Price of Football: Survey of 166 British clubs revealed

 

The average cost of the cheapest adult ticket in the top four divisions of English football has risen by 11.7% - more than five times the rate of inflation.

The BBC Sport Price of Football survey found that the average price of the most affordable ticket in league football has gone from £19.01 to £21.24 in the past 12 months.

The survey looked at 166 clubs in 10 divisions across British football, including the Blue Square Bet Premier and Women's Super League.

We have recorded the most expensive, and cheapest, season tickets and adult matchday tickets as well as the cost of a cup of tea, a pie and a programme, to calculate the cheapest day out at a football match.

The figures show:

  • Only two out of 92 English league clubs offer a day out for less than £20 this season. Last year it was 12.
  • In Scotland, 21 of the 42 teams across four divisions offer a day out for less than £20.
  • The most expensive adult matchday ticket is Arsenal at £126 and the cheapest £6 at Montrose.
  • Arsenal also have the most expensive season ticket at £1,955, while Montrose's was the lowest at £90.
  • In the Women's Super League, matchday adult tickets range from £4-£6, with season ticket prices between £22-£40.
  • The most expensive tea in British football can be found in Manchester, where both City and United charge £2.50. The cheapest costs 50p at Alloa and Brechin in Scottish Division Two.
  • Kidderminster, in the Blue Square Bet Premier, charge the most for a pie at £4, while the cheapest is in Scotland, where Alloa, Albion and Forfar charge just £1.
  • Leeds United sell the most expensive programme in Britain at £4, while Inverness CT's is the cheapest at 50p.

"Despite the difficult economic times we live in, prices at some clubs and at some levels of the game are still exceedingly high," Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation, said.

"It is quite shocking that at Arsenal, for example, the cheapest season ticket is only £15 short of £1,000.

"We would like to see a much greater effort to reduce ticket prices and in particular give the benefit of the massive amounts of media income that comes in at the top of the game to the match-going fan."

The highest price of a day out at a football match in England, Wales and Scotland has gone from £109 to £134.30 in just 12 months, with Arsenal the most expensive club to visit for a second successive year.

A trip to the Emirates Stadium can cost as much as £134.40 with top-price tickets going for £126, a £26 rise on last year's figure and a programme (£3), pie (£3.30) and cup of tea (£2) adding to the cost.

Reduce ticket prices, says Football Supporters' Federation chair Malcolm Clarke

Arsenal's cheapest day out (£34.30) comes in exactly £100 cheaper but it is Newcastle who offer the Premier League's best value day out, with a ticket, programme, pie and cup of tea coming in at £23.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis told BBC Sport the club was doing its best to offer value to fans with the club's cheapest league ticket (£26) among the most affordable in the division. This ticket is £9 cheaper than last season.

"We've seen ticket prices rise across the game," Gazidis said. "This isn't just a football issue.

"If you look at the prices of entertainment across the board they have gone up significantly in recent years and clearly we now have an environment where people are economically challenged.

"What we have done is try to hold those prices down, for example our Capital One Cup prices have been £10 for adults and £5 for children.

"What we know, because of the tremendous take up, is that there are people who want to watch top class football but for whom price is a factor. That is something we have to be continually conscious of."

Year-on-year average cheapest ticket price (2011 first)

  • Premier League: £24.87 - £28.30
  • Championship: £20.37 - £21.07
  • League One: £15.52 - £18.54
  • League Two: £15.29 - £17.06
  • Overall: £19.01 - £21.24 - an overall rise of 11.7%

Former FA chairman Lord Triesman told BBC Sport he was "very disappointed prices keep going up". The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation stood at 2.2% last month, down from 2.5% in August, but our survey found the average cost of the cheapest ticket had gone up 11.7 per cent.

"I think it will prevent the next generation from really seeing live football other than on very unusual occasions every so often when clubs will give the tickets away," he said. "Most of the causes of the increases are driven by the salaries paid to players.

"As it is, it will become a sport in which relatively well-off people will be able to go and watch it live and nobody else. That seems to me to be a tragic historic reverse."

Arsenal once again come out on top with their cheapest season ticket (£985) costing more than all but three of their Premier League rivals' most expensive equivalent.

Wigan offer the Premier League's cheapest season ticket (£255) with Manchester City (£275) close behind. Scottish third division side Montrose offer the cheapest season ticket at £90.

The price of a day out at a Scottish Premier League match remains more affordable with only Celtic (£36.30) costing more than £35. Celtic's most expensive season ticket comes in at £609, however, some £409 more than Inverness Caledonian Thistle's cheapest offer.

Did you know?

  • Only two out of 92 English league clubs offer a day out for less than £20. Last year it was 12.
  • In Scotland, 21 of the 42 teams across four divisions offer a day out for less than £20.
  • Out of 166 clubs in England and Scotland only 38 offer a day out for less than £20.

"I certainly think that our clubs in Scotland make a real effort to ensure that football is accessible," Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster told BBC Sport.

"I think our clubs are fully aware of the importance of price in terms of people's decisions to come to a game of football. We've got just over half of our clubs that offer free season tickets, without any charge, to under 12s.

"The cheapest match day ticket, in terms of a season ticket, works out at £11 a game at a club that has a family ticket - that's two adults and two children at £20 a game, so that's real value against any comparable activity that families can carry out."

Kidderminster Harriers, of the Blue Square Bet Premier, sell the most expensive pie in British football at £4, although the club says the product is a large, homemade cottage pie.