It’s not cheap either. Factor in the cost of a season ticket, travel to the ground, match day programme and half-time pie – and following your football team becomes a pursuit responsible for a large chunk of your monthly income.
Here’s how much you can expect to pay for a season’s worth of home games in the English Premiership (other league competitions are available)…
Travel and parking: £262
If you’re more of a ‘John Terrace’ (opposed to a ‘Peter Couch’ who watches from your living room), the amount you fork out on getting to the game is – of course – dependent upon what part of the country you live in. A Liverpool fan living in the West Country can expect to pay more on travel than one who lives in Walton.
But to keep things simple, we’ve worked out how much it would cost to drive to the match if you live within 30 miles of the ground. With the average price of a litre of petrol at 131.6p, a round trip of 60 miles would set you back £7.18. Go to every game and your petrol bill for the season rings in at £136.42.
The average cost of match day parking (given that resident permit schemes make it all but impossible to park close to many major grounds) is around the £6.60 mark, so you can add on £125.40 to park at all 19 of your team’s Premier League games.
Seat at the stadium: £698
But it’s paying for your seat that’s likely to hurt the most. And with the average price of a season ticket soaring 700% in the last 25 years, it’s the most contentious cost too among fans.
(If the cost of some everyday essentials had risen by the same rate, you’d now be looking at £4 for a loaf of bread and £3.30 for a litre of petrol.)
This season, you won’t be surprised to learn, it’s Arsenal fans who will fork out the most for a season ticket, paying as much £2,013 for a seat at north London’s Emirates – that’s more than double the price of the average Premier League season ticket.
Tottenham fans can pay as much as £1,895 this season, while Chelsea followers will need to fork out up to £1,250 to follow their team.
At the other end of the scale – but not the other end of the Premier League table – Man City fans can get a season at the Etihad for as little as £299.
On average though, a season ticket for the Premier League rings in £697.95.
Pies, cuppas and programmes: £162
Football grounds are, by and large, terrible at serving food. You queue for ages and pay through the nose for a lukewarm cuppa and a pie with filling that’s hotter than the sun – but we all have to eat and drink so we put up with it.
The average price of a Premier League pie is £3.31, a top-flight cup of tea averages £2.12 while a match day programme will set you back around £3.10. So, taken over the course of a season, you can expect to spend somewhere in the region of £162.07 on match day sundries.
TOTAL COST OF BEING A FOOTBALL FAN: £1,122 (that’s £59 per game)
Time for ‘affordable’ football for all…
As you can see, going to ‘the game’ is becoming an increasingly expensive pastime – and even though the latest football broadcasting deal means Premier League clubs are getting a share of an extra £2.1billion over the next few years, only one club – Sunderland – lowered ticket prices for the new season.
Some other clubs are doing their bit.
Swansea and West Brom, among others, have reciprocal deals to lower the price of away tickets when their teams play each other, while Premier League clubs set aside a pot of £12m that will be used to make games more affordable for away fans over the next couple of seasons.
But more could still be done.
According to David Rose of the Football Supporters Federation:
“The unique atmosphere in English grounds is part of what makes the Premier League such an exciting product for broadcasters, and away fans are largely responsible for generating that atmosphere.
“A shift in attitude is needed among clubs to make football more affordable and accessible, particularly for away fans, to encourage people through the turnstiles and secure the long-term future of the game.”
Or perhaps we can just sum it up in the words of legendary Scottish manager, Jock Stein: “Football without fans is nothing.”
Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.