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Football Fans Squeezed As Costs Soar

Thu 12th Apr 2012 | Money & Finance

The cost of following football is close to an all-time high with inflation for fans running at over 11% a year – 3.5 times the rate for the economy as a whole, according to Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Index.

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

The cost of Virgin Money’s basket of goods has climbed £11.83 since the end of the 2010/11 season – an increase of 11.7% – despite inflation across the economy as a whole falling.  That means football inflation is rising 3.5 times faster than the 3.4% level of the Government’s official Consumer Price Index, Virgin Money’s research shows.

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% of capacity falling to 66% in the Championship, 46% in League 1 and 44% in League 2.

Scott Mowbray, spokesman for 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% 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

DATE                            COST   
January 2006                 £77.95 

January 2007                 £90.46 

February 2008               £85.19 

January 2009                 £95.60 

February 2010               £89.09 

January 2011                 £101.67

January 2012                 £116.00 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

 

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