Football fans warned over high season ticket loan rates

It’s thought that 1 in 3 football fans now rely on taking out a loan in order to buy a season ticket to watch their favourite teams.1 However, it seems that many football clubs are taking advantage of this, offering loans through third parties to cover the cost of the ticket but with high APR rates and heavy admin fees.

Depending on who you support, you may be looking at paying up to 36.3% APR to watch your favourite team play if you take a loan out with the club, according to our latest research.2

During our study, we analysed the rates and charges being offered by over 70 clubs spanning all the different leagues. This showed that the big Premier League clubs are charging on average 11.59% APR on season ticket loans, with only the minority (seven clubs) offering entirely fee-free loans.3 And it’s actually some of the wealthiest clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea who are the worst offenders for adding large ‘admin’ charges to their loans, ranging from £29 to £40.

However, that’s not to say that the problem is just isolated to the Premier League. Clubs in the lower leagues are in on this too and in fact, there are some lower league teams who are charging their fans higher fees than the top tier. Preston North End, in the EFL’s Championship, charges the highest rate in England, at 36.30% APR (£15 admin fee), although this is largely driven by the low ticket price and short repayment term (four months), compared to the admin fee.

Priced out of football?

With the high season ticket costs, the huge inconsistencies in the rates charged if taking out credit and the steep costs to kit yourself and your family out in the latest strips, it’s not surprising that 52% of supporters now feel like they’ve been priced out of attending football matches.4

And for passionate fans of football, we understand there’s nothing quite like being at your team’s ground cheering on the players to victory, but it’s important to consider how you can do this without putting too much of a strain on your finances. To help, here’s our top tips for being a financially-savvy football supporter:

  1. Think about your payment options

When you’re thinking about how to fund your season ticket, take the time to weigh up your options, rather than jumping at the first thing you see. The most cost effective way to get a season ticket is to pay the full cost upfront rather than relying on credit, but if this isn’t an option make sure you shop around and consider what you can comfortably afford to pay back each month before taking out a loan. Your football club may offer their own season ticket loan as part of financing options, but it doesn’t necessarily mean this will be the best rate available to you. You can check your eligibility for loans for free through Noddle’s loan matcher tool, which will match you to loans that you could be eligible for based on your credit score. Log in to your account or sign up to find out more.

2. Start scoring with a budget

To stay on top of managing your finances, nothing beats a good budget. So if you simply can’t miss seeing your favourite team playing at the weekend, why not start putting money aside now in preparation for next season. By doing so, you’ll be in a great position to jump on any early-bird season tickets that are released, helping you to save some money and avoid relying on credit.

3. Keep an eye on your credit report

It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your credit report once a month so that you can keep any eye on your financial information and make sure everything looks as it should. Before making any application for credit – whether that’s for a mortgage, or something like a season ticket loan – always make sure you’ve checked what’s what on your credit report. This information is what lenders will consider when they’re deciding whether to give you credit, so making sure all the details are correct is really important.

1 Noddle commissioned Opinium Research to interview 2,005 GB adults online from 14-18 December 2018. Results are weighted to be representative of the UK population.

2 Interest rates and admin fees for 92 professional football clubs, which spanned the top four tiers in English football (Premier League, EFL Championship, League One and League Two) were sourced by looking at information available on each clubs’ website from 01/10/18 – 02/12/18 (most up to date data available on club website). 21 clubs were omitted from the research calculations (leaving 71 teams in total) either because the third-party finance partner failed to provide information when requested, or they don’t provide any form of season ticket financing (either interest-free or with interest).

3 11.59% APR was calculated by taking the average from the following Premier League clubs: Fulham (13.5%), Huddersfield (16%), Chelsea (13.3%), Liverpool (12.4%), Manchester United (10.7%), Arsenal (7.7%) and Tottenham (7.5%).

4 Statistic taken from Noddle research. Noddle commissioned Opinium Research to interview 2,005 GB adults online from 14-18 December 2018. Results are weighted to be representative of the UK population.