Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Putting a price on football

 Photo credit: Nigel Wilson/Wikipedia

With the new football season upon us, many of us will be looking forward to cheering on the teams we love from our favourite pitch side seats. But while MasterCard might try to persuade me that seeing Gerrard bag a hat-trick against Man United is indeed priceless, I will need to rustle up more than a little loose change before I head to Anfield this season.

New research from the BBC shows that Premier League tickets range from £30 at Wigan (£15 for children) to a whopping £100 at Arsenal (£35 for kids). Fans of Championship clubs aren’t much better off, with the cheapest tickets on offer at Peterborough (£25/£20) and the most expensive at Ipswich (£59/£15).

And with attendance levels at their highest for 50 years, it’s unlikely prices are going to come down any time soon.

Then, once you’ve got the tickets, you’ll need the new shirt. That will set you back up to £45, and that’s just for the home shirt; many fans also invest in the away jersey. Another £8 or so for the scarf and you’ll just about be starting to look the part.

You might think that’s where the spending ends, but you’d be wrong. Once you’ve gained entry to the stadium, there are plenty of other items to splash out on. A programme can set you back between £1 (St Johnstone) and £4 (Leeds), while a cup of tea costs between 50p (Crawley) and £2.20 (Blackburn, West Brom and Newcastle).

So for a family of four to have a ‘day out’ (couple of hours) at the match it could set you back as much as £400 – excluding food and travel spends! That’s enough for a week’s holiday in Cornwall or a swanky new telly!

Of course there are clubs that offer a much cheaper match experience, but few of us are likely to change our allegiances just to cut costs. So how can we get the stadium experience without causing a second credit crisis?

Here are Sorted's top tips to keep you in pies and programmes:
  1. Some games are cheaper than others – if you can’t afford a category A game, you may be able to get a better price on tickets for a less sought-after, or mid-week, match 
  2.  Compare shirt prices online as some vendors offer much better prices than others 
  3. Raise cash by selling old shirts/scarves on ebay (if you can bear to part with them). The retro look is in and you can use the money to buy this season’s clobber 
  4.  Take your own refreshments. This might seem a bit drastic, but if you go to ten games a season the savings could be significant 
  5. If you simply can’t afford to go to the ground, get a crowd over to watch the game, or hit the pub with the lads (and ladettes) if you don’t have posh telly. You can recreate the stadium atmosphere with your enthusiastic voices, a few tables (for banging) and some swirling scarves. (Or if you’re a Man City fan, simply watch the game facing away from the screen)    
 Follow this season’s football highs and lows in every issue of Sorted magazine.

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