Football good for families?
Press release from E.On
NEW RESEARCH SHOWS FAMILIES BOND BEST OVER FOOTBALL
01 January 2009
Parents see football grounds as the best place to bond with their children,
claims a new report commissioned by FA Cup sponsors E.ON.
The report, published by the energy company, says that 77% of parents
believe watching football with their children gives them the very best
opportunity to enjoy quality time as a family.
The “E.ON: Families & Football Report” also revealed that the relaxed
environment of a sporting occasion often provided parents with a forum for
bringing up other more ‘difficult’ matters that they know their children
find awkward to discuss.
Almost half (49%) of parents said that whilst sitting inside a football
ground they had initiated conversations about school performance, attitude
to life and even values and ethics.
The study showed that 65% of parents now attend weekend football matches
accompanied by sons or daughters. It also highlighted that 85% see
football grounds as safe places for children to visit.
Only 12% said that they never take their children to watch a match.
And with the growing concerns over the price of admission to football
matches, the majority (98%) of parents surveyed welcomed moves by top clubs
to reduce ticket prices for early rounds of the country’s main knock-out
This weekend, many Premier League clubs (including Chelsea, Middlesbrough
and holders Portsmouth) are reducing admission prices for the Third Round
of the FA Cup, helping to give fans the chance to experience the tradition
and thrill of the world’s oldest domestic knock-out competition.
Martin Perry, a sports psychology expert, who contributed to the E.ON
report, says: “Supporting the same football team is an excellent way to
bring families together – both in triumph and defeat. It creates bonds that
hold for years; talking points; and a focus for family activity. It would
be a shame if the economic climate and high ticket prices started to erode
this very positive tradition.”
The “E.ON: Families & Football Report” also revealed the positive impact
football has on the wider family unit (i.e. beyond mum, dad and children).
83% felt that football helped bridge generational gaps – giving
grandparents subject matter with which to engage their grandchildren and
sometimes even their own children.
And in an age when time is at an increasingly high premium, the study
showed that for many (44%), going to a game was the only occasion that
larger family groups could manage to get together outside of Christmas,
Easter and major family events.
To help bring football and families together, E.ON is giving away hundreds
of free family ticket packages to FA Cup matches all the way through to The
Final in May 2009. E.ON is also letting fans get their hands on the famous
trophy itself and creating bespoke areas at FA Cup matches and shopping
centres where the whole family can take part in football themed fun
including penalty shoot-outs, football family portraits and football skills
Mr Perry adds: “Spectator sports like football can play a huge role in
strengthening family ties, values and promoting harmony, amongst family
“The type of “David versus Goliath” match that you witness in the FA Cup
can have an extraordinary effect on pulling people together in support of
the underdog. In the same way that such matches unite whole towns, a game
such as Barrow versus Middlesbrough, can have a similarly positive effect
on a family unit.”
Former footballer, FA Cup runner-up and now TV pundit, Jamie Redknapp,
says: “Football has played a huge part in our family for as long as I can
remember. What with both Dad and me so involved in the game we could banter
about it for hours.”
Phil Boas, Head of Sponsorship and Events at E.ON, concludes: “Whether it’s
going to the ground or watching the game on TV, the FA Cup has always
brought families together. Our research shows just how important it is for
this tradition to continue and for cup matches to remain a major event on
the family calendar."
This weekend (2nd – 5th January), non-league Barrow will visit
Middlesbrough. Histon will play Swansea and Eastwood Town travel to
Kettering Town. Blyth face Blackburn, Forest Green play Derby and fellow
non-leaguers Torquay entertain Blackpool. Cup holders Portsmouth take on
Bristol City, Manchester United head to Southampton and Arsenal host
For more information on the E.ON: Families & Football campaign, visit
www.familyfootball.co.uk or click here