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Fans go into extra time for the football season

  • Average fan spends nearly 14 hours a week following the game, research shows
  • Nearly 1 in 10 admits to spending more than 40 hours a week

With the new football season well and truly underway, many fans will be wondering where all their time has gone.  That is because fans spend an average of nearly 14 hours a week following the beautiful game, according to new research* from Virgin Money.

The average fan racks up 13.8 hours each week on football – the equivalent of nearly two full working days – which includes time spent traveling to and from the match, watching TV, searching the internet and talking about the game with friends. That adds up to over 700 hours a year – or nearly a full month, spent being a football fan.

And that’s only the average.  Nearly one in five of fans surveyed (18%) admits to spending more than 30 hours a week on football, with a dedicated (or maybe obsessive) 9.7% spending more than 40 hours a week on the game. That is the equivalent to another working week on top of their job.

Fans of League 1 and League 2 sides narrowly edge out the Premier League when it comes to dedication.  The average time spent being a fan in the lower leagues is 15.6 hours compared with 15.3 hours in the Premier League. Championship fans are less dedicated (or more balanced) with 11.5 hours a week dedicated to the game.

Graeme Tones, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “It might be only 90 minutes on the day for the players but for the fans it’s a lot more than just a game.

“Putting in 13.8 hours a week is like doing almost another two days at work and that’s just the average. Some supporters are really piling on the extra time with many putting in more than 40 hours a week being a fan.  Dedicated fans invest a lot of money in supporting football and this demonstrates they also invest a lot of time as well. It may be only a game but it certainly takes up a lot of time and effort.”

The research shows not all fans are quite as obsessed – around 10% managed to keep their football habit down to four hours or less a week.

Virgin Money’s nationwide study found some intriguing derby match-ups with Chelsea fans winning the dedication battle in London against Arsenal and Tottenham. The average Chelsea fans puts in 17.5 hours a week compared with 14.9 for Arsenal and 13.6 for Tottenham.

Manchester United  lose out to reigning champions Manchester City, with United fans spending 12.7 hours a week following the game compared with nearly 14 hours for City supporters. Liverpool fans beat them both though with 16.1 hours. In another Northern derby, Sunderland supporters beat Newcastle United fans with 16.4 hours to 14.7 hours.

Virgin Money’s Football Fans Inflation Index shows it is not as easy to keep the cost of following football down – inflation in the game is running at 3.26% while the average matchday cost is around £113.98.

Increased costs for match tickets 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 £113.98 – 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 £3.60 since the start of the 2011/12 season – an increase of 3.26% – despite the general downward trend for inflation across the economy.  That means football inflation is rising faster than the 2.6% level of the Government’s official Consumer Price Index, Virgin Money’s research shows.
 
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 £113.98.

-ENDS -

Notes to Editors

  • * Research conducted by the Football Supporters’ Federation among an online sample of 1,178 football fans between August 1st and August 28th 2012
  • 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
Virgin Money Press Office
Tel: 0191 279 4676
Email: press.office@virginmoney.com

About Virgin Money

  • Following the acquisition of Northern Rock in January 2012, Virgin Money provides credit cards, mortgages, savings, pensions, investment and protection products to over four million customers
  • 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