The cost of being a football fan has been a hot topic for many years now, with the argument being that many working class and younger fans are being priced out of following their teams.
New research from bookmakers William Hill has now looked into how the cost of being an England support has changed through the years, as well as how this could change in the future.
To do this, they looked at some of the various things that footy fans like to shell out on during the World Cup, including match tickets, the latest England shirt, a pint of lager down at the pub and of course, a pack of Panini stickers (for those who just aren’t ready to let go of their childhoods!).
So, what did they find?
Well, if you are one of those who still religiously buys football stickers, you’re paying over double the amount that would have done back during the 2002 World Cup.
That’s because the price of a pack of just five stickers has increased from 30p to 80p in those 16 years, an increase of 166%!
World Cup ticket prices have always been expensive; it is the biggest sporting event in the world after all!
However, ticket prices for the group stages have increased by 75% since 2002 (for the cheapest category of tickets), and William Hill predict that if this rate of increase continues, overseas fans travelling to the 2030 tournament could be paying a minimum of £122.98, 53% more than the current rate of inflation!
Where it gets really interesting though, is that those fans who are happy to shell out for the most expensive tier of tickets, the price actually hasn’t risen that much, just 4.3% more than inflation. Is this further evidence that it’s working-class fans who are being priced out of football, as those who can afford the most expensive tickets are essentially paying the same as they always have (in relative terms).
Another interesting statistic thrown up by the research is that while the price of England shirts certainly has increased since the 2002 World Cup (£64.95 for a standard ‘stadium’ shirt, compared to £39.99 in 2002), this is actually pretty much in line with inflation.
We often see crazy headlines, such as that the newest Manchester United shirt would cost £183.
However, when you look at bit deeper, this high figure actually refers to an ‘authentic’ kit, the same as those worn by the players during matches, and also takes into account shorts and socks, whereas the more commonly sold replica version costs £60.
Of course, this is still a lot of money, and it’s more than you would have paid in 2002, but when taken in the context of inflation, it’s actually not all that bad.
At the risk of perpetuating stereotypes, football fans often enjoy a nice cold pint when watching the game, whether at the stadium or the pub.
William Hill found that a pint of draught lager costs 75% more than it did in 2002 and that fans could be paying as much as £5.53 a pint by 2030, 16% more than inflation.
That would be an increase from £2.08 to £5.53 over 28 years!
To check out all of the stats and stories for yourself, check out William Hill’s research here.