Lily Grant was faced with either being an impoverished Arsenal fan in the stands or one with food on the table and the Gunners on the box. She chose the latter. When not bemoaning their injury list, Lily is a personal finance advisor and writer.
Just last week the BBC released their Cost of Football Study 2014. This is a program which has been running for the last three years and aims to show how much football fans have to outlay in order to support their team or generally follow the sport they love.
Sadly, the results make for poor reading. The average rise in ticket prices is up around 4.4% from last year, which actually, over the last three years works out at treble the rise in the cost of living.
For many fans, there may be a general feeling of disappointment and ennui, supporting the team they love may now be something they don’t feel is financially viable any more and some would argue the sport is now becoming more and more money oriented and less about the beautiful game itself.
Are there steps you can take if you want to carry on supporting your team for less money? Depending on your situation and your budget there are ways forward.
If you’re part of a family that supports one team then you can always consider seeing if your club has family ticket offers. This may mean that for some games there are heavily discounted or even free tickets for children. These might only apply to games that would draw lower crowds, but even so, it would still mean you got to see your team at your favourite ground.
It may be worth considering a membership to your club – then you can get ticket offers before other fans, and some games, particularly away games might have discount offers on them. You’d need to factor in the cost of traveling, but if the match is near enough to home it should still work out cheaper.
Of course, one way forward is to consider a sports package at home, with your TV or broadband provider. Some fans are naturally reluctant to do this as it means missing out on the live, in real time atmosphere of being at the ground, but for some it really is the only financially viable option. One bonus point for this is that as well as getting as many league matches as possible, you may also get to see other competitions you would otherwise miss If you were “just” a season ticket holder.
With the rising cost of prices all round, the latter may be the most sensible and cost effective option for many fans this season – but it’s important to weigh up all your options before you commit to spending money on a season ticket again.