Festive football costs soar as fans fork out up to £468 to attend matches

20 December 2017

Cost of supporting your football club away over Christmas revealed

 

 

 

The cost of Christmas football
  • Away fans will spend more than £170 on average over the festive period watching their team
  • Plymouth Argyle fans impacted the most paying £468 and will spend over 26 hours on the road
  • Match-going fans will clock up 32,388 miles seeing their team in action
  • Nottingham Forest fans will pay £42 for a ticket away at Leeds United on New Year’s Day - the most expensive away ticket across all the leagues

 

Plymouth Argyle fans face the highest cost and most arduous journeys to watch their team over the festive period. This is according to annual research carried out by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), and supported by Virgin Media, into the cost of Christmas football.

 

The analysis includes ticket, travel and food costs, plus journey times, incurred by supporters of all 92 clubs across the Premier League and English Football League for festive fixtures played between Boxing Day and January 4 2018.

 

The findings show that Plymouth Argyle fans will spend £468.43 - 11 times more than the lowest costs paid by Morecambe FC fans (£42.89). The Pilgrims will travel more than 1,000 miles to get behind their team at MK Dons on Boxing Day and Blackpool on December 30.

 

Premier prices

Overall, the average fan will spend £171.37 to watch their team this Christmas, where supporters of 46 clubs will travel twice to support their teams away. In total, Premier League fans will pay the most (£182.08) to watch top-flight football over the Christmas break.

 

On top of costs, some fans will have to travel huge distances to attend games across the country. Total distances that will be travelled range from 20 miles (Chelsea away at Arsenal) to 1,096 miles (Plymouth Argyle at MK Dons and Blackpool) taking between 1hr 41mins and 26hrs 47mins respectively.

 

The findings underpin the FSF’s ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign, backed by Virgin Media, which calls on clubs to cap the cost of an away ticket to £20.

 

Kevin Miles, Chief Executive, FSF said:

Despite money being tight around this time of year, supporters will be travelling up and down the country over Christmas and New Year to back their teams in remarkable numbers once again.

Away fans are a huge part of our match-going tradition and that shouldn't be taken for granted, so clubs and sponsors can and should do more in making football as affordable as possible.

 

As the official shirt sponsor of Southampton FC, Virgin Media is on the side of fans this Christmas by subsiding Southampton supporters’ coach travel and match-day tickets for the Saints’ game against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium. Crystal Palace fans visiting St Mary’s on January 2 will also have their tickets subsidised to £20 as part of Virgin Media’s ongoing cap on away ticket prices at the stadium.

 

Key findings from the research

 

Cost by League

League

Average cost (per fan)

Highest cost

Lowest cost

Premier League

£182.08

 

Manchester City -  £383.63

(Away vs Newcastle United Dec 27 and Crystal Palace Dec 31)

Chelsea - £54.63

(Away vs Arsenal Jan 3)

Championship

£169.47

 

Fulham - £368.94

(Away vs Cardiff City Dec 26 and Hull City Dec 30)

Sheffield United - £56.88

(Away vs Derby County Jan 1)

League 1

£150.00

 

Plymouth Argyle - £468.43

(Away vs MK Dons Dec 26 and Blackpool Dec 30)

Gillingham - £43.62

(Away vs Charlton Jan 1)

League 2

£157.14

 

 

Luton Town - £342.53

(Away vs Swindon Town Dec 26 and Port Vale Dec 30)

 

Morecambe  - £42.89

(Away vs Accrington Stanley)

Total average:

£171.37

 

N/a

 

N/a

 

 

Distance travelled by League

League

Average driving distance (miles)

Most travel

Least travel

Premier League

372.06

 

 

Brighton Hove Albion - 816 miles

(Away vs Chelsea Dec 26 and Newcastle United Dec 30)

 

Chelsea – 20 miles
(Away vs Arsenal Jan 3)

 

Championship

358.95

 

 

Fulham - 748 miles

(Away vs Cardiff City Dec 26 and Hull City Dec 30)

 

Sheffield United – 82 miles

(Away vs Derby County Jan 1)

 

League 1

321.86

 

 

Plymouth Argyle - 1,096 miles

(Away vs MK Dons Dec 26 and Blackpool Dec 30)

 

Gillingham – 59 miles

(Away vs Charlton Jan 1)

League 2

353.37

 

 

Yeovil Town  - 772 miles

(Away vs Cheltenham Dec 26 and Morecambe Dec 29)

 

Morecambe - 91 miles

(Away vs Accrington Stanley)

Total average:

360

 

N/a

 

N/a

 

Match-day ticket costs by League

League

Average match-day ticket cost

Most expensive ticket

Cheapest ticket

Premier League

£29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£30 price cap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southampton FC  – £20

(Away vs Tottenham Hotspur Dec 26)

Crystal Palace - £20

(Away vs Southampton FC Jan 2)

 

Both subsidised to £20 by Virgin Media

Championship

£27.06

 

