Hatters hit back over BBC's Price of Football survey

Luton Town have questioned the BBC survey
Luton Town have questioned the BBC survey

Luton Town have hit back at the results of BBC Price of Football survey which suggests it would cost supporters almost £800 to follow the Hatters this term.

Results published yesterday by the BBC’s annual survey split the costing into £240 on tickets, plus a replica adult shirt at £40.

It also reckons fans will spend £80.50 on pies, £69 on programmes and £46 on teas throughout the campaign, based on buying one of each at a game.

However, there was a £324 cost included for a TV sport subscription, something that Luton were quick to question in a statement published on their official website.

It read: “Luton Town Football Club believe that some of the results provided by the BBC’s Price of Football survey do not truly represent what it costs to follow the club in Sky Bet League Two.

“While the Hatters did not fare too unfavourably overall, there are some inaccuracies which we felt needed to be addressed.

“As an example, some questions asked by the BBC do not take into account real discounts offered to season ticket holders when buying replica shirts and figures given for young adult tickets do not include early bird offers made to make the cost of football more affordable for supporters aged 22 and under, when a vast majority of our supporters buy their tickets.

“Most crucially however, the BBC suggests that as a season ticket holder, it could cost £799.50 to follow the Hatters this season, but includes £324 – more than 40 per cent of that figure – for a TV sports subscription payable to another party and that doesn’t apply to supporters of non-Premier League clubs like Luton Town, with just 20 League One or Two matches shown on Sky Sports during a season.

“It also assumes that every supporter will buy a cup of tea, a pie and a programme, when in fact, on average at league games during 2017-18, whereas only one in 20 supporters buy a tea and pie and less than one in five supporters buy a programme.

“Indeed, the average spend for an individual supporter on food and drink at Kenilworth Road is less than £2 per person, equating to only £42 across a League season.

“The calculation also includes a price of £40 for a season ticket holder to purchase a replica shirt, but with 10 per cent discount for LTFC season ticket holders, this figure is reduced to £36 – which again is not reflected in the calculated figure given to follow the Town at Kenilworth Road this season.

“We understand the need to appeal to young supporters especially, which is why we reduced the entry level season ticket price for the Oak Road end of Kenilworth Road this season to £100 for unaccompanied young adults if season tickets were purchased at early bird prices – less than £4.50 per match.

“After receiving feedback, we also introduced a new 17-18-year-old Young Adult category as a stepping stone to lessen the jump in price when moving through the age categories, with existing junior season ticket holders given a one-year amnesty, paying the unaccompanied youth price for 2017-18.

“On this basis, rather than the £799 the BBC stated as a commitment to be a Luton Town supporter, we would like to assure our supporters that their actual commitment doesn’t need to be any more than a third of this as an adult and an eighth as a younger supporter.

“Plus, we now offer a buy back scheme for those season ticket holders who aren’t able to attend a match, whereby they can hand in their matchday voucher prior to the date of the game and receive a £5 voucher to redeem against next year’s season ticket.”

Although Town came out with fifth cheapest season ticket out of the whole division, with their adult and child shirts costing less than the league average too, the club are still looking at ways to make supporting more cost effective.

The statement added: “It should also be taken into account that an average ticket at Kenilworth Road this season is almost £6 cheaper than it was ten years ago, an average season ticket price is almost £50 cheaper and our lowest junior season ticket price is £50 – the same as it was in 2007-08.

“The cost of a programme and a replica shirt is exactly the same, too – although cheaper with the season ticket holder’s discount!

“Despite being a business in a highly competitive environment, it is Luton Town Football Club’s intention never to take advantage of the most valuable commodity we have – the loyalty of our fanbase – and feel explanation of some of these examples serve to reinforce the lengths to which we go in order to preserve the value of our club’s culture.”