Football fans hit as match day costs soar

Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

Virgin Money's latest Football Fans' Inflation Index reveals the cost of being a football fan is now three and a half times the rate of inflation.

The figures, which take into account ticket prices, replica shirts, match programmes, a gallon of petrol, rail fares, a pint of lager and a bacon roll, put the average cost of a match day at over £112.
The average match day cost - £112.87 - has risen almost 45 per cent since 2006 when it would set fans back £77.95.

What is pushing up the price?

While this increase has been driven in part by the rising cost of petrol, train travel and food prices, there are other factors which the clubs can control.

The average cost of a ticket across all English professional leagues is up from £24.86 a year ago, to £25.09. Replica shirts are now priced on average £29.81 compared with £25.81 last year - an increase of more than 15 per cent.

This combination of factors has pushed the cost of a matchday basket of goods up £11.83 since the end of the 2010/11 season alone. It represents an increase of 11.7 per cent - three and a half times the current 3.4 per cent rate of inflation for the wider economy.

Scott Mowbray from Virgin Money said: 'When prices are rising generally in the economy they are going to rise in football as well. 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.'
The most expensive football tickets
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Football fans hit as match day costs soar

Price - £100

The Gunners officially charged the most for tickets to their matches. These prices were only for a top band of seats, and they do have seats at a much more reasonably priced £35. 

Price - £87

Roberto Di Matteo's team demand the next highest ticket price for their performances, but also have lower band ticket prices staring from £23.50

Price - £80

Spurs are up next, and not only are their tickets pricey, the cost of a match day here (cheapest ticket, programme, pie and a tea) is one of the most expensive too. 

Price - £60

The south west London club have the fourth highest ticket prices despite being middle of the table performers, with many of their better performing counterparts offering cheaper seats. They do however also have lower priced tickets starting from £20. 

Price - £55

Fighting for the top spot in the table, United have a reasonable ticket price relative to their performance, though still charge more than their local rivals. 

Price - £48

Despite offering more reasonably priced tickets than many of the other top clubs, the cost of a match day here is the most expensive of any of them. 

Price - £47

Although they languish far from the top of the table, Villa are in seventh place, though their cheaper seats start from £21. 

Price - £45

A tie sees these two clubs, who have just a point between them in the Premier League, in eighth place. It's Stoke who has the cheaper overall match day though. 

Price - £42

It might come as a surprise to find City this far down the list. The club - who have had their fair share of controversy in the past few weeks - have relatively cheap tickets compared to their performances this year.

Price - £40

It's also somewhat surprising to find bottom of the table Wolves making it into the top ten with these prices which certainly don't match up to their lacklustre performances. 


Fans still loyal

Despite the rising prices, it seems dedicated fans are still prepared to foot the bill to watch their team. Premier League clubs like Norwich, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Fulham reporting near sell-outs and average attendance across the Premier League is 90 per cent of capacity.

In fact Barclays, the official sponsor of the Premier League, say that so far this season almost 11.5 million fans have attended matches.

The good news

Somewhat surprisingly, the cost of attending a game has actually fallen since the beginning of the year when it stood at a whopping £116.

Several clubs have introduced season ticket deals including Newcastle United, for whom Virgin Money have just become a shirt sponsor. The Premier League club have promised fans a season ticket price freeze for the next nine years.

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