Champions League trip equivalent of 4 years rent in Liverpool

29 May 2019 5 min. read

Elated Liverpool and Tottenham fans were quickly brought back to earth after reaching the UEFA Champions League final, as they were greeted by the news of small ticket allocations and predatory pricing practices. If fans from London or Liverpool are to make the most of their trip to Madrid, new analysis suggests they could pay as much as four years’ worth of rent to cheer on their teams.

With an all-English affair scheduled for European club football’s showpiece finale, fans of both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur face an uphill struggle if they are to attend the match in Madrid on June 1, 2019. UEFA has prompted fierce criticism from both clubs following its announcement that only 16,613 tickets for the 67,829-seat Metropolitano Stadium have been allotted to each club – with many suggesting that not only would detract from the atmosphere of the night, but reduce the final to a gathering of disinterested UEFA dignitaries – but worse, somehow, was still to come.

The rocketing cost of attending the match – including eye-watering ticket fees, ramped up airfares and opportunistic hotel rates – has also provoked anger. In a joint statement issued by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust and Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly group, calls have since been made for a cap on ticket pricing, transparency over allocation and consumer protection measures to be introduced to stop prices being forced up.The cost of attending Champions League final versus rent in Liverpool

A statement from the groups said, “Ticket prices of in excess of £500 are also extortionate. And there needs to be transparency from UEFA and our clubs in how tickets are priced and allocated. For many fans, this final is not a one-off event. It is the culmination of a journey. It is time to stop cashing in on fan loyalty.”

Illustrating the shocking extent to which UEFA have indeed ‘cashed in’ on the dedications of football’s support base, a new report from housing platform Ideal Flatmate has shown that Liverpool fans could expect to pay as much as four years of rent to attend the game. While the hyper-inflated market of London made this figure seem less drastic by comparison, it would be hard to argue that Spurs fans should not feel similarly aggrieved at being asked to cough up the equivalent of 14 years in average Haringey rent to attend the game.

Ideal Flatmate researched the cost of attending and found that a category 1 ticket was going for £24,304, while the cheapest flights were £613 for a return from Liverpool between the Friday and the Sunday, and £786 for the same trip from London. On top of this, a mere two nights in a Madrid hotel at the time of the event will set those fans back £996, meaning the total cost of the trip – not including food and drink etc. – is a colossal £25,913 if you’re a Liverpool fan and £26,086 if you’re a Spurs fan (the difference coming from their air fares). Fans could actually move to Madrid for 2.8 years for that price meanwhile.

“Pay up or shut up”

These figures reduce if fans plump for the cheap-seats, but not by a figure that would make any fan particularly comfortable still. The cost of two category 2 tickets – the only remotely affordable option if fans want to travel as a group – is a huge £7,952. That still represents half a year’s rent in Haringey, or 1.6 years in Liverpool – and considering football’s working class foundations are what has built into the global phenomenon it is today (1.12 billion people tuned in to watch televised coverage of the World Cup Final in 2018) – it is something that does not sit well with the vast majority of the sport’s grassroots.

Speaking on the findings, Ideal Flatmate Co-Founder Tom Gatzen, said, “If there’s one thing that could make the cost of renting in the UK look like a comparable bargain, it’s the cost involved in this year’s Champions League final. Much like the rental market itself, those with the required amenities are taking advantage in a huge surge in demand to cash in, while those everyday fans who deserve to be there are forced to pay up or shut up. There’s no doubting that it will be a once in a lifetime experience, but for me personally, a year or three in sunny Madrid once the dust has settled sounds like much better value for money.”

While football’s elite seem to be unshaken in their opinion that fans will “pay up or shut up”, however, cracks seem to be appearing in the logic of this supposedly bottomless golden goose. Had England navigated an unlikely route to the World Cup final in Moscow last year, a Three Lions fan wold have had to spend a minimum of £967 on tickets, compared to a 2006 equivalent of £565. Figures unveiled by FIFA subsequently showed that travelling support for England’s football team was likely to decline by around 15,000 at Russia 2018.

Indeed, a significant number of World Cup matches featured thousands of empty seats, prompting an investigation from FIFA itself after one particularly sparsely attended encounter between Uruguay and Egypt. For some time, the popularity of football as a global phenomenon seemed enough to allow the game’s top dogs to charge what they liked, but a large part of the flagging attendance at many major games is likely due to the record premiums now expected for tickets. Whether this model of business can survive indefinitely remains to be seen.