Xmas football: Fans will travel more than 31,000 miles watching their team over festive period

 

21 December 2018

 

 

 

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  • Match-going fans in the Premier League and the English Football League will collectively clock up 31,244 miles between Boxing Day and the New Year – the equivalent of three return flights from London to Sydney
  • The average cost per fan for travel, matchday tickets, food and drink is £117.17
  • Newcastle United fans will travel furthest with 880 miles on the road and spend the most - £282
  • Grimsby United fans will face a 606 mile round-trip by car to Exeter – the longest single away trip over Xmas
  • Southampton fans will only pay £20 for their away match at Chelsea on January 2 thanks to Virgin Media

 

There’s no rest for away football supporters over the festive season as they trek thousands of miles across the UK and spend hundreds of pounds watching their side in action. This is according to research carried out by Virgin Media and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF).

The analysis includes matchday ticket, travel and food costs, plus journey times for travel by car and train incurred by supporters of all 92 clubs across the Premier League and The EFL  for festive fixtures between Boxing Day and 3 January 2019.

Long journeys for dedicated away supporters

 

The findings show that the total distance covered by all 92 clubs between Boxing Day and January 3 2019 is 31,244 miles. Newcastle United away fans will spend 14 hours and travel 880 miles by car for their away fixtures at Liverpool (346 miles) on Boxing Day and Watford (534 miles) on 29 December.  This is 44 times further than Fulham whose away supporters will travel the least by car – only 20 miles – against Arsenal on New Year’s Day over the same period.

However, League Two Grimsby Town will make the longest single away return trip of 18 hours by road when they drive 606 miles to Exeter City on Boxing Day. A League One away supporter will clock up an average of 383 miles on the road - the most of any league. 

In terms of travel by train and public transport, Morecambe fans will endure the longest journeys as they travel 19 hours to Tranmere Rovers (5hrs 20mins) on Boxing Day and Colchester United (14 hours) on 29 December.

 

Premier Prices

 

Football supporters commit a lot of time and money to watch their team in action at Christmas, a time when money can be tight. However, that won’t stop passionate away supporters from spending their money to follow their team.

Newcastle United away fans will have to part with the most money of any Premier League or EFL fan over Christmas, spending £282.30. This is more than six times the amount that Crewe Alexandra away fans will have to spend (£43.05) for their single away trip to Bury on New Year’s Day.

Overall, the average away fan will spend £117.77 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 (an average of £122) to watch top-flight football over the Christmas break.

 

Matchday tickets

 

The price for match-day tickets for away supports varies at football grounds across the UK. Blackburn Rovers fans will have to purchase the most expensive away ticket over the festive period when they travel to watch their side take on Leeds United at Elland Road, paying £39.

The cheapest away ticket can be found at Crawley Town when Colchester United visit the Broadfield Stadium on New Year’s day, with their supporters spending just £17.

Virgin Media subsidises Southampton fans’ tickets for Chelsea match

In the Premier League, where away tickets are capped at £30, Virgin Media will ensure Saints supporters go into the New Year in good spirit. The broadband provider will be subsidising the cost of their ticket by £10, meaning Saints fans will spend just £20 when they visit Stamford Bridge on January 2 to play Chelsea.

Kevin Miles, Chief Executive, FSF said:

"The Christmas and New Year period is one which fans love, and one which can really stretch the wallet - but we know supporters will continue to back their teams in amazing numbers.

"Travelling fans are a massive part of that tradition but their support should never be taken for granted and we'd like to see clubs and sponsors doing everything they can to ensure football is affordable for all."

Jeff Dodds, Managing Director of Virgin Media, said: “We admire the level of passion and commitment that all football supporters have for their team as they travel up and down the country. As proud sponsors of Southampton Football Club, we will be contributing towards the cost of their ticket for the match against Chelsea in appreciation of their fantastic support.”

