Thomas Cook football packages shown yellow cardWhich? reveals 325% price mark-ups on match breaks

26 October 2013

Travel football

A new investigation by Which? Travel reveals that a football match-break package from Thomas Cook Sport could cost you more than four times as much as if you purchased the ticket and hotel room separately.

We looked at 12 games involving some top Premier League teams, including Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC, comparing the prices between a DIY break and a package from Thomas Cook.

We found that a ticket for the Liverpool vs Newcastle match in May next year plus a night’s stay at the Liverpool Hampton Inn would cost a fan £107 if bought separately. Thomas Cook’s package, for the same ticket and the same hotel, would cost £455 – more than four times as much.

Similarly, if you wanted to head to tomorrow’s Chelsea v Manchester City game, we found you could buy the ticket yourself and stay in the same hotel as the Thomas Cook package for £178, compared to £495. From our investigation, on average, footy fans would have to pay £240 more for the luxury of booking their tickets and hotel room through Thomas Cook. That’s a staggering average mark-up of 150%.

Find out how Which? members rate Thomas Cook in our holiday companies survey.

Thomas Cook Sport football breaks

As an official partner, Thomas Cook is able to get tickets for games that non-members would struggle to get. However, we found you’d be better off becoming a member of a club than buying a Thomas Cook Sport package, even if you chose to go to just one match per season.

For example, paying £25 to become a member at Chelsea would give you priority for the Manchester United match in January. With membership included, a DIY break would still only cost you £176. The Thomas Cook Sport package is 181% more at £495.

Overall you would save an average of £200 by becoming a member rather than buying a package and going to just one game.

Thomas Cook Sport more expensive than competitors

We also discovered that Thomas Cook’s football packages are also generally higher than similar packages from competitors.

In one instance, a four-star hotel package to see current league champions Manchester United play Tottenham Hotspur on New Year’s day would cost £159 with Skelton Travel or £255 with Soccer Weekends. Thomas Cook’s package, which includes a programme, a stadium tour, museum visit and the same standard hotel, is more expensive at £459.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: ‘It’s outrageous that football fans have to pay such big premiums just to go see their favourite team. We’ve found you could save yourselves hundreds of pounds by booking it yourself.’

Thomas Cook Sport told us that their packages guaranteed fans tickets and hotel rooms for events that sometimes were not available to buy separately. It said any comparison to prices for tickets and rooms bought separately depended on fans being able to obtain those tickets and rooms. 

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