THE cost of watching Premier League football at the Stadium of Light is going up.
The club today announced its new season ticket prices – with increases across the board.
And it is the Black Cats’ youngest fans who face the steepest rise. The cost of a season ticket for under-16s is up £20 from £49 to £69 – a rise of more than 40 per cent.
Pensioners will be be hit too, with the cost of an over-65s season ticket rising from £285 to £300, while under-22s’ prices start from £280 next season, compared to £265 at the moment.
Adult season tickets will cost from £400 for 2011/12, up from a minimum £380.
Tickets go on sale on Monday, March 7, and fans have until 5pm on Wednesday, April 6, to take advantage of the current prices and guarantee their seat. Anyone opting to renew their ticket or buy a new one before then will again be able to spread the cost over eight months, interest free.
Martyn McFadden, editor of fanzine A Love Supreme, said he didn’t believe anyone would be put off by the increases.
He said: “It is a very small rise, really, though I don’t know if they would have been better off not having a rise and making a big thing out of that, in terms of the extra money it is going to bring in. The interest-free credit thing does help a lot of people – I have used it myself.
“A lot of people will continue to be frustrated at the amount that Premier League footballers are paid, but if we weren’t bringing in exciting players for people to watch, they would be frustrated by that and we would probably be battling the drop – it is damned if you do, damned if you don’t. We want to be battling at the top – it is the price of love really.”
Chairman Niall Quinn sparked controversy recently when he criticised supporters who choose to watch foreign broadcasts of games in the pub rather than go through the Stadium of Light turnstiles. Today he said he believed the pricing was fair and appealed to fans to back the Black Cats where it counts.
He said: “I do appreciate that with all the passion and enthusiasm in the world – which our fans certainly have – it still isn’t always an easy decision for supporters to commit financially to a season card.
“That is why our long-held ethos of welcoming supporters to the Stadium of Light with a realistic pricing structure continues to be uppermost in our minds.
“I believe we strike a good balance with our prices in terms of making paying to watch their team as affordable and convenient as possible for our fans and bringing in the revenue we need to help the club continue to make the progress we all want to see.
“Our 2011-12 prices means a child under the age of 16 can attend the Stadium of Light for less than £4 a game, which I think represents very good value for money and gives families the opportunity to come along and enjoy football together.
“I sincerely hope our commitment to fair prices will encourage as many people as possible to join us on the next part of our journey.
“It would be great to see a sea of new faces alongside the thousands of fans who are already part of our fantastic Sunderland family.”
Current season card holders will be sent renewal information by post in early March. Online renewals and new purchases by credit/debit card are also available at safc.com.
For further information, supporters can check out the club’s official website, safc.com, or call the ticket office on 0871 911 1973.