LONDON, Sept. 16 // PRNewswire // -- Europcar has revealed new research* that shows over one in four football fans now believe that following their team and attending matches is now a luxury they can't afford.
Already Wigan F.C. has made the headlines by taking a reported 60 away fans to their Premier League fixture at Spurs. Yet when it comes to away support, the 'big four' are bottom of the league according to the new research by Europcar.
While the league's top teams have legions of armchair fans, the research reveals how few are prepared to hit the road for an away game. On average, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United supporters will not even make one Premier League away fixture this season -- with Arsenal propping up the away day league.
That's compared to followers of newly promoted Blackpool who top the table of planned away games with an average of 5.6 per supporter compared to an overall average of 1.9 games across all Premier League supporters.
The same seems to apply to how far fans are prepared to travel, with Blackpool followers again topping the poll, saying the furthest they'd be prepared to travel to see their team play was an average of 171 miles -- with Fulham (147 miles) and West Brom (144 miles) fans just behind.
At the bottom and propping up the travel league are Man United supporters who would on average travel no further than 57 miles to see their club play away -- barely taking supporters out of the North West, or beyond London for those living in Surrey.
With the average Premier League adult ticket price having risen by 8.9%** in five seasons, more than one in four fans (27%) say going to football games is a luxury they cannot afford because of the impact of the recession.
Over one in three top flight supporters (37%) say the price of match tickets are too expensive when added to travel costs; and more than one in four football followers (29%) say they find the expense of travelling to away games by train or coach too much to afford.
Nick Harwood, spokesperson for Europcar UK, said: "A train ticket from Newcastle to London can cost as much as 266 pounds. If you're a Newcastle fan doing that trip five times a season, you've spent over 1,300 pounds on travel before you even cross a turnstile.
"It's understandable fans of Blackpool want to make the most of their first season in the Premier League, but the atmosphere is lacking at other games when fans decide not to travel in numbers.
"We'd urge all fans to consider grouping together and getting on the road to bring back the atmosphere to away ends. That's why Europcar is launching the 'away day deal,' offering supporters 10% off car hire."
Fans wanting to take up the away day deal should quote 47267402 when booking by phone or enter the code in the homepage promo box when booking online.
Europcar is the European leader in passenger car and light utility vehicle rentals. The company serves business and leisure customers throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia-Pacific and offers customers its hire rewards loyalty scheme. Excluding franchise operations, in 2009 Europcar signed 9.5 million rental contracts, with 7,000 employees and a fleet exceeding 190,000 vehicles. In September 2008, Europcar and U.S. market leader Enterprise Holdings joined forces in a strategic commercial alliance to form the world's largest car rental network, with more than 1.2 million vehicles and 13,000 locations around the world. Europcar is owned by the French investment company Eurazeo.
Notes to editors: * Opinium Research carried out an online poll of over 1000 British football fans, including at least 50 fans from each Premier League club. Research was conducted from 20th - 31st August 2010.
** Source: The Times (The Game) September 6 2010