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Fans pay the price as football costs climb

  • Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index shows prices rising faster than inflation
  • Basket of football goods now costs £113.98, a 3.2% increase on last year

The cost of following football is close to an all-time high with inflation for fans running ahead of the rest of the economy, according to Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Index.

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.

The rise has been partially driven by increased ticket prices – the average price of tickets across all English professional leagues is now £26.47 compared with £25.74 a year ago but replica shirts are now an average £34.62 compared with £35.18 at the start of last season.

At the same time, fans are being squeezed by costs in the wider economy with rail fares and alcohol prices climbing. Petrol prices have slipped slightly in the past three months while food prices have increased.

The good news is that the cost of attending a game has fallen since the all-time high achieved in November 2011 when the total cost was £116.

Clubs have played their part in keeping costs down with many including Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Aston Villa introducing price freezes while West Bromwich Albion have cut prices. There have still been price rises however at Premier League champions Manchester City, Fulham and Everton.

Graeme Tones, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “Inflation across the general economy is on its way down so it is disappointing to find that football is out of line. With inflation at 2.6% across the economy it is striking that football inflation is climbing faster. This is another squeeze on people’s pockets and while clubs are doing what they can to help their fans there needs to be more thought about what can be done to help supporters.”

Football's rising – and – falling Costs

January 2006£77.95
May 200684.80
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
August 2012£113.98

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 – a rise of more than 46% per match day.

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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.