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Which team tops rugby’s season ticket affordability table?

Looking for a team to follow? This league table may help you make up your mind

England have topped their group at the rugby World Cup after typhoon fears led to the cancellation of their match against France tomorrow.

The national side has already progressed further than it did four years ago when the tournament was hosted here.

Based on this progress, I think it’s reasonable to suggest we can expect interest in the game to increase.

And the Premiership season starts in a week’s time on October 18 while the World Cup is still on.

If you are a Londoner thinking about following a top club side for a season of two which one should you choose?

Much depends on your criteria. There are 12 teams in the Premiership of which only two are based in London –­ Harlequins or Saracens. Don’t be deceived by the name London Irish, they play in Reading. Wasps used to be London-based but they now play their home games in Coventry.

So, Quins or Saracens? If finances are important to you, it has to be Quins. I’ll explain why shortly. That said, Saracens have been winning everything in sight over the past few years which means that if your are a glory hunter maybe the Fez Boys are for you.

Interested in local fans, rugby tickets company LiveRugbyTickets.co.uk has calculated how long residents in each of the 12 different towns and cities where the Premiership rugby clubs are located would have to work in order to afford the best priced single adult* season ticket, based on the average weekly wage for the area using statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The research found that Harlequins have the most affordable 2019/20 season ticket in Premiership Rugby, as local supporters need to work just 10 hours and 15 minutes to be able to buy one.

Reigning Premiership champions Saracens rank fifth in the affordability league table, as their local supporters would need to labour for 14 hours and three minutes to enjoy a season ticket at the Allianz Park stadium.

Most affordable

Live Rugby Tickets found that Harlequins have the most affordable season ticket in terms of local wages with an adult 2019/20 season ticket at the Twickenham Stoop costing £280. The ticket covers the team’s 11 home league games and some cup games though, if they progress in cup competitions, extra sums will apply. If you only attend every league match that still works out at a little more than £25 a match. Compare that with some football teams.

Close behind in second are the Bristol Bears, whose local residents will need to work slightly more at 10 hours and 45 minutes to afford the best priced season ticket (£175.00) at the club. Yes, the Bears’ per game price is much less than the Quins, but this league table is all about aligning cost against average local earning power.

In third position is last season’s losing semi-finalists Northampton Saints, where local supporters will have to labour for 11 hours and 15 minutes for a season ticket at Franklin’s Gardens.

Least Affordable

Last season’s runners-up Exeter Chiefs have the least affordable 2019/20 season ticket (£370.00) – as local residents would have to work 25 hours and 11 minutes to enjoy Premiership games at Sandy Park. The equivalent of three working days.

Overall

Interestingly, reigning Premiership rugby champions Saracens rank fifth, as individuals in Barnet (where the club is based) need to work 14 hours and three minutes to gain the cheapest single-adult season ticket at the Allianz Park stadium.

Overall, 50% of the Premiership Rugby teams require their local supporters to work more than 15 hours to buy the best priced single-adult season ticket for the upcoming 2019/20 season. 

Stefan Balkenende, managing director of LiveRugbyTickets.co.uk said: “When it comes to rugby season tickets, the attention is always on which clubs are offering the most expensive and cheapest prices. Although, price alone is not a true indication of how affordable a season ticket really is. This research takes a more thorough and insightful approach.

“With residents in the towns and cities the Premiership rugby teams are based in invariably making up a large proportion of the season ticket holders ­ accounting for the respective area’s average weekly wages in comparison to season ticket prices provides a significantly better understanding of how much value a season ticket really represents for local supporters.”

*The price of a season ticket for each Premiership Rugby club is for a single adult – it does not include those season tickets discounted for family seating or any other similar offers/concessions. The majority of clubs charge a booking/admin fee (typically between £1-£10), but a few do not – so, for fair comparison, booking/admin fees have not been added in this research. Average weekly wage figures used for each of the 12 towns and cities where the Premiership Rugby clubs are located made to be reflective of a full-time 40 hours working week.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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