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UK sports fans spent over £20bn last year

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
British sports fans collectively forked out more than £20bn in the past 12 months, according to new research. 

Football was the most popular but also most costly sport to follow, with supporters shelling out at an average of £276 each, the study from Post Office Money Credit Cards revealed. The biggest spenders paid out £5,000 to follow their team, while the total amount spent by footy fans across the UK reached £5bn last year.

Other expensive hobbies include horse racing (an average spend of £240 a year) and cycling (£192) which are enjoyed by a third of the UK’s adults (32%).

Buying tickets was the most common form of expenditure in the last 12 months.

Some 12% of fans were willing to pay extra for overnight accommodation, while one in five have travelled abroad to watch a sporting event.

Other sports followers stuck to watching sport at home meaning they spent money on satellite TV packages, video games and some even invested in new TV and entertainment systems. One in 10 fans (11%) also bought a kit or strip to show pride in their favourite team.

The Post Office found that while most people (68%) use their current account to cover their costs, many turn to alternatives to fund their passion and hobbies.

Over a quarter of the 2,000 people polled said they used their credit card to fund their love of sports in the last year. And 18% said they have dipped into their savings, while seven per cent have borrowed money from friends or family. Worryingly, six per cent have taken out a pay day loan in order to follow their sport.

The research also found that a small proportion of fans have sacrificed buying clothes (9%), meals (7%) or holidays (6%) to pay for their passion.

John Willcock, head of credit cards at Post Office Money, said: “Clearly, we are a nation of sports lovers, but it is important that, whichever sport we follow, we only spend what we can afford, and there is a concern that some people might feel pressured to keep up with their friends. But whether it’s a trip to France or Brazil for the Euros or Olympics, or just following your local team, it’s worth doing a bit of planning and budgeting.”

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