Key findings from the research:

Cost by League (per fan)

League

Average cost (per fan)

Highest Cost

Lowest Cost

Premier League

£122

Newcastle United - £282.30

(Away vs Liverpool Dec 26 and Watford Dec 29)

Fulham - £48.77

(Away vs Arsenal Jan 1)

Championship

£110.72

Nottingham Forest - £177.82

(Away vs Norwich City Dec 26 and Leeds United Jan 1)

Sheffield United - £60.93

(Away vs Wigan Athletic Jan 1)

League 1

£116.83

Doncaster Rovers - £213.93

(Away vs Fleetwood Town Dec 26 and Gillingham Jan 1)

Accrington Stanley- £43.60

(Away vs Bradford City Jan 1)

League 2

£98.14

Morecambe - £173.42

(Away vs Tranmere Rovers Dec 26 and Colchester United Jan 1)

Crewe Alexandra  - £43.05

(Away vs Bury Jan 1)

Total average:

£117.17

N/a

N/a

 

 

 

 

Distance travelled by League (driving – per fan)

League

Average driving distance (miles)

Most travel

Least travel

Premier League

349.70

Newcastle United – 880 miles

(Away vs Liverpool on Dec 26 and Watford  Dec 29)

Fulham – 20 miles
(Away vs Arsenal Jan 1)

 

Championship

319.06

Ipswich Town – 682 miles

(Away vs QPR Dec 26 and Middlesbrough Dec 29)

Sheffield United – 140 miles

(Away vs Wigan Athletic Jan 1)

League 1

382.53

Plymouth Argyle - 792 miles

(Away vs AFC Wimbledon Dec 26 and Burton Albion Dec 29)

Accrington Stanley – 69 miles

(Away vs Bradford City Jan 1)

League 2

315.46

 

 

Morecambe - 720 miles

(Away vs Tranmere Rover Dec 26 and Colchester United Dec 29)

Crewe Alexandra - 96 miles

(Away vs Bury Jan 1)

Total average:

348.83

 

 

N/a

 

 

N/a

 

Match-day ticket costs by League

League

Average match-day ticket cost

Most Expensive Ticket

Cheapest Ticket

Premier League

£29.23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£30 price cap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southampton FC  – £20

(Away vs Chelsea Jan 2 2019)

Championship

£27.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackburn Rovers - £39

(Away vs Leeds United Dec 26)

 

 

 

 

 

Stoke City  – £20

(Away vs Birmingham City Dec 26)

 

Wigan Athletic - £20

(Away vs Birmingham City Dec 26)

League 1

£22.61

 

 

Scunthorpe United - £28

(Away vs Peterborough United Jan 1)

 

Coventry City – £20

(Away vs Wycombe Wanderers Rovers Jan 1)

League 2

£20.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

£22

Exeter City vs Yeovil Town (Dec 26)

Northampton Town vs Swindon Town (Dec 26

Exeter City vs Grimsby Town (Dec 29)

Macclesfield Town vs Tranmere Rovers (Jan 1 2019)

Colchester United - £17

(Away vs Crawley Town Jan 1)

Total average:

£25.02

 

N/a

 

N/a

 

ENDS

 

 

Note to editors

The costs incurred by away football fans are calculated based on the three rounds of fixtures between December 26 2018 and January 3 2019. 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.
    • Due to lack of trains running on Boxing Day, coach travel price and distance to reach away ground was used for all clubs. Where a price could not be found on a clubs website, a flat rate of £20 was supplied.
    • 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 off-peak 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 £1.21 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 31,244 miles figure is based on the total distance travelled by all 92 clubs playing away games over the festive period.
  • 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.
  • Full table of all 92 Premier League and Football League clubs (ranked by average cost per fan)

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 (£)

PL

Newcastle United

880

868

£                         282.30

L1

Doncaster Rovers

622

645

£                         213.93

L1

Charlton Athletic

614

679

£                         211.16

PL

Manchester City

674

795

£                         201.25

L1

Plymouth Argyle

792

986

£                         200.08

PL

Everton

647

694

£                         195.22

L1

Portsmouth

790

811

£                         191.63

PL

Huddersfield Town

477

593

£                         186.76

PL

Cardiff City

614

793

£                         180.47

CH

Nottingham Forest

512

637

£                         177.82

L1

Shrewsbury Town

668

843

£                         175.81

 

