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Premier league fans to spend £1.3bn supporting their team this season

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

Increases in the price of match tickets, TV subscriptions and merchandise hit football fans’ wallets.

Premier League match-going fans will spend an estimated £1.3bn this season, an increase of 31 per cent since 2014/15, despite the consumer price index (CPI) rising by just 8.4 per cent over this period.

Multi-asset investment platform eToro and KPMG Football Benchmark carried out a comprehensive study into the financial commitment UK football fans make to support their Premier League clubs and which clubs offer the best value.

The resulting eToro Fan Financial Statement found that the cost of match tickets for a “dedicated fan” have only risen 1 per cent since 2014/15. eToro says this demonstrates the positive impact of the Premier League wide cap on away ticket prices. It also reflects efforts by clubs to support dedicated fans including season ticket price freezes.

However, other costs have gone up much more. The biggest increases per match-going fan are TV subscriptions (40 per cent), merchandise (21 per cent), home tickets (14 per cent), and food and beverage (11 per cent).

The research focused on the “dedicated fan” attending all 19 home games and traveling to at least five away games. It found dedicated fans will on average spend £1,888 this season. This equates to 8 per cent of the average UK take home salary according to the Office of National Statistics.

The price of a pie has risen 17 per cent since 2014/15. At Chelsea a pie will now cost you £4.60, compared to £3 at Burnley. In the 2019/20 season dedicated fans are expected to spend more than £23.8m on replica shirts, a 32 per cent increase in total spend since season 2014/5.

The report explored spending by match-going football fans over the past five Premier League seasons, incorporating car and rail travel, merchandise, tickets, in-stadium food and drinks, and TV subscriptions.

Gary Neville, Sky Sports pundit, said: “Football needs to check itself. There are lots of positives about football. The stadiums are better, the quality of play is fantastic, and the atmosphere is far more inclusive, but for me affordability is something that needs to be addressed.

“This report lays out the facts and I hope it will serve as a wake-up call. Football has to stand above other leisure businesses. It is more than just a game. It is about community and we need to ensure we are doing all we can not to price fans out of the game.”

Andrea Sartori, global head of sport at KPMG, said: “The data shows that not all costs have risen equally and that the most significant increases are due to external factors outside of the clubs’ control such as travel, TV subscriptions and merchandise. This research also reveals that it is not all doom and gloom for Premier League fans. Initiatives, such as the price cap on away game ticket prices means that the overall cost of tickets has risen only 1 per cent since 2014/15, which is significantly below inflation.”

The report found Arsenal is the most expensive team to support with dedicated fans each paying £2,238 per season. However, that cost has risen by just 2.4 per cent, the least of any current Premier League club since 2014/15.

Newcastle United is the only club outside of the traditional “top six” to feature in the six most expensive clubs to follow. This is largely due to the increase in season ticket and food and beverage prices, leading to a forecasted 4.1 per cent increase in spend year-on-year and a 16.7 per cent increase since 2014.