Michael Morrow

There are a lot of positive things to say about the University of Sussex: It regularly features in the top 20 of university league tables,  the campus is set in stunningly picturesque surroundings and we’re only a stone’s throw away from one of the most exciting and vibrant cities for students that Great Britain has to offer.
For any die-hard football fan, like me, however, the main appeal of Sussex University is that about 200 metres away from our campus lies Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s state of the art home: the American Express (Amex) Stadium.
Yet the stadium almost seemed redundant to me after I discovered that there are no student deals at the Amex, meaning that to go and see the mighty Albion play at home it will cost the standard, hefty £28…and that’s for the cheapest seats.
Of course, I cannot claim this lack of student discount to be an injustice as clearly the club are under no obligation to provide students with special prices.
Nevertheless, it does seem strange that the club are choosing not to ‘cash-in’ on Brighton’s sizeable student population, which makes up roughly 10% of Brighton’s entire population.

Is this not too big a demographic to essentially alienate from attending matches? Although, with the club currently boasting the highest average attendance in the Championship of 25,512, maybe it’s not.
However, given the fact that the stadium itself is on the doorstep of our campus, one would hope the club would look to develop and explore the potential student market.
I’m sure many football fans, regardless of alliance, would be willing to attend matches if the tickets were set at a reasonable price, especially given the stadium’s capacity will be expanded to 30,000 in January 2013.
Attempts were made to contact the club to ask about the potential of cheaper match tickets for students, but no comment has been given by the club.
In other cities where there is a significant student population, such as Nottingham or Leicester, there is a student ticket available at the major clubs.
This surely does not reflect well on Brighton and Hove Albion.
However, the club has recently unveiled an offer for students, which consists of a free pie and pint of beer after buying a ticket for one of the upcoming home fixtures against either Peterborough or Bristol City (although at £3.90, the pie is the most expensive in the league, so perhaps the deal is a little more generous than on first sight!).
In spite of their food and drink promotions, the high ticket prices still remain.
My friend and I are often left gawking, open-mouthed as we watch the Brighton squad train at Falmer Sports Complex, the University’s main gym.
You would think that the close proximity of the players and students would facilitate attempts to make games more inclusive to the students.
This partnership between the team and the univeristy is sealed by a good financial package for the University (with the football club funding the recently revamped strength and conditioning room, which students will have sole use of when the club moves to its training ground).
Surely however,there can be more discussions about prices given the close relationship the two institutions experience through this.
Before this happens, I suppose I’ll have to make do with watching their games on a dodgy internet connection in my halls, but hey, that’s student living.

Categories: Sports

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