Basketball is the most expensive sport in the UK to follow, a new report has claimed.

Research from Santander shows that sports fans spend a collective £4.5 billion on sport every month, including £2bn supporting their favourite teams.

Basketball, it has surprisingly found, costs the most by far to follow at £225 per month, followed by skiing (£153), swimming (£145) and horse racing (£134).

Top five most expensive sports to follow (per month)

Sport Basketball Skiing Swimming Horse Racing Golf
Travel to and from matches / competitions £27 £20 £23 £16 £16
Clothing e.g. team replica shirts, scarves, hats £31 £20 £20 £13 £14
Other team merchandise £28 £17 £19 £7 £11
Paid-for TV subscription (if primarily purchased for the sports viewing) £39 £25 £21 £15 £21
Betting £30 £18 £18 £46 £23
Food and drink when watching your sport away from home £31 £22 £20 £18 £16
Accommodation if staying overnight away from home to watch your sport £38 £31 £24 £19 £17
Total £225 £153 £145 £134 £118


(Source: Santander 2015)

However, as the costs mount up, especially for dedicated fans and those who follow or play more than one sport, it is perhaps unsurprising that a quarter (23 percent) of those surveyed lose track of how much they spend. In fact, one in 10 golfers, tennis players and cyclists hide their expenditure from their partner.

Matt Hall, Director of Banking and Unsecured Credit at Santander said: “Sport is fun to watch and keeps us healthy but as our research shows, it can also be expensive. With our Spendlytics app people don’t have to worry about losing track of their spending anymore, because it tells customers how much they spend on their debit and credit cards and where they spend it.”

The research was commissioned to support the Santander Spendlytics app.
Respondents were asked which sports they took part in (and their main sport where multiple sports are played) and asked their approximate monthly spend on a number of areas relating to their involvement.

904 people out of 2,007 played at least one sport, applying this percentage (45%) to the UK adult population gives a total of 22,930,611 participants. Multiplied by the average total monthly spend on participating (£111) gives a monthly total of £2,552,920,205 spent participating in sports every month.

Figures for following sport followed a similar formula. 1,324 people out of 2,007 (66%) follow at least one sport, equivalent to 33,584,213 people. Multiplied by the average cost of following a sport (£60) gives a total monthly cost of £2,024,095,674.

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