“Can we get English Premier League tickets?”
There’s one question we’ve been asked more than all others when it comes accommodating friends and family visiting us in London. Thanks to the rising popularity of football (soccer), and it’s strong presence on American television, many visitors to the UK want to take in a game, see some stars and maybe take part in a crowd wave that doesn’t end for ten minutes.
But are tickets easy to come by? Can anyone go? Here’s how you can get your hands on English Premier League tickets reliably and some tips for seeing a match.
The Options for Premier League Matches in London
Currently, London has Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Watford, West Ham United, and Crystal Palace playing in the English Premier League. Many visitors want to see Manchester United or Liverpool, two of the most famous clubs. But just to be clear, Manchester is about 2.5 hours from London by train and Liverpool is right around 2 hours. If you want to actually go to a game in Manchester, but are based in London, you probably want to plan on a day game and prepare yourself for a very long day!
Your best best would be to just hope that one of the London clubs are playing one of those teams during your visit.
Becoming a Member of a Football Club
If you have a favorite team, you can become a member of the teams’ fan club (they’re called member clubs). Membership is relatively low (an annual £35-£50 fee), and you get early access to tickets at face value. Membership opens in the summer for new members to join. However, you can only buy one ticket on your membership per game so for families or couples, this might not be very helpful (unless you want to go ahead and buy memberships for everyone to join!).
Joining a club does give you the best chance of seeing a match without having to buy tickets on the secondary market!
When Tickets Are Released
While team schedules are available far in advance, tickets are not released to the public until less than a month ahead of time usually. So even if you’ve planned your vacation months in advance and want to secure tickets ahead of time, you’re out of luck. With the way team memberships work, members get access to tickets first, usually 2 months before a fixture, and the available tickets filter down through the membership tiers. If there are any tickets still available after the members are done securing seats, then they are released to the general public.
So, don’t expect a lot of English Premier League tickets to be available to the general public for many matches.
Pricing…It Ain’t Cheap
Ticket prices range usually for all teams from about £25 to £100 per ticket per game for members. It varies drastically by who the home team is playing, as teams categorize the importance of matches, usually on a 3 tier system (A, B, C categories).
As an Arsenal member, I can pay as little as £26 for a home match against Burnley, considered a Category C match. However, if I want to try to get a ticket to see Manchester United, the cheapest ticket rises to £64 and goes as high as £95.50 for the best seats.
English Premier League tickets don’t come cheap, even for members.
Buying Tickets Online Might Be the Best Bet
The easiest (but certainly not the cheapest) way to get your hands on English Premier League tickets is to buy them from an online ticketing agency (like StubHub). However, those prices can vary widely, and you can’t really control the premium you pay versus face value. Whatever people are selling, you can buy.
You may find availability and some inexpensive pricing, especially for less exciting match ups. You can find tickets for Arsenal or Chelsea versus the lower tier teams for as little as £50. Of course, if you want to watch Arsenal play Chelsea, well, expect to pay as much as £400 or more for a single seat.
If you are desperate, you can try to buy tickets from touts (English slang for scalpers). But be aware: there are plenty of shady characters conducting this business, and you run the risk of paying a load of cash for an invalid ticket. It is best to buy directly through the football clubs site (if there happens to be any seats left) or through a larger online ticketing company.
Be Careful Where You Sit
English Premier League stadiums are divided into home and away sections. The away section is typically a tiny sliver of a section, completely sectioned off from the rest of the stadium, with its own entrance, concession stands, and bathrooms.
And this is where European football in general becomes a little more serious.
Home and away fans are segregated in the stadium to prevent any potential incidents, and security is taken very seriously. Even if you have a valid ticket in the home section, and you wear the away teams colors (and I don’t mean a jersey, but just that your clothes match the team colors), you will not be allowed to enter the stadium.
If you buy your tickets online, make sure you know what section you are sitting in, and make sure to avoid the wrong colors!
Cup Matches Are the Cheapest and Easiest Tickets to Get
The top clubs play a lot of matches. In addition to their normal Premier League games, they are all part of two different ongoing tournaments – the FA Cup and the League Cup (all teams).
The Cup matches are often against other English teams from lower leagues, and attract the least amount of interest from club members, so even Arsenal tickets might be available to the public.
Seeing Arsenal play Preston North End is not exactly as exciting as seeing them play Liverpool, but it’s better than nothing!
There are also a few preseason games, that offer a great chance to snag a seat. We went to an Arsenal preseason ‘friendly’ match each August and spent just £25 per ticket, and seats where available even a few days prior to the match.
If All Else Fails, See a Lower League Team Play
London has a lot more than just Premier League teams. There are over 8 divisions of English football, so there are literally dozens of professional and semi-professional teams across the city. For the highest quality and easier availability of seats, check out one of the Championship teams (the level below Premier League). Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, and Brentford.
These seats are much easier to come by than English Premier League tickets, cheaper (as little as £10), and can be bought directly through the team without having to deal with an online broker.
And, most importantly, the football is still great and the fans just as intense.
As a visitor to London, you can definitely get tickets to an English Premier League football game. If you’re willing to pay a lot, you can see a great team. If you don’t really care but just kinda wanna see a game, that’s also not a problem, and your flexibility will allow you to attend a lower popularity game, or even see lower league teams.