Wigan Athletic

633

761

£                         174.47

L2

Morecambe

720

1,270

£                         173.42

PL

Arsenal

574

478

£                         172.95

CH

Rotherham United

518

550

£                         169.49

L2

Yeovil Town

592

1,135

£                         167.72

L1

Blackpool

631

712

£                         167.61

L2

Crawley Town

516

1,062

£                         161.34

CH

Derby County

425

466

£                         161.18

L1

Peterborough United

524

633

£                         160.51

PL

Wolves

548

763

£                         160.33

L1

Wycombe Wanderers

370

462

£                         155.69

CH

Aston Villa

528

579

£                         151.46

CH

Ipswich Town

682

731

£                         149.54

L2

Swindon Town

428

902

£                         149.17

L2

Grimsby Town

606

950

£                         148.10

L2

Stevenage

459

786

£                         144.89

L1

Southend United

476

560

£                         144.09

L1

Luton Town

503

821

£                         144.05

L2

Macclesfield Town

590

840

£                         142.83

CH

Brentford

554

519

£                         134.85

CH

Sheffield Wednesday

389

426

£                         134.03

CH

Hull City

366

413

£                         133.62

CH

Blackburn Rovers

237

389

£                         129.47

PL

Tottenham Hotspur

302

398

£                         120.30

L1

Oxford United

412

357

£                         120.09

CH

Reading

168

309

£                         119.43

L2

Lincoln City

399

904

£                         114.11

CH

Stoke City

211

332

£                         113.92

L2

Bury

406

845

£                         113.23

L1

Bristol Rovers

349

451

£                         111.23

CH

Swansea City

300

395

£                         108.24

L2

Newport County

314

636

£                         108.10

PL

Manchester United

302

340

£                         106.98

CH

Middlesbrough

266

347

£                         103.08

L2

Oldham Athletic

354

705

£                           99.14

L1

Bradford City

247

365

£                           96.31

PL

Crystal Palace

304

380

£                           95.65

PL

Watford

210

346

£                           92.03

L2

MK Dons

189

412

£                           91.97

L1

Barnsley

288

322

£                           90.06

PL

Leicester City

242

394

£                           89.39

CH

Bristol City

262

297

£                           88.30

CH

West Brom

214

293

£                           84.89

CH

Norwich City

254

356

£                           83.45

L2

Forest Green Rovers

134

397

£                           81.69

L1

Burton Albion

246

289

£                           80.86

L1

Walsall

292

315

£                           77.96

L1

Scunthorpe United

193

249

£                           77.88

PL

West Ham United

238

240

£                           76.56

CH

Bolton Wanderers

210

387

£                           75.56

L2

Exeter City

236

378

£                           74.75

L1

Fleetwood Town

314

389

£                           73.95

CH

Queens Park Rangers

242

280

£                           73.50

PL

Southampton

155

227

£                           71.37

CH

Millwall

162

276

£                           71.14

CH

Birmingham City

186

263

£                           70.45

L2

Cambridge United

99

327

£                           70.12

PL

Burnley

51

230

£                           67.69

PL

AFC Bournemouth

218

220

£                           67.38

L2

Cheltenham Town

210

462

£                           66.66

PL

Brighton & Hove Albion

165

224

£                           66.03

L2

Colchester United

183

397

£                           64.10

CH

Leeds united

147

300

£                           63.98

L2

Port Vale

186

502

£                           63.89

L2

Northampton Town

170

332

£                           63.67

CH

Preston North End

164

278

£                           63.62

CH

Sheffield United

140

269

£                           60.93

L1

Sunderland

294

600

£                           60.11

L2

Notts County

212

414

£                           59.75

PL

Liverpool

70

104

£                           59.38

L1

AFC Wimbledon

127

207

£                           59.36

L1

Gillingham

91

203

£                           58.57

L2

Mansfield Town

166

435

£                           57.67

L1

Coventry City

165

342

£                           56.69

L1

Rochdale

132

249

£                           55.97

PL

Chelsea

61

100

£                           53.65

L2

Carlisle United

140

332

£                           53.20

L2

Tranmere Rovers

108

282

£                           53.16

PL

Fulham

20

121

£                           48.77

L1

Accrington Stanley

69

158

£                           43.60

L2

Crewe Alexandra

96

260

£                           43.05