Football fans in South Yorkshire have called for lower prices in the wake of a new survey which shows the cost of following football has surged.
The 2014 Price of Football study shows that, nationally, the average price of the cheapest match-day ticket has risen 13 per cent in the last 12 months – compared to a 6.8 per cent increase in the cost of living during that time.
In South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, fans of newly-promoted Rotherham United pay the most for season tickets – the Millers’ £450 for the cheapest season ticket is higher than the £334.33 Championship average.
It is also higher than the £360 fans are expected to pay to see Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday, as well as Sheffield United’s £310 and Chesterfield’s £345 in League One.
Owls fans enjoy the cheapest low-end match-day tickets in professional football, tied at £10 with Derby County, as well as the cheapest cost of a day out – £17.80 against a £27.78 average for the Championship.
But its high-end tickets, at £32, are higher than any other South Yorkshire club, as are its high-end season tickets at £595, both above average.
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Fans of League One side Barnsley enjoy the cheapest season tickets in South Yorkshire, at £270, followed by fellow League One side Doncaster Rovers, at £299.
United fan Ash Barkworth, aged 23, from Chapeltown, said: “I’ve never thought it was particularly expensive, except for food.
“The cost of food and drink inside the ground is overpriced, so I never buy anything at the match.
“As for season tickets being above average, I guess you’re paying for the fact we are the biggest club in the division.”
Wednesday fan Wayne Jackson, aged 30, from Ecclesfield, said: “It’s too expensive. When the price is lowered, the stadium is full.
“By getting more people into the stadium, they are going to get more revenue into the club from food and drinks.”
Kevin Cookson, United spokesman, said: “We have the biggest attendances in League One and, as the figures show, a day out at Bramall Lane remains cheaper than the average in our division. We strive to give loyal Unitedites value for money in all areas of the business.”
Trevor Braithwait, for Wednesday, said: “We are delighted to learn we offer the cheapest day out for our supporters in the local area.
“We conducted extensive research over the summer and gauged supporter feedback to arrive at what has clearly proved an extremely competitive pricing structure.
“Overall, the survey reflects well on Wednesday, underlining our ethos as a club with its community at heart.”
Nick Johnson, Chesterfield FC spokesman, said: “We work to ensure the best value we can and regularly review our prices.
“It’s a comparatively new stadium and we have some excellent entertainment on offer – I don’t think anyone can complain about the football served up this season.”
A Barnsley FC spokesman said: “Prices are reviewed every season and we are trying to give the best possible match experience at the best possible price.
“There are circumstances in which the price might go up or down, but we are always looking to give the best experience.”
Gavin Baldwin, Doncaster Rovers chief executive, said: “It is pleasing to see that in terms of our match-day prices we are comparable to the rest of the division, despite offering better quality facilities than most.”
Rotherham United declined to comment on the BBC Sport study.