 

 

Nottingham Forest -  £42

(Away vs Leeds United Jan 1)

 

 

Fulham – £18

(Away vs Hull City Dec 30)

League 1

£22

 

 

Doncaster Rovers- £28

(Away vs Peterborough United Jan 1)

 

Rochdale – £10

(Away vs Doncaster Rovers Dec 29)

League 2

£21

 

 

 

£24 - All Jan 1

Stevenage vs Cheltenham Town

Yeovil Town vs Crawley Town

Luton Town vs Lincoln City

Wycombe Wanderers - £16

(Away vs Forest Green Rovers Jan 1)

Total average:

£24.61

 

N/a

 

N/a

 

 

ENDS

 

Note to editors

This season, Virgin Media is subsidising every visiting supporter’s ticket from every Premier League club travelling to Southampton – meaning adult fans will pay just £20 to see their team play at St Mary’s. Virgin Media became the official shirt sponsor of Southampton from the 2016/17 season.
 

The costs incurred by away football fans are calculated based on the three rounds of fixtures between December 26 2017 and January 4 2018. 46 teams will play away twice, meaning 46 clubs will only travel once.
 

These findings have been calculated based on a range of factors:
 

  • Total average cost figure is calculated based on costs incurred for match-day tickets, travel and food and drink.

  • League-based averages and away attendance assumptions per league are based on Premier League data which showed 2015-16 average away attendance was 2, 262.  English Football League average away attendances based on 2014-15 (latest available): Championship 1,400, League One 668 and League Two 473.

  • Travel:
    • Football stadium postcodes were used as a proxy for point-to-point travel estimates. Driving distance and journey time were measured in miles, based on the shortest driving travel time from stadium to stadium using Google Maps.
    • Public transport travel time data was taken from Google Maps, extracted at the same time as driving information. Public transport costs were based on recommended routes as defined by Google Maps, extracted from Trainline.com on 14/12/17.
    • Train ticket prices were taken on 14/12/17 for Anytime Day Return tickets.  Same day return travel assumed, therefore no cost of accommodation included.
    • Driving costs were calculated using return drive distance multiplied by a price per mile of £0.1918 to reflect potential winter weather conditions, roads works and additional congestion
    • Typical football match travel data was used to calculate the split between passengers driving to games and those arriving on public transport. An effective average was then calculated for any fan travelling to each game which blended the different driving and public transport costs. This was discounted to account for car sharing.
    • The 32,388 miles figure is based on the total distance travelled by all 92 clubs playing away games over the festive period. The total distance travelled by all away fans attending games over the Christmas period is estimated at 38,241,406 miles. This is calculated by multiplying the distance each away team will travel over this period by the average away fan attendance in that respective league.
       
  • Ticket Prices: Highest price taken for an adult ticket listed on clubs’ websites or, where not listed, price was quoted by clubs’ ticket office on telephone for match-day tickets.  

  • Food and drink: Costs are based on survey results by league, as reported in “Door to turnstile – improving travel choices for football fans” (page 15) Campaign for better transport 2013.

 

RANK (Total Average Cost)

League

Team

Total avg. driving distance (miles)

Total avg. travel time (mix of car and public transport) (minutes)

Total avg. cost for being an away supporter (£)

