The Real Affordability of Premier League Team Tickets

It’s no surprise that Premier League tickets vary widely in price, from team to team. In London, you’ll pay a hefty £57, on average, for one of Chelsea’s cheapest tickets to see The Blues play at Stamford Bridge. At the other end of the spectrum, a cheap ticket to see the just-relegated Hull City Tigers at KCOM Stadium cost an average of only £17, depending on what category of game you’re watching.

There’s more to the story, however, since incomes also vary significantly around the U.K. Since our goal is to flesh out how affordable each team is to support, we priced the average cost of the cheapest adult matchday tickets – across all different game categories – and compared that to the average after-tax household income in the region each team is located.

Most Affordable

Least Affordable

The results are expressed as the average number of hours worked to pay for a home matchday ticket. Our analysis reveals that, of large cities, Manchester and Liverpool residents work the hardest for their seats. These fans typically pay a ticket price that takes up a larger chunk of their paycheck than fans in other major metropolitan areas.

Fans of teams that have just been relegated or promoted tend to toil for less time to see a game than those with secure spots in the Premier League. The notable exceptions to this pattern are surprise-winner Leicester City and Chelsea – despite winning the league the past two seasons, these teams have some of the most affordable Premier League tickets of all.

All 2016/17 Premier League Teams Ranked for Affordability

Chart showing hours needed to work to buy a home Premier League football ticket

Best Entertainment Factor

Nothing beats the adrenaline rush a fan experiences when their team scores a home goal. In order to understand how affordable it is to see your team score, we took the number of hours a fan has to work to afford a matchday ticket (using the average cost of the cheapest adult matchday tickets and the average after-tax household income in the region each team is located) and compared that to the average number of goals each team scores at home.

We express the results as the number of hours you work to pay to see a single home goal, which represents how much entertainment you get for your hard work.

How Long You’ll Work to Witness a Gooooaaaal!

Chart showing hours needed to work to see a home goal in the Premier League

Teams relegated at the end of the 2016/17 season highlighted in orange

Interestingly, the results show that for the 2016/17 season, fans of the teams with the most expensive tickets (Chelsea) and the least expensive tickets (Hull City) worked less than other fans to see their team score a home goal, around 1.0 hours and 1.5 hours, respectively. It's unfortunate that Hull City was just relegated - the players provided solid value for their fans. In contrast, Southampton, Swansea City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland supporters work nearly 4 times as much, on average, to witness a goal at home.

Methodology

We started by finding the cheapest matchday adult ticket prices for each of the Premier League’s 20 2016/17 teams. For teams with different game categories (that is, ticket prices vary depending on the competition), we calculated an average price of the cheapest tickets across game categories. (Some limited and/or restricted-view tickets were not considered.)

We then obtained regional after-tax household income (using level 2 statistical regions, NUTS 2) from the Office of National Statistics and calculated what it translates into as an hourly wage, through dividing the annual income by 2080, reflecting 52 full (40-hour) weeks of work. (The study was updated to include the most recent data, from 2015.) Next we divided the total cost of a matchday ticket by that hourly figure. This gave us the number of hours that the average local household would have to work in order to pay for one ticket.

Finally, we gathered data on the number of goals scored by each team per home game, and compared that to the number of hours worked to see the home game. This gave us the number of hours that the average local household would have to work in order to see a home goal.

Sources

Study updated 14 June, 2017, to reflect most recent Gross Domestic Household Income Data from the Office of National Statistics

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