Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

Ripping off the fans?

Posted by John Beech on September 8, 2009

As Stefan Szymanski points out in his highly readable new book Why England lose co-authored with Simon Kuyper, football clubs, and indeed sports clubs in general, have a problem with appropriating revenues from their fans.  In other words, many club-oriented activities, such as sitting in the pub and discussing last night’s game, do not lend themselves to the generation of revenues for the club.

It is not surprising then that clubs seek innovative ways of shaking the money out of fans’ pockets.  Affinity credit cards and even mortgages are becoming common place.  But shouldn’t fans get at least the same terms that others get?

A report by John Fitzsimons of highlights a number of cases where fans pay over the odds in return for their loyalty to thelir club.  He concedes that not all such deals are bad value, but a worrying number offer very poor value, and he recommends shopping around before signing up to a club package.

What is not clear in all of this is to what extent the club and/or the financial service provider benefit by fans paying over the odds.


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