I have written a lot about getting tickets to Premier League games, because that is the “holy grail” for most US soccer fans.
But sometimes you just can’t get that ticket, either because it’s a big game, it’s late in the process, or it’s one of those clubs where it is just about impossible, no matter what – Liverpool and Arsenal come to mind.
There is another way – an expensive way, to be sure, but another way into these hard-to-score games: the hospitality package.
Funny Thing About English Soccer Tickets …
… is that it is illegal to resell them, even at face value. Technically if I buy two tickets for 20 quid each and then sell one to you for 20 quid, I have broken the law. Of course, that’s like going 36 in a 35 mph zone; nobody cares. Really, they are after the touts (scalpers).
Still, to resell a ticket to an English soccer game, you have to put it in a package.
The Suite Life
The most common form of hospitality package is basically a seat in a suite, which comes with some kind of meal, bar, former player interaction, and so on. And since this seat also comes with add-ons like a stadium tour, hotel room, etc., it is now part of a package. Voila, legality!
Some clubs sell individual seats in these suites directly to the public. Some clubs only sell entire suites, in which case an agency might buy the whole thing and then sell the seats individually, perhaps adding the hotel room, tour, whatever. One such agency, at the very high end of the market, is Thomas Cook, which calls them “Match Breaks.”
Those agencies, in turn, might also work with resellers to help sell them. So sometimes you can get a package from the club, sometimes Thomas Cook, and sometimes you need a reseller.
It so happens that I am one of those resellers. It’s part of the consulting services I offer, along with trip planning and custom itineraries.
Sometimes a Seat is Just a Seat
There are other, less expensive packages. These involve the benefits like buffet and bar with just a seat at the game, as opposed to a spot in a suite or box. They are priced according to the location of the seat and the quality of the food. So it will be one price for a sandwich, soda, and seat in the corner, and something else entirely for a midfield, mid-stand seat with a buffet and a cash bar. Also, of course, Middlesbrough is cheaper than Manchester City.
Speaking of Prices …
So what does all this cost? As you can imagine, there is a range – literally covering all the leagues of English soccer. You can get a suite at, oh, Bristol City starting at 75 pounds. If, on the other hand, you want to see Liverpool, now you’re talking 375 to 465 auid. And if you want into the FA Cup Final, that will be 525 to 1,755!
The pricing is determined first by the club, then by the level of experience, and then by the opponent – the same as with regular tickets. The place to start, as always, is with the club’s website.
So a hospitality package can be an expensive proposition, or it can seem like a bargain, but in some cases it may be the only (legal) way you’re getting into that Premier League game you’ve been dreaming about.
For more information like this, check out my ever-changing FAQ page on seeing English Soccer. And for super detailed assistance – including, perhaps, a hospitality package – check out my consulting services.