A Premier League Match Will Cost Most Local Supporters Over 20% of Their Weekly Wage

Photo credit: Shutterstock / moomsabuy

The Premier League is undoubtedly one of the most exciting leagues in the world. For many football fans a match day experience provides immense enjoyment and a way to interact with their favourite teams. Although traditionally an affordable sport for the masses, between the price of tickets and concession stands, can the beautiful game still be considered a working-class sport?

The Price of Football:
For local fans, attending home matches is considered the pillar of supporting your team. This has become increasingly difficult with teams aiming to make more money off the passion of their supporters. Finance expert Dr John Beech from Coventry University spoke to the BBC on the matter:

"Football clubs are under pressure to generate revenue to compete at the highest level. Clubs are producing a third kit outside the home and away strip for fans to buy. I wonder how much further clubs can go in their pursuit of generating revenue?"

Are local fans being priced out of supporting the team they have ardently followed? When you bear in mind the fact that local residents in six of the eleven Premier League clubs have median earnings of less than £400 a week, it would appear so.

A case in point: Middlesbrough, where 55.9% of the local areas are deprived according to ONS, have local football fans forking out 24% of their weekly wage for the full home match day experience.

The Study:

Infographic Credit: ticketgum.com

A study conducted by football ticket sales site Ticketgum.com, reveals the true cost of being a fan by looking at the price of a club’s full match day experience.

The study’s definition of a full match day experience included the lowest price of a match day ticket, together with the cost of a single fixture programme, tea, pie and the most popular merchandise. The data for the weekly wage of local supporters was collated from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The research found that Manchester residents would have the highest percentage (28%), of their weekly wage taken by enjoying a full match day experience at Manchester United, followed closely by Manchester City (27%). After Manchester clubs, was Middlesbrough, whose local supporters/residents would have to spend 24% of their weekly wage to obtain the full home match day experience at the Riverside stadium.

Despite having the highest season ticket prices in the country at a monumental £1,014 - residents of Islington, where Arsenal is based, would have the joint lowest percentage (15%) of their weekly wage taken by enjoying a full home match day at the Emirates stadium. Crystal Palace’s Croydon residents would also see 15% of their weekly wage taken by an experience at Selhurst Park.

What do the fans think?

“I can’t really afford nor commit to a season ticket, therefore try to attend at least a few premier league home matches with my son. Since it usually tends to be a one-off, we try to absorb the full match day experience. Alongside the tickets, we get food as well as merchandise therefore the costs do add up. With the vast commercialisation of the game, perhaps clubs could be making more of an effort to subsidise costs and take the burden of local supporters like myself” – Craig a resident as well as an avid fan of Stoke City

Just like many of my friends, I find myself being in the unfortunate financial position of not being able to splash out on a season ticket. So usually when we get together, we make a collective effort to attend some home matches. Even then it’s very expensive. You’re not only purchasing a ticket but the match day programme, drinks and food. I know that the clubs are not forcing us to spend money but they must understand that we want to make the most of the day. With Premier League teams beneficially attaining massive revenue streams from television rights, you would expect them to become more generous with their pricing structures for fans on various aspects that make up the match day experience” – Harry who lives in as well as supports Middlesbrough

I have never classified myself as a football fan or follower but me and my family were inspired by Leicester City’s unprecedented title glory last year. As a Leicester resident, I along with the rest of the city were tremendously proud. So, at the start of the season I was highly motivated to take my family to a home fixture. That aspiration though faded when I considered all the expenses that would entail to gain the full match day experience at the King Power stadium” – Rita from Leicester

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