t be said that it isn’t cheap to watch Primera football on these days, neither that it isn’t expensive, because the range of possibilities is wide; from the €3 to watch Villarreal fight for its life to the half a million needed to rent a luxury box at the Santiago Bernabeú. In the end the response to the question “how expensive is to watch Spanish football?” can only be answered according to who the socio is.

Young fans, old people and groups living difficult financial times may need less than €100 in order to watch their favourite team all season long, but a male adult that has the privilege of having a job can do it paying less than €200 only at two places: the Ciutat de Valencia and Riazor, and in some cases at Balaidos and Estadio de Vallecas. For mid-class people the range to pay in order to attend to the stadium is between €500 and €1.400 per season. Anything else is a luxury.

Another conclusion is that there are club that pursue the welfare of the fans and in this sense they try to keep low prices. Four clubs clearly lead this race: UD Levante, RC Deportivo La Coruña, RC Celta and Rayo Vallecano. The rest of teams try to present the best price they can offer, but never below the €200. Then there are clubs like Granada CF, Real Zaragoza and Getafe CF that are careless of the fans as they charge very high prices for attending to the stadiums, which has raised the protests from their public.  



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