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Fans Go Into Extra Time for the Football Season
- Average fan spends nearly 14 hours a week following the game, research shows

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 12/24/12 -- With the new football season well and truly underway, many fans will be wondering where all their time has gone. That is because fans spend an average of nearly 14 hours a week following the beautiful game, according to new research(i) from cash and stocks and shares ISAs provider Virgin Money.

The average fan racks up 13.8 hours each week on football - the equivalent of nearly two full working days - which includes time spent travelling to and from the match, watching TV, searching the internet and talking about the game with friends. That adds up to over 700 hours a year - or nearly a full month, spent being a football fan.

And that's only the average. Nearly one in five of fans surveyed (18%) admits to spending more than 30 hours a week on football, with a dedicated (or maybe obsessive) 9.7% spending more than 40 hours a week on the game. That is the equivalent to another working week on top of their job.

Fans of League 1 and League 2 sides narrowly edge out the Premier League when it comes to dedication. The average time spent being a fan in the lower leagues is 15.6 hours compared with 15.3 hours in the Premier League. Championship fans are less dedicated (or more balanced) with 11.5 hours a week dedicated to the game.

Graeme Tones, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: "It might be only 90 minutes on the day for the players but for the fans it's a lot more than just a game.

"Putting in 13.8 hours a week is like doing almost another two days at work and that's just the average. Some supporters are really piling on the extra time with many putting in more than 40 hours a week being a fan. Dedicated fans invest a lot of money in supporting football and this demonstrates they also invest a lot of time as well. It may be only a game but it certainly takes up a lot of time and effort."

The research shows not all fans are quite as obsessed - around 10% managed to keep their football habit down to four hours or less a week.

Virgin Money's nationwide study found some intriguing derby match-ups with Chelsea fans winning the dedication battle in London against Arsenal and Tottenham. The average Chelsea fans puts in 17.5 hours a week compared with 14.9 for Arsenal and 13.6 for Tottenham.

Manchester United lose out to reigning champions Manchester City, with United fans spending 12.7 hours a week following the game compared with nearly 14 hours for City supporters. Liverpool fans beat them both though with 16.1 hours. In another Northern derby, Sunderland supporters beat Newcastle United fans with 16.4 hours to 14.7 hours.

Virgin Money's Football Fans Inflation Index shows it is not as easy to keep the cost of following football down - inflation in the game is running at 3.26% while the average matchday cost is around GBP 113.98.

Increased costs for match tickets combined with the rising cost of watching football on television have helped to send the total cost of the Virgin Money basket of football goods to GBP 113.98 - the second highest since Virgin Money began tracking costs for fans in January 2006.

The cost of Virgin Money's basket of goods has climbed GBP 3.60 since the start of the 2011/12 season - an increase of 3.26% - despite the general downward trend for inflation across the economy. That means football inflation is rising faster than the 2.6% level of the Government's official Consumer Price Index, Virgin Money's research shows.

Virgin Money's Football Fans' Index has tracked the cost of football since January 2006 and is aimed at helping supporters keep track of the rise and fall in the costs of supporting their team. The company identified the match day essentials fans buy and keeps tabs on increases and decreases.

At the launch of the index in January 2006, the match day basket of goods cost GBP 77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at GBP 113.98.

Notes to Editors

--  (i) Research conducted by the Football Supporters' Federation among an
    online sample of 1,178 football fans between August 1st and August 28th
--  Virgin Money's Football Fans' Index runs every three months and the
    firm's research team examines the cost of various items which football
    fans spend money on. The basket of goods includes a gallon of petrol, a
    pint of lager, a bacon roll, a train fare, a match ticket, a replica
    shirt, the cost of watching football on television and a match

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