Cost of following football ‘rising at a rate 3.5 times above inflation’

Research by Virgin Money reveals that football fans are having to shell out near-record amounts of cash to follow their teams

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
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The average Premier League attendance is 90 per cent of capacity The Sport Review

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The cost of following football is close to an all-time high, with inflation for fans running at 3.5 times the rate for the economy as a whole, according to a study.

Increased costs for match tickets and replica kits, combined with the rising expense of watching football on television, have helped to send the total cost of Virgin Money’s ‘basket of football goods’ to £112.87 – the second highest value since the firm began tracking costs for fans in January 2006.

The cost has climbed £11.83 since the end of the 2010-11 season – an increase of 11.7 per cent – despite inflation across the economy as a whole falling.

That means football inflation is rising 3.5 times faster than the 3.4 per cent level of the government’s official Consumer Price Index.

The rise has been partially driven by costs which fans could argue the clubs themselves can control – the average price of tickets across all English professional leagues is now £25.09 compared with £24.86 a year ago, while replica shirts are now an average £29.81 compared with £25.81 at the end of last season.

At the same time, fans are being squeezed by costs in the wider economy with petrol prices, rail fares, food and alcohol prices climbing.

The good news is that the cost of attending a game has fallen since the start of 2012 when the total cost was £116.

Several clubs have launched season ticket deals, including Newcastle United which has offered fans a price freeze for the next nine years.

Average attendances show clubs are still pulling in the fans with Premier League clubs including Norwich, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Fulham reporting near sell-outs.

Across the Premier League the average attendance is 90 per cent of capacity, falling to 66 per cent in the Championship, 46 per cent in League 1 and 44 per cent in League 2.

“When prices are rising generally in the economy they are going to rise in football as well,” said Virgin Money spokesman Scott Mowbray.

“However, while inflation has fallen below 3.5 per cent across the economy as a whole, inflation for football fans is running over three times higher than that.

“This is another squeeze on people’s pockets and while some clubs are taking steps to help their fans, others need to think carefully about what else they can do to help.”

Football’s rising and falling costs

January 2006 – £77.95
May 2006 – £84.80
September 2006 – £90.29
January 2007 – £90.46
May 2007 – £90.87
September 2007 – £95.08
February 2008 – £85.19
July 2008 – £87.75
October 2008 – £106.21
January 2009 – £95.60
May 2009 – £89.53
August 2009 – £101.02
November 2009 – £102.53
February 2010 – £89.09
June 2010 – £84.89
August 2010 – £97.50
January 2011 – £101.67
May 2011 – £101.04
September 2011 – £110.38
January 2012 – £116.00
April 2012 – £112.87

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