Saudi slashes prices to boost soccer attendances

A series of measures has been launched to help swell crowds at Saudi Professional League matches
Ticket prices are to be capped at all Saudi football matches for the remainder of the season in an attempt to boost attendances in the kingdom’s domestic league.
By Eddie Taylor
Sun 31 Dec 2017 02:35 PM

Ticket prices are to be capped at all Saudi football matches for the remainder of the season in an attempt to boost attendances in the kingdom’s domestic league.

Turki Al Shiekh, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), announced that all prices for the league campaign will be no more than SR20 (AED19.50), a drop from the previous maximum of SR50 (AED49), according to the Saudi Press Agency on Saturday.

In addition to the price reduction, there will be a series of draws for Toyota cars – one of the league’s key sponsors – over the course of the next four championship rounds of the 14-team league.

Attendances at football matches in the Gulf have long been a concern, despite the overwhelming popularity of football amongst the population. Attendances during the 2017/18 season in Saudi hover around the 4,700 mark, according to transfermarkt.com, which represents a substantial drop from the 7,500 figure enjoyed in the previous campaign.

Al Ittihad, for instance, is the best supported club in the league but its average attendance of 15,000 is almost 10,000 down on last season – probably not helped by a mediocre campaign in which they currently sit fifth. By contrast, lowly Al Fayha, the Al Majma’ah-based club, attracts around 800 for each league game.

It’s been a similar story in the UAE, where average attendances struggle to top 2,500, despite an influx of top foreign talent.

There are 10 rounds left in the Saudi League, with Al Hilal currently top and Al Ahli in second.

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