More Man Utd fans in London than Manchester according to new research

  • 18% of Manchester United fans based in the capital, while only 14% are from Manchester itself
  • The average football fan lives 83 miles away from the team they support, with only 55% of fans supporting their local team
  • One in five (21%) football fans admit that they have never been to the ground of the team that they support
  • Virgin Media tops the table of the cheapest way to watch football with its Bigger + Sports & Movie bundle which includes Sky Sports and BT Sport – where fans can net huge savings

8th September 2021: Proving a well-established football fan theory, new research from Virgin Media reveals there are more Manchester United fans in London than in Manchester. While the Capital is home to 18% of Manchester United fans, only 14% come from Manchester itself.

The case is similar for their north west rivals Liverpool too, with 14% of the club’s fans based in London, compared to 13% on Merseyside.

In fact, the survey found that only around half of all fans (55%) support their local team with the average football fan living 83 miles from the team they support. Liverpool fans live furthest away from their club, with fans living an average of 129 miles away, more than double the distance for Aston Villa fans from Villa Park (52 miles).

The research comes as Virgin Media is offering fans the cheapest way to watch football this season with their Bigger + Sports & Movies bundle, which includes Sky Sports and BT Sport, netting customers a saving of more than £500 and £400 compared with like-for-like packages from Sky and BT respectively.

With large numbers of fans supporting teams a long way from home, more than a fifth of football fans (21%) admit that they have never even been to the ground of their team and nearly half (44%) get mocked by their mates.

Of those who do make it to grounds, on average fans will travel 396 miles to watch their team an average of six times over the course of a season. Everton fans will watch the most games in real life, on average watching nine games per season while Tottenham fans will watch the least (two).

While fans will only watch their team play six games in real life, they’ll watch double the amount -12 games a year – on television.  Almost a third of fans (31%) say that watching football matches on TV is great because of the comfort and convenience, with 14% say that watching games on TV is better than being in the stadium.

Almost a quarter (23%) of fans don’t want to miss out on the action and watch two games at the same time on the telly, and a football crazy 11% say that if they could watch football for every minute they are awake, they would.

David Bouchier, Chief TV & Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, which commissioned the study, said:

 “It seems that distance isn’t a barrier for football fans – with many living miles away from the team they support, and some who’ve never been to their club’s ground to watch a game before.

 “No matter where you live, Virgin Media has fans covered this season as we’re the cheapest way to watch football with our brilliant Bigger + Sports & Movie bundle which offers a great line-up of live matches, combined with our lightning-fast broadband.”

According to Virgin Media’s study, the primary reason fans pick their favourite team is following family tradition (31%). A fifth (20%) are attracted to the club’s successes and a similar number (19%) are loyal to individual players.

When it comes to certain players, while 63% of fans have never considered switching teams, 11% said they’d consider switching allegiances for Manchester City star Jack Grealish and 10% would do the same for Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

Some fans are drawn to teams by ‘wanting to be different to friends and family’ (12%), because they like their kit (11%) and some are even drawn to a team because of how attractive their players are (5%).

Find out more about Virgin Media’s bundles here.



Virgin Media’s Bigger + Sports & Movie bundle is priced at £69 on an 18 month contract. It includes all Sky Sports channels and Sky Cinema HD, and BT Sport in HD and 4K Ultra HD, with the option of adding Sky Sports channels in HD for £7 extra = £76 per month. It also comes with more than 200 channels, 362Mbps broadband and inclusive landline weekend calls. Price quoted is for new customers.

Note to editors:

About the research

The survey of 1,500 UK adults was carried out by Perspectus Global between 25-26 August 2021.

About Virgin Media pricing

The comparison is on like-for-like TV, broadband and phone packages from Virgin Media, Sky and BT. TV channels and content varies by provider.

It includes set up, installation and delivery charges. It does not include Amazon Prime Video subscription costs.

Pricing correct as of Monday 6 September, 2021. Cost calculated over the first 18 months.

Table of pricing:

Bundle comparison Virgin Media Sky BT
Average download speed 362Mbps 145Mbps 145Mbps
TV Maxit TV Signature, Sky Sports, BT Sport, Sky Cinema VIP (Entertainment, Sports, Movies, HD)
Sky Sports HD* HD HD
BT Sport HD & 4K HD HD & 4K
Sky Cinema HD HD HD
Phone Weekend Calls PAYG PAYG
Total Bundle Cost £76.00* £105.00 £100.99
Offer length 18 months 18 months 24 months
Set-Up Fee & Delivery Charges £35.00 £29.95 £0.00
Price at end of contract £114.00 £125.00 £108.99
Total Cost in first 18 months (inc. set-up) £1,403.00 £1,919.95 £1,817.82
Saving with VM £516.95 £414.82

*Upgrade cost to Sky Sports HD of £7 p/m is included in the total bundle cost for Virgin Media

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