La Liga are desperate to improve their image and compete with the Premier League for international audiences, but for many fans within Spain, there is a feeling they have become secondary.
The staggered scheduling of matches means that late matches and a frequent weekday fixtures have become a regular part of the fandom in Spain. In a country the size of Spain, where travelling to away matches can be a monumental journey at times, these factors weight even heavier.
In addition, ticket prices have come under scrutiny. According to the Barcelona International University of Catalonia, tickets in Spain are the most expensive of anywhere in Europe. Tickets in Spain equate to 4% of the average salary, whereas in the rest of Europe, most places do not reach 2.5%.
Speaking to Marca, La Liga President Javier Tebas said he thought that the idea of expensive ticket prices was a myth.
“Today you have access to football not only through the stadiums. You have access on television, through social networks, in various mediums and sizes. It is very different from what was happening 10-12 years ago. And in terms of the price of the tickets, I think it’s a myth.”
“In Spain, season tickets are common and they are really cheap. If you look at the income of the clubs, you see that the income from season tickets has decreased despite the fact that more people go to the stadiums. It is true that in Germany they fill the stadiums, but also that the way of watching the matches is different. They go two hours before and then stay another hour after the match ends, and that allows the clubs to obtain income outside the cost of the ticket, because fans spend more in the stadium environment than at the ticket office itself. That is what allows them to lower prices.”
The average price of the ticket in Spain is €68.79, while in the Bundesliga, it drops to €53. France has the cheapest tickets of the major leagues at €42, England lies at €58 and Serie A requires on average €60 to see a game.
Tebas did admit there was one outlier in Spain, where he also believed prices were out of hand.
“The problem in Spain is when Real Madrid or Barcelona visit. That makes them put up the prices, and for the occasional fan, entry is expensive.”