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Preston North End v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Deepdale Stadium

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Is football now the ‘people’s game’ or the ruthless corporate raider’s game?

Across the Championship, ticket prices are now far too high, and Sunderland aren’t innocent when it comes to overcharging.

Photo by Tim Markland/PA Images via Getty Images

Sunderland’s upcoming trip to Coventry City is one which has been unpleasant for us for decades.

No wins at either Highfield Road or the CBS Arena in almost forty years might easily be enough to put supporters off the trip to the Midlands, but it’s fair to say that this probably isn’t the reason why there are a few hundred tickets still remaining in the away end for Saturday.

Coventry City v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship - Coventry Building Society Arena Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

The Sky Blues have slapped a £37 price tag on an adult ticket in the away end, with a children’s ticket setting you back £25.

These are prices which, for the Championship and arguably football in general, are shocking. If a parent wants to take their child to the match at the CBS, they’ll be paying £50 before even considering food, drinks and transport.

This isn’t a direct dig at Coventry, but more of a critique of the league and football as a whole, because £37 for a single ticket in the Championship, especially at a time when many people are still struggling through a cost of living crisis, is unbelievable.

Football is supposed to be a pastime, a recreational activity during which we can put aside the trials and tribulations of everyday life, even if it’s just for ninety minutes.

Coventry City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

How can football be an enjoyable pastime if fans need to fork out an arm and a leg to experience it live?

The game continues to show disrespect to supporters, even after the whole ‘football is nothing without the fans’ campaign led by TV broadcasters during the lockdown period.

As soon as fans were allowed back into stadiums, the pricey tickets and ridiculous TV scheduling returned.

Take last season, for example.

Both of our matches against Norwich City were moved for Sky Sports coverage, with our fixture at Carrow Road kicking off on a Sunday afternoon, which was hardly ideal considering the 500+ mile round trip made by most of the travelling fans.

When it comes to the price of tickets, Sunderland are no angels.

Tickets for our next home game against Southampton are being sold in some sections of the Stadium of Light for £36. We can hardly moan at other clubs for charging a ridiculous amount for tickets when our own house, particularly in that department, isn’t in order.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Ewood Park Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

In 2023, £36 and £37 are horrible amounts for a single ticket in the Championship.

The league as a whole needs to do better but in reality, this is an example of the fans being ripped off once again.

What Sky Sports and others said during lockdown about ‘football being nothing without the fans’ is true, but it’s just a shame the behind closed doors era hasn’t led to a sustained change in attitude from the league or TV broadcasters.

We will likely sell out - or nearly sell out at least - our allocation for Coventry.

However, if we don’t, it’ll be related to the sheer amount that attending the game will cost some people, or the fact that train strikes will make it even harder to get to a stadium that isn’t easily accessible at the best of times.

We often take thousands to away games across the country, and our travelling support is easily some of the best and most loyal in the UK.

It’s sad, therefore, to think that many of these hardened fans will be unwilling to follow their team due to the disgracefully high prices they’re now being confronted with.


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