– Gary Neville welcomes research into fans’ spend –
Premier League match-going fans will have to shell out £1.3 billion this season to follow their teams – as increases in the price of home tickets, TV subscriptions and merchandise hit their wallets.
The eToro Fan Financial Statement, research carried out by multi-asset investment platform eToro in association with KPMG Football Benchmark, provides a comprehensive study into the financial commitment UK football fans make to support their Premier League clubs and which clubs offer the best value.
Key findings include:
- Premier League match-going fans will spend an estimated £1.3bn this season
- Increase of 31% since 2014/15, and 5% since last season
- Overall cost of tickets for a ‘dedicated fan’ risen only 1% since 2014/15
- Biggest increases per match-going fan are TV subscriptions (40%), merchandise (21%), home tickets (14%) and food and beverage (11%)
- Dedicated fans will spend £1,888 this season, 8% of the average UK take home salary
- 4 of the ‘big 6’ clubs in the top 6 most expensive to follow as a dedicated fan
- Man City fans got the best value for money last season – £16.90 per goal scored
The report explores 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.
Sky Sports Pundit and Manchester United legend, Gary Neville 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.”
Premier League match-going football fans are forecasted to spend an estimated £1.3billion over the course of this season, a figure that has risen by 31% since 2014/15. Inflation, as indicated by the UK Consumer Price Index, rose by 8.4% over this period.
To better understand the real cost of fandom, the eToro Fan Financial Statement analysed the spend of football’s most faithful supporters. The research focuses on the ‘dedicated fan’ – an adult fan who attends all 19 home games & travels to at least 5 away games. Dedicated fans will on average spend £1,888 this season. This equates to 8% of the average UK take home salary according to the Office of National Statistics.
While ticket prices make up a significant proportion of this total cost, the overall cost of tickets for a ‘dedicated fan’ has risen only 1% since 2014/15. 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.
The biggest cost increases per match-going fan are TV subscriptions (40%), merchandise (21%), home tickets (14%) and food and beverage (11%). The price of a pie has risen 17% 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 over £23.8 million on replica shirts, a 32% increase in total spend since season 2014/5.
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% since 2014/15, which is significantly below inflation.”
Arsenal are the most expensive team to support with dedicated fans each paying £2,238 per season. However, that cost has risen by just 2.4%, the least of any current Premier League club since 2014/15. Newcastle United are the only club outside of the traditional “top 6” to feature in the 6 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% increase in spend year-on-year and a 16.7% increase since 2014. Travel also plays a part. It should come as no surprise that this season Newcastle United fans will travel 68% more miles by train and 65% more miles by car to away matches, than the average Premier League fan.
Every club has a different offer when it comes to serving fans. The eToro Fan Financial Statement looked at whether some fans get better value for money than others by examining the total spend by dedicated fans last season in relation to the amount of goals scored and points won.
This approach reveals that whilst dedicated Liverpool fans may spend more versus other fans in the Premier League, they saw good ‘value for money’ based on a low cost per goals scored and points won, last season. Of all the clubs, Manchester City fans got the most entertainment for their money paying £16.90 per goal and £16.30 per point. This was helped by having 12% less overall spend than the Premier League average and their top of the table finish. Huddersfield Town fans got the worst deal overall, spending £70 per goal and £96 per point a situation not helped by their bottom of the table finish and subsequent relegation.
Gary Neville continued: “This isn’t just about money. It is about the family that lives a mile from the club dreaming every weekend that they can go to the game and afford to watch their heroes play. Every Saturday when I was growing up it was the only thing I thought about. It was the most important thing in my world. It fuelled my dreams for those 15 years until I joined United.”
Iqbal V. Gandham, UK Managing Director at eToro concludes: “As a sponsor of six Premier League teams we try to ensure that we are giving back to the fans as much as possible. Our Le Tiss Air competition was well received by Southampton fans and this is just the first of many initiatives we will be carrying out this season to reward loyal fans who invest in what they love.
“We understand that football fans have a deep emotional investment in their club and they’ll move mountains to support their team both home and away. We wanted to do something on behalf of the fans, to look at the hard costs involved in being a loyal fan and how that financial investment has changed over time. By doing so we hope to start a conversation about the future of football and how we can work together to bridge the gap between investment and value for the fans who are at the very heart of the game.”