1

L1

Plymouth Argyle

                1,096

                           1,607

 £                             468.43

2

PL

Manchester City

                   720

                              828

 £                             383.63

3

CH

Fulham

                   748

                              859

 £                             368.94

4

CH

Norwich City

                   680

                              905

 £                             342.62

5

L2

Luton Town

                   457

                              598

 £                             342.53

6

PL

Brighton & Hove Albion

                   816

                              888

 £                             331.73

7

PL

Swansea City

                   722

                           1,064

 £                             326.10

8

L1

Charlton Athletic

                   530

                              610

 £                             312.00

9

PL

Stoke City

                   492

                              598

 £                             291.64

10

CH

Reading

                   558

                              706

 £                             284.60

11

CH

Wolverhampton Wanderers

                   516

                              633

 £                             273.06

12

L1

Shrewsbury Town

                   543

                              768

 £                             272.33

13

PL

Watford

                   372

                              389

 £                             268.36

14

PL

Southampton

                   615

                              825

 £                             264.97

15

L2

Yeovil Town

                   772

                           1,113

 £                             249.29

16

L2

Colchester United

                   535

                              776

 £                             248.36

17

L1

Bristol Rovers

                   537

                              747

 £                             247.69

18

L1

Oxford United

                   604

                              830

 £                             247.46

19

L2

Barnet

                   546

                              720

 £                             246.14

20

CH

Sunderland

                   586

                              789

 £                             240.51

21

L1

Peterborough United

                   366

                              542

 £                             236.84

22

L1

Northampton Town

                   458

                              691

 £                             236.62

23

CH

Aston Villa

                   594

                              746

 £                             231.63

24

PL

Leicester City

                   413

                              530

 £                             230.46

25

CH

Sheffield Wednesday

                   435

                              598

 £                             230.25

26

L2

Coventry City

                   592

                              839

 £                             224.98

27

L2

Newport County A.F.C

                   358

                              546

 £                             222.37

28

CH

Preston North End

                   601

                              802

 £                             221.19

29

CH

Derby County

                   508

                              673

 £                             219.63

30

L2

Notts County

                   558

                              846

 £                             218.13

31

PL

Tottenham Hotspur

                   428

                              490

 £                             209.69

32

PL

Everton

                   720

                              900

 £                             205.68

33

L1

Walsall

                   412

                              496

 £                             192.70

34

CH

Leeds United

                   406

                              531

 £                             190.25

35

L2

Crewe Alexandra

                   415

                              631

 £                             180.77

36

L2

Forest Green Rovers

                   536

                              870

 £                             178.78

37

L2

Stevenage

                   392

                              587

 £                             175.56

38

PL

West Ham United

                   338

                              472

 £                             173.20

39

L2

Mansfield Town

                   451

                              746

 £                             172.77

40

CH

Brentford

                   278

                              329

 £                             167.64

41

L2

Accrington Stanley

                   466

                              677

 £                             166.88

42

PL

West Bromwich Albion

                   280

                              312

 £                             160.03

43

CH

Bolton Wanderers

                   414

                              559

 £                             159.08

44

L1

Scunthorpe United

                   464

                              808

 £                             158.23

45

L2

Lincoln City

                   228

                              341

 £                             150.61

46

L2

Cheltenham Town

                   220

                              413

 £                             148.78

47

CH

Queens Park Rangers

                   185

                              360

 £                             141.49

48

L1

Rotherham United

                   281

                              511

 £                             137.36

49

PL

Newcastle United

                   388

                              461

 £                             135.85

50

L2

Wycombe Wanderers

                   184

                              338

 £                             132.17

51

L1

Wigan Athletic

                   278

                              380

 £                             129.14

52

PL

Arsenal

                   269

                              408

 £                             128.61

53

PL

Burnley

                   113

                              364

 £                             124.17

54

CH

Cardiff City

                   298

                              337

 £                             117.76

55

L2

Carlisle United

                   348

                              520

 £                             115.48

56

L2

Swindon Town

                   155

                              245

 £                             115.33

57

CH

Millwall

                   238

                              349

 £                             115.03

58

CH

Bristol City

                   204

                              265

 £                             113.90

59

L1

AFC Wimbledon

                   251

                              437

 £                             111.57

60

CH

Birmingham City

                   224

                              278

 £                             109.96

61

L1

Fleetwood Town

                   225

                              611

 £                             104.43

62

L2

Crawley Town

                   294

                              419

 £                             102.87

63

CH

Ipswich Town

                   240

                              281

 £                             101.98

64

CH

Middlesbrough

                   242

                              386

 £                               99.92

65

PL

Huddersfield Town

                   192

                              232

 £                               95.85

66

CH

Barnsley

                   224

                              350

 £                               93.66

67

L2

Grimsby Town

                   294

                              385

 £                               93.61

68

L1

Milton Keynes Dons

                     86

                              279

 £                               92.48

69

CH

Hull City

                   210

                              301

 £                               90.67

70

CH

Nottingham Forest

                   153

                              237

 £                               89.08

71

L1

Oldham Athletic

                   192

                              293

 £                               87.60

72

L1

Doncaster Rovers

                   173

                              200

 £                               86.78

73

L1

Rochdale

                   169

                              399

 £                               85.50

74

L2

Chesterfield

                   152

                              283

 £                               79.60

75

L1

Portsmouth

                   244

                              318

 £                               70.54

76

PL

AFC Bournemouth

                   190

                              292

 £                               70.39

77

L1

Bury

                   174

                              292

 £                               68.90

78

PL

Crystal Palace

                   182

                              245

 £                               67.80

79

CH

Burton Albion

                   116

                              194

 £                               67.37

80

L2

Exeter City

                   189

                              266

 £                               65.16

81

PL

Liverpool

                   105

                              218

 £                               61.97

82

CH

Sheffield United

                     82

                              129

 £                               56.88

83

PL

Manchester United

                     68

                              156

 £                               56.81

84

L1

Blackburn Rovers

                   174

                              307

 £                               54.80

85

L1

Bradford City

                   169

                              345

 £                               54.68

86

PL

Chelsea

                     20

                              101

 £                               54.63

87

L1

Blackpool

                     94

                              303

 £                               50.42

88

L1

Southend United

                   145

                              234

 £                               49.93

89

L2

Cambridge United

                   133

                              267

 £                               49.48

90

L2

Port Vale

                   114

                              241

 £                               48.93

91

L1

Gillingham

                     59

                              114

 £                               43.62

92

L2

Morecambe

                     91

                              206

 £                               42.89