Which Premier League Football Fans Work the Most (and Least) to Afford a Home Match Day Ticket?

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. The "affordability" of a ticket depends very much on how much money a household earns, not just raw ticket price.

How Many Hours Does a Local Fan Work to Afford a Ticket?

Consumer-research group NimbleFins has calculated how many hours a local fan would have to work in order to afford a home matchday ticket, using regional after-tax household income data from the ONS. In the 2016/17 season, fans of just-relegated Hull City worked the least to afford a seat (2.3 hours). Despite charging the highest ticket prices, Chelsea offered some of the best value in the Premier League for the 2016/17 season to local fans, who worked an average of 2.7 hours to afford a ticket. Leicester City tied with Chelsea, with fans also toiling for 2.7 hours for their seats.

Chelsea wasn’t the only London team to top the affordability charts. Crystal Palace ranked 4th and West Ham ranked 5th, with local fans working only 2.8 and 3.3 hours, respectively, to buy their tickets. Fans in Manchester and Liverpool face a larger financial burden to buy their tickets. Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton, Swansea and Liverpool had the least affordable tickets, given regional income levels. These fans worked around 5 hours to earn enough money to buy a ticket, nearly twice as long at Chelsea and Leicester City fans.

chart showing how many hours a local premier league fan had to work to buy a home matchday ticket
How Many Hours of Work to Afford a Home Matchday Ticket?

How Many Hours Does a Local Fan Work to See a Goal at Home?

To get an idea of how much entertainment a fan received for their hard-earned ticket, NimbleFins compared the stats above (i.e., the number of hours a fan had to work to afford a matchday ticket) to the average number of goals each team scored at home during the 2016/17 season.

Chelsea topped the table, with local fans working only 1.0 hours to see a goal at home. Hull City and Tottenham were second in the affordability of seeing a home goal, with fans needing to labour for the equivalent of 1.5 hours to see a goal.

In contrast, Southampton, Swansea City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland supporters worked nearly 4 times as much, on average, to witness a goal at home in 2016/17.

chart showing how many hours a local premier league fan had to work to see a goal at home
How Many Hours of Work to Afford a Witness a Goal at Home?

Interestingly, the results show that ticket price and the “value” a fan gets (in terms of the adrenaline rush when the home team scores) aren’t necessarily correlated. In fact, local 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. It's unfortunate that Hull City was just relegated - the players provided solid value for their fans.

You can find the full results and methodology in NimbleFins' original football affordability study.


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