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Football fans squeezed as costs soar

  • Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index shows prices rising 3.5 times faster than inflation
  • Basket of football goods now costs £112.87, an 11.7% increase

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
DATEDATE
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

Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Index has tracked the cost of football since January 2006 and is aimed at helping supporters keep track of the rise and fall in the costs of supporting their team. The company identified the match day essentials fans buy and keeps tabs on increases and decreases.

At the launch of the index in January 2006, the match day basket of goods cost £77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at £112.87 – a rise of almost 45% per match day.

ENDS

Editor’s notes:

* Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Index runs every three months and the firm’s research team examines the cost of various items which football fans spend money on. The basket of goods includes a gallon of petrol, a pint of lager, a bacon roll, a train fare, a match ticket, a replica shirt, the cost of watching football on television and a match programme.

For further information

Kevan Reilly/Chris Jarvis, Citigate Dewe Rogerson 
Tel: 0207 282 1096/1088/2857

Tel: 0191 279 4676/01603 215 909 
press.office@virginmoney.com

About Virgin Money

  • Virgin Money acquired Northern Rock plc from Her Majesty’s Treasury on 1 January 2012. The acquisition included:
    • 75 Northern Rock branches
    • One million customers
    • c.£14bn mortgage book
    • c.£16bn retail deposit book
    • c.2,100 employees
  • Combined with Virgin Money’s existing business of three million customers, the enlarged Group will have over four million customers.
  • The combined business will operate under the Virgin Money brand.
  • Virgin Money’s business ambition is to make “everyone better off” – this philosophy underpins our approach to business by offering good value to customers, treating employees well, making a positive contribution to society and delivering a profit to shareholders.
  • Virgin is the official sponsor of the London Marathon, the biggest annual fundraising event in the world. Virgin Money leads the London Marathon sponsorship with the ambition to help runners raise £¼ billion over 5 years and will use its infrastructure, online capability and financial expertise to deliver that through Virgin Money Giving.

Northern Rock plc

  • On 1 January 2012, Northern Rock was acquired by Virgin Money.
  • Northern Rock is a bank, authorised by the FSA as a deposit taker and mortgage lender. It offers savings accounts and mortgage products to customers in the UK. New products are offered through both direct channels - including a national branch network - and mortgage intermediaries.