Pies, Cuppas and the Cost of Living

16th Oct, 2015

Of all clubs in UK football, Kidderminster Harriers sell their fans the most expensive pies, at a whopping £4.50.

More illustrious Liverpool, on the other hand, sell the most expensive cups of tea, at a wallet bursting £2.50 a cuppa. Don’t despair though – bargains are to be had: Scottish League Two side Elgin City will let you have a pie and a cup of tea for a combined £1.60.

Pies and cuppas are only a small part of the BBC’s annual Price of Football Study, the latest version of which was released yesterday. Overall, the study found that the cost of watching football has not risen for the majority since 2014. One key driver of this has been a nationwide freeze in the cost of tickets, with 70% either frozen or reduced for this season.

In the context of growing protests about rising ticket prices and the gathering momentum of grassroots campaigns such as ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ this is welcome news for many fans, especially as consumer experience of the economic recovery is proving as uneven and inconsistent as experiences of the downturn.

Rising wages and falling price inflation have offered financial relief for millions of households, with those in employment most likely to feel better off. But those in the public sector still face wage stagnation, and the full impact of cuts to tax credits are still to be felt. Most importantly – and most complex – is the impact the downturn had on individual households. While some will be greeting the recovery and easing cost of living pressures by loosening the purse strings, others will just be starting to move away from the range of money saving strategies deployed during the recession.

The welcome news for football itself is that consumers appear to be prioritising leisure spending above all else; keen to started treating themselves after years of cutting back. But football remains expensive and out of reach for many – and this year’s freeze should not dissuade the campaigns aiming for a reduction in the costs of tickets (and pies).