In this section

Fans go the distance - 1,970 miles a season

  • West Brom top the league for distance travelled, Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index shows
  • Cost of average match day rises to £101.67

Football fans are going the distance in support of their team - and it’s an average 1,970 miles a season for domestic games, according to Virgin Money’s authoritative Football Fans’ Inflation Index*.

The most miles a season are clocked up by West Bromwich Albion fans who claim to put in 3,290 miles a season going to league matches - an average of 86 miles for every Premiership game beating the 2,471 miles - or 65 miles a game - clocked up at Man City. Man Utd fans put in 2,238 miles a season or 58 miles a game.

Premiership fans travel an average 1,920 miles a season compared with 1,854 miles a season in the Championship and 2,072 miles a season in Football Leagues 1 and 2. That works out at 52 miles a league game in the Premiership, 45 miles a game in Football Leagues 1 and 2 and 42 miles a game in the Championship.

The research - which showed fans travelled 1,899 miles a season in 2009 and 2,031 miles in 2008 - underlines the expense of attending matches as outlined by Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index.

It shows the average match day cost for fans is now £101.67 after a 4.2% rise in the past three months with the increase being driven by costs outside the clubs’ control, including petrol and train tickets.

Football clubs have cut costs - average ticket prices across all divisions are now £24.32 while replica shirt costs have dropped to £32.54 - but petrol prices are at near record highs, while average rail ticket prices have climbed to £13.63 from £12.87 in August 2010.

The average distance travelled by fans doesn’t tell the whole story - Virgin’s research with the Football Supporters’ Federation shows 15% of fans travel more than 4,000 miles a season and a hardcore 4% put in more than 10,000 miles a season.

Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “Football fans literally do go the extra mile supporting their club and it’s good to see that clubs are doing what they can to keep costs down."

“But travelling to games is a major cost for fans whether it is in a car or on trains. When you add in the travel problems the whole country has suffered in the snow, it’s impressive that supporters clock up as many miles a season as they do and that’s without counting in any European travel.”

Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation, commented: “These travel figures show the incredible commitment of match-going fans in supporting their teams - a commitment which is essential not only for the live game but for the television product as well. With both fuel prices and rail fares recently rising to unprecedented levels, it will become even harder for fans to maintain this commitment, and clubs should recognise this in their ticket pricing policies.”

West Brom3,290 miles
Man City2,471 miles
Chelsea2,416 miles
Liverpool2,262 miles
Manchester United2,238 miles
Newcastle United2,234 miles
Sunderland2,161 miles
Wolves2,071 miles
Everton2,048 miles
Blackpool2,021 miles
West Ham United1,837 miles
Tottenham Hotspur1,722 miles
Arsenal1,662 miles
Stoke City1,636 miles
Aston Villa1,567 miles
Birmingham City1,483 miles
Fulham1,344 miles
Wigan1,323 miles
Bolton1,323 miles
Blackburn1,312 miles

The Virgin Money Football Fans’ Inflation Index, which measures the real match day costs, shows the average price of going to a live game is now a hefty £101.67 compared with £97.50 in August 2010 but still below the high of October 2008 when it hit £106.21. The real match day costs** include a pint of lager, a match ticket, a replica shirt, and a match programme as well as some travel expenses.

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 2006, the match day basket of goods** cost £77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at £101.67 - a rise of £23.72 or 30% 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 Football Supporters Federation interviewed a representative sample of 4,150 football fans between 30 November and 15 December 2010.
** 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: 0207 111 1012

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

Football Supporters’ Federation
Malcolm Clarke Tel: 07939 594379
Steven Powell Tel: 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.
  • Virgin Money currently has over 2.5 million customers and 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 was 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.

About The Football Fans’ Census:

The Football Fans’ Census is the leading football research expert providing a communication channel between the supporter and the football industry.

About the Football Supporters’ Federation

The FSF represents more than 180,000 members supporting clubs and national teams at all levels throughout England & Wales.