EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01, FRIDAY 2 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 competitions.
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 sessions.
Mr Perry adds: “Spectator sports like football can play a huge role in strengthening family ties, values and promoting harmony, amongst family members.
“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 Plymouth.
For more information on the E.ON: Families & Football campaign, visit www.familyfootball.co.uk or click here
Case Study: Three generations of Charlton fans
Trevor Hill (54) from Dartford has been following Charlton Athletic since the late 1960s.
Today he attends games with up to eight family members including his daughter Louise Mason (31), sons-in-law Mark Mason (33) and Lee Harman (37) and his grandchildren Chloe Harman (9), Brooke Harman (6) and Taylor Mason (4).
“Going to football together has definitely made us a stronger family group.
“I have a closer relationship with my daughter, sons-in law and grandchildren because of the time we spend at The Valley.
“Lee (my son in law) often likens pitch goings-on to playground incidents. He’s always keen to point out to Chloe when players shake hands and walk away from a clash.
“Football can really be a useful way to explain some of life’s lessons.
“I think I see a lot more of my grandchildren than other grandparents that I know. We don’t just meet up at the ground, we meet at someone’s house before the match and travel there and back together.
“Spending four hours with my grandkids every other Saturday gives me a great chance to catch up with them and learn a lot more about their lives.”
Notes to editors:
Research was commissioned by E.ON amongst a representative sample of 2,955 adults between 6-7 December 2008. Of the sample, 1005 were parents with children of school-going age.
Martin Perry is a psychology expert and sports confidence coach. In addition to working with sportspeople from the worlds of football, cricket, golf and darts he is also sought out for his views on human behaviour and has appeared as a commentator on "Celebrity Big Brother", "Inside the Mind" and "Tabloid Tales". Martin is the author of the best selling book The Confidence Booster Workout which has sold over 120,000 copies world-wide and been translated into 5 languages. He is the resident sports psychology expert for Four Four Two magazine.
E.ON is Sponsor of The FA Cup, The FA Women’s Cup, The FA Youth Cup and is The FA Schools Partner till 2010. In addition, E.ON is also Official Energy Partner to The Football League.
E.ON is one of the UK’s leading power and gas companies – generating and distributing electricity, and retailing power and gas – and is part of the E.ON group, the world’s largest investor-owned power and gas company. E.ON employ around 17,000 people in the UK.
E.ON is one of the leading green generators in the UK, with 21 wind farms located from Cornwall to Northern Ireland. Combined, its renewable portfolio generates enough green energy to power the homes in a city the size of Manchester. E.ON’s target is to cut the carbon released by each kW of electricity we generate by 10% between 2005-2012, having already reduced it by 20% since 1990.
For more information please contact:
Matt de Leon or Mark Cooper, Van Communications
07976 458 709 or 07879 407 283
Simon Breakell or Alex Howells, Sponsorship PR, E.ON
07702 668 400 or 07525 704 669
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