Right at the bottom of the English football pyramid, most teams will play their matches against the backdrop of a few hundred people and a drafty hospitality shed that serves watery coffee to fans at half-time. At the top of the pyramid, however, the hospitality experience is entirely different with the food able to rival the finest Michelin-star restaurants in the world’s most cultured cities.
Which club in England charges the most for its matchday hospitality experience? The answer may not surprise you – it’s the reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City.
The most expensive ticket to see the richest Club in England
Indeed, there is a hefty premium put on watching Pep Guardiola’s trailblazers who incredibly, are tipped to win the title for a fourth season in a row. Tellingly, a Premier League bet of £10 on City to win the 2023/2024 season will only return a profit of £6 as of early November 2023. Essentially, this complete domination of the most competitive league in the world that allows City to charge £1158 for a hospitality ticket to their exclusive Tunnel Club Premier suite.
Of course, if the team wasn’t champions of both Europe and England and instead fighting relegation, then the club would never be able to get away with this price. However, at 375/1 in the latest Premier League relegation odds, the bad news for anyone interested in purchasing one is that it doesn’t look like this hospitality ticket will get any cheaper any time soon.
— Kevin De Bruyne (@KevinDeBruyne) August 11, 2023
So, what exactly does £1158 get you at the Etihad Stadium during a game?
The most expensive itinerary in football
To start with, you are able to use the player’s entrance upon arrival which presents a unique moment as you set foot in the stadium. From here, you will be greeted by some of the most charming individuals working in hospitality anywhere in the world as you are warmly escorted to your table.
With matchday programmes waiting for you at your chair, you are given a few moments to browse through Guardiola’s written musings before the menus arrive. This is where the day really takes off as you select what you would like to have for your five-course fine dining meal.
From starters of ceviche monkfish and yellison goat cheese panna cotta to mains of duck breast with pistachio plum, and line caught sea bass with red chicory runner bean, you soon realise that City are as impressive in the kitchen as they are on the pitch.
Moving on, desserts can include a raspberry beetroot and lemon verbena-infused ruby chocolate creation, or an apple tart with fine crystallized pastry, blackberry jam, and pistachio. This is then followed by a selection of cheeses that can be enjoyed before you’re guided down to the side of the pitch to watch the City players warm up.
With 15 minutes left to kick off, you are then invited to watch the players line up from behind one-way glass. While they can’t see you, you are in effect standing right next to them in the tunnel.
When the game does begin, your Tunnel Club Premier ticket allows you to sit behind the dugout in slightly elevated seats which gives you the best view in the house to watch the champions of England.
If the famed Manchester drizzle is coming down and a cutting wind is blowing off the Pennines, then you can rely on City’s padded and heated seats which are reserved for Tunnel Club Premier members to keep you from freezing in the first half.
Half-time means that you’re once again led up to your table to enjoy a wide range of premium snacks.
With another 45 minutes of football left, you return to your pitchside seats and feast your eyes on Guardiola’s men who will, in all likelihood, be in the process of inflicting a heavy beating on their opponents.
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) May 22, 2023
In essence, all you need to do is put your feet up and watch the champagne football on show.
A matter of taste
Having paid £1158 for a ticket, you’ll be relieved to hear that you are not forced to leave the stadium when the full-time whistle blows and instead, are excitedly welcomed back into the hospitality suite for another two hours. With full-time refreshments on offer and a sommelier at your service, you will either toast your day in style or grimace as you wonder how you allowed yourself to be short-changed.