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southampton 100x500Over the last week I’ve been checking out the prices being charged by Premier League clubs for away fans travelling to games in the opening two weeks of the season with no club, as yet, from the figures I’ve been able to obtain, charging less than the £30 maximum.

Concession prices are very much a different matter with West Ham having no ticket under £25 and Southampton charging seniors of over 65 the grand total of £27 although for their opening day fixture against Watford they are only charging £18 for under 18s and as little as £12 for under 11s.

But now, their main sponsor Virgin Media have stepped in to make football more affordable to away supporters who will be travelling to St. Mary’s this season. They have, today, announced a partnership with the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) that will see away fans charged no more than £20 for their visit to Southampton.

Virgin Media will now be subsidising every visiting supporter’s ticket from every Premier League club travelling to St. Mary’s meaning adult fans will pay just £20, with the company saying that football fans should be at the heart of the game and the company’s presence in football is about supporting those fans both home and away.

Kerris Bright, the chief marketing officer of the company said: “Football only exists because of the fans and we believe that fans should be at the heart of football. We hope by taking this step we set a good example in football for other clubs and sponsors to follow.

“Importantly, capping tickets at £20 to St. Mary’s makes it affordable for fans travelling to support their team away from home. We are helping to enact change for the good of fans so they can get a fairer deal.”

Kevin Miles, the chief executive of the FSF, in response, said: “Premier League football is immensely popular across the globe and the contribution of fans is central to that. Nobody wants to watch a game played out in front of empty stands.

“Away fans in particular bring noise and colour to grounds, adding to the spectacle immeasurably, but following your side on the road can be expensive and, despite football being wealthy we believe very little of it is used to reduce costs for match goers.

“Our partnership with Virgin Media shows this doesn’t have to be the case. There are innovative ways for sponsors to engage and support match going fans and Virgin Media are at the forefront of this.

“Tens of thousands of the most loyal fans will receive cheaper tickets next season thanks to this partnership which will also serve to highlight the obstacles facing travelling fans and reinforce this message that ‘Twenty’s Plenty’.”

Tickets have already gone on sale to Watford fans for that opening day fixture with an adult charge of £30 but this initiative will kick in immediately with all visiting fans receiving a £10 refund at Southampton on the day of the game.

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