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England football fans still choose sofa

June 11, 2014

watching-footballWith the World Cup about to kick off, 95 per cent of people quizzed by MMR Research Worldwide (MMR) say they will be watching games in the comfort of their own homes.

Thirty three per cent will watch at least one game at a pub or bar; 25 per cent will watch at a friend’s house, and 9 per cent will watch at work. The younger generation, particularly 16 to 34 year-olds, is more likely to watch games in a pub or bar or at a friend’s house.

Alternative viewing platforms such as smartphones and tablets are more popular than ever but 95 per cent of those surveyed still plan to watch live games on the TV set in their living room. According to the study, 16 to 34-year-olds are more likely to watch live games on their smartphone, tablet, computer or via connected TV than any other age group, but even the majority say it will still mainly watch matches on TV.

According to MMR’s research, 69 per cent plan to watch at least some games. It also found that: 27 per cent will watch as many games as possible; 20 per cent will only watch England’s games; 13 per cent will watch all games; 10 per cent will only watch the final; and 1 per cent will plan their viewing around games involving the host nation.

Some 87 per cent say they will at least watch some highlights of matches. Of these, 70 per cent will watch highlights on TV but fans said they would make greater use of other devices to watch highlights than for live viewing, with again the 16 to 34-year-old peer group most likely to do this than older age groups.
“Watching matches on terrestrial television from the comfort of your sofa in the living room remains by far the most popular way football fans will enjoy the World Cup,” says Mat Lintern, Global Managing Director of MMR Research Worldwide.

“Despite the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, and huge investment by Sky and other broadcasters in ‘on the go’ services, the data clearly shows that the viewing habits of football fans have hardly changed since England last won the World Cup in 1966. This has huge implications for sponsors and advertisers with potential exposure to a huge market”

In the survey, carried out in the last week of May, 46 per cent of males said they were “very excited” about the World Cup versus 25 per cent of females. This compares to 48 per cent and 50 per cent respectively who claimed to be as excited about the build-up to Christmas.

More men than women say they will watch both live games and highlights. However, a higher proportion of women than men say they would watch matches at a friend’s house.

Awareness of exactly when the World Cup starts was higher among men. Overall, 48 per cent knew it was this year but did not know exactly when, 4 per cent did not know it was this year at all, and 2 per cent had never heard of it.

“Another thing that prevails from the days of Alf Ramsey and Booby Moore are the gender stereotypes surrounding football,” adds Lintern, whose team of researchers will also capture the British public’s attitudes to the World Cup after the tournament.

“Men are still clearly far more engaged and more excited than women about the World Cup and football generally. Broadcasters and advertisers seeking to target female consumers will need to consider the social aspects of viewing televised football matches which seems to be one way of attracting more women to watch the game.”

When asked by MMR which team they thought would win the World Cup, expectations of a triumph by Roy Hodgson and his players are downbeat – most respondents to the survey placed Brazil, Germany and Spain before England.

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