Cost of watching football rises

  • Last Updated: October 18 2012, 14:54 BST

A BBC survey has revealed the average cost of the cheapest adult ticket to watch English league football has risen by 11.7% - or more than five times the rate of inflation.

Arsenal have the most expensive tickets

The Price of Football poll, which includes figures from 166 clubs in 10 divisions across Britain, found the average price of the most affordable ticket in the top four divisions in England has risen from £19.01 to £21.24 in the last year.

The current rate of inflation based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is 2.2%, showing the cost of watching football is rising disproportionately with everyday essential items.

Last year, a football fan could have taken in a game for less than £20 at 12 of the 92 English league clubs.

This year, only four clubs offer that value - Huddersfield, Sheffield United, Derby and Plymouth.

Newcastle offer the best value in the Barclays Premier League, with the cost of the cheapest ticket, programme, cup of tea and a pie totalling £23.

However, the prize for the team that are the cheapest to support in the football league goes to Sheffield United, with the cost of a ticket, programme, a pie and a cup of tea totalling £17.20.

Kevin Cookson, a spokesman for the Blades, said: "We offer a £10 ticket a few times a season. It's not for every game but our cheapest match ticket is a tenner.

"The price of our usual matchday ticket depends on the game, but for a couple of games a season, it is a tenner for all areas of the ground.

"You want to get bums on seats and want supporters through the gates every week to watch your games, especially in the current economic climate that we make football affordable for everyone."

The club ran the offer for the npower League One clash against Bournemouth at Bramhall Lane and saw their biggest crowd of the season so far - 18,790.

United commercial director Steve Coakley added: "The ticket initiative for our Bournemouth game was a success with our fans and we will continue to explore other opportunities to provide good value days out at Bramall Lane this season."

Arsenal lead the way with the most expensive matchday and season tickets. Their highest-priced ticket for a single game costs £126 while £1,955 is their most expensive season ticket. The Gunners' cheapest season ticket is £985.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis told BBC Sport the club remains focused on offering fans value for money, with their cheapest ticket - £26 - £9 cheaper than last season.

"We've seen ticket prices rise across the game," Gazidis said. "This isn't just a football issue.

"If you look at the prices of entertainment across the board they have gone up significantly in recent years and clearly we now have an environment where people are economically challenged.

"What we have done is try to hold those prices down, for example our Capital One Cup prices have been £10 for adults and £5 for children.

"What we know, because of the tremendous take-up, is that there are people who want to watch top-class football but for whom price is a factor. That is something we have to be continually conscious of."

Wigan (£255) and Manchester City (£275) offer the Premier League's cheapest season tickets.

Celtic charge the most in the Scottish Premier League for their cheapest matchday ticket (£36.30) but they are the only club with a price point over £35.

In Scotland, half of the 42 teams, offer football fans a day out for less than £20.

Again, it is at Montrose where the cheapest matchday ticket can be bought for just £6.

Other figures reveal the most expensive cup of tea in football can be bought for £2.50 at Manchester United and Manchester City, while Leeds United's £4 charge for a matchday programme is the most expensive in Britain.

Football Supporters' Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke said: "There's a danger of alienation between fans and players at the top of the game.

"Younger fans in particular are being priced out and if they don't get the live football bug at a young age they might not become season ticket holders.

"If you compare prices to other countries like Germany there are huge disparities. Season tickets at (Bundesliga champions) Borussia Dortmund start from 225 euros (£183) which includes three Champions League games - that works out at about £8.90 per match and includes free public transport.

"In comparison our prices are simply unacceptable."

Elsewhere, Celtic charge the most in the Scottish Premier League for their cheapest matchday ticket (£36.30) but they are the only club with a price point over £35.

In Scotland, half of the 42 teams, offer football fans a day out for less than £20.

Again, it is at Montrose where the cheapest matchday ticket can be bought for just £6.

Other figures in the BBC reveal the most expensive cup of tea in football can be bought for £2.50 at Manchester United and Manchester City, while Leeds' £4 charge for a matchday programme is the most expensive in Britain.


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