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Cost of football hits a two-year low

  • Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index falls 5.2% in a year
  • Clubs cut ticket prices and replica shirt costs

The cost of following football has fallen to a two-year low as clubs across all divisions cut ticket prices and replica shirt costs in a bid to keep fans onside, according to Virgin Money’s authoritative Football Fans’ Index.

In sharp contrast to rising prices in the wider economy where the Consumer Price Index has hit a 17-month high of 3.7%, inflation for football fans has fallen 5.2% in the past year, Virgin Money’s research shows.

And that means the cost of attending a game is now at its lowest level since April 2008 with the price fall mainly attributable to football clubs across the Premiership, Championship and Divisions 1 and 2 cutting back in order to ensure stadiums are still packed.

Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index, which measures the real matchday costs, shows the average price of going to a live game is still a hefty £84.89 – but that is a genuine bargain compared with the highpoint of October 2008 when it hit £106.21. The real matchday costs* include a pint of lager, a match ticket, a replica shirt, and a match programme as well as some travel expenses.

The index shows average ticket prices across all divisions are now £22.56 and replica shirt costs have fallen to £23.75. However other parts of the basket of goods used to calculate the inflation index have risen including petrol prices and pay-per-view costs.

Research in February showed up to one-in-four season ticket holders were considering not renewing for next season in a bid to cut costs with 4% planning on giving up the game entirely and 21% looking to buy tickets when it suits. Many clubs have however frozen season tickets or only introduced small increases with Manchester United, one of the few to raise prices for this season, announcing a freeze.

Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “Football is often accused of being divorced from reality and for once that is something to celebrate. Inflation in the economy as a whole is heading up but costs are going down in football.

“It appears that clubs have got the message that fans cannot keep on paying more and more for football and are giving something back. That said the cost of going to a game is still a major chunk out of anyone’s disposable income.

Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, commented: “This reduction in the very high cost of watching football in this country is very welcome, particularly at a time when unemployment is rising. But we have to remember that these costs are still very high compared with many of our European counterparts and with other forms of entertainment. Football still has a very long way to go before it once again becomes accessible to all sections of the community - particularly at the top end of the game.”

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
May 2010£84.89

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 rises and falls 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 £84.89 – a rise of £6.94 per match day. Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Index runs every three months and the firm’s research team examines the cost of items such as a gallon of petrol, match tickets, food, alcohol, train tickets and replica shirts.


Notes to Editors

* 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, pay-per-view cost and a match programme

For further information

Grant Bather
Virgin Money
Tel: 07834 844 427

Kevan Reilly / Chris Jarvis
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 638 9571

Football Supporters’ Federation
Malcolm Clarke 07939 594379
Steven Powell 07881 950613

About Virgin Money:

  • Virgin Money is Virgin’s financial services arm and was established in 1995 as a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Norwich Union.
  • In 1997, Virgin Direct Personal Financial Services Limited launched The Virgin One Account, a joint venture with The Royal Bank of Scotland that offered the UK’s first current account mortgage direct to the retail market. In 2001, RBS bought out the Virgin Group’s stake in the joint venture.
  • In April 2004 the Virgin Group took 100% ownership of Virgin Money.
  • More than 2.5 million customers are currently serviced through the Virgin Money brand, which offers Payment Cards (Credit Cards & Prepaid Cards), Savings and Investment products (Stakeholder Pensions, Children’s Pensions, Employers Pensions, FTSE Tracker ISA, Bond & Gilt ISA, Climate Change ISA, Cash ISA, and Unit Trusts), General Insurance products (Motor, Home, Travel, and Pet) and Life Assurance products to the UK market.
  • Virgin Money’s brand 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 has signed a five-year deal to be the official sponsor of the London Marathon, the biggest annual fundraising event in the world. The inaugural Virgin London Marathon is on 25 April 2010. Virgin Money, the financial services division of the Virgin Group is leading 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.
  • Bank of America Europe Card Services provides the Virgin Credit Card range.

About The Football Fans’ Census:

The Football Fans Census is Europe’s leading football research expert. With over 100,000 members, the FFC provides a communication channel between the supporter and the football industry.

About the Football Supporters’ Federation

The FSF represents over 142,000 members supporting clubs and national teams at all levels throughout England & Wales.