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No Last Orders As Brits Prefer To Watch The Football At Home This Summer

Posted June 2, 2014 - Press Releases

• 49 million will be watching the football at home
• Oxford professor studies football-watching behaviour in Gogglebox-style social experiment

Despite the promise of extended licensing hours this summer, almost eight in ten Brits (78%) will prefer to cheer on the Three Lions from the comfort of their living room this summer.

After a 48-year trophy drought, nearly half of Brits (44%) believe England has some sort of chance of winning the tournament with just 5% of Brits thinking they will definitely win. With 78% of people saying they will watch the football tournament live on TV, and of those who said they’ll be watching the tournament in HD (54%), a quarter of people saying they will buy a new HDTV especially for this summer’s tournament, Freeview commissioned its Football Fan Focus, a comprehensive look at viewer behaviour when watching football on TV.

Freeview’s Football Fan Focus uncovered that some Brits perform certain rituals in preparation for watching a match on TV. These include making sure the fridge is stocked full of food and drink (16%), watching the match in HD for a better viewing experience (13%), wearing your football kit to support your team (8%) and even wearing lucky underwear. Should England get knocked out of this summer’s tournament, a quarter of Brits will take their frustration out on the TV: by turning it off, throwing something at it or damaging it completely. 7% expect to cry after the final whistle of a knockout match.

The study found that arguments may be looming, with over half (51%) of men planning to watch the football on their own, compared to 57% of women who plan to watch with their partner. With so many fans set to be divided in their viewing habits, the UK’s most popular TV service enlisted Oxford-based world body language expert and behavioural psychologist, Dr Peter Collett to observe a range of fans in a Gogglebox-style experiment. He spent hours closely examining the body language and behaviours of fans watching football on TV to understand just how they respond to different moments in a match, and why.

Dr Collett was able to identify eight types of football fans that may occupy the living room sofa this summer:

The Motormouth
The unelected cheerleader of the group who is constantly barking comments and suggestions at everyone on screen. They just can’t stop talking.

The Bluffer
The one who doesn’t understand the game of football, but does everything in their power to conceal their ignorance.

The Football Phobe

The person who regards football as a waste of time. There’s so much they’d rather be doing than watching people kick a ball around.

The Footie Foodie

The men and women who eat and drink their way through the match, consuming crisps, popcorn, sandwiches and pies, guzzling gallons of beer, wine and soft drinks until full-time.

The Social Sharer

You’ll often see them on their mobiles and tablets, texting their mates or speaking to people online during the match. They need to know what others are thinking and saying about the game.

The Superfan

The addicts who live and breathe the game. For them, football is a religion. They will jump up and show off when things are in their favour but will have their heads in their hands when there’s a turn for the worst. In the most extreme cases, you’ll see Superfans taking ‘Celebration Selfies’ to share their joy with the rest of the world.

The Living Room Referee

Whenever there’s a difference of opinion, or an argument breaks out on the sofa, this is the person who steps in and resolves the dispute. For them, it’s all about the entertainment of the match and making sure everyone gets on.

The Midfielder

The person who adores football, but doesn’t produce extravagant displays of joy and disappointment. Football for them is just a game to be enjoyed whilst it’s happening. “The truth is that whilst every supporter is unique, they predictably fall into certain types – each with their own motivations and behavioural profiles.”
He added, “This summer, the vast majority of us will be glued to our TVs watching the international football. Whilst you’re doing so, you can take the opportunity to learn a lot about the other people around you from how they behave, and of course you can also discover some interesting things about yourself from your own reactions to the game.”

Owen Jenkinson, Head of Marketing at Freeview commented: “It’s no surprise that people prefer to watch the drama of the match unfold in high definition at home. However, if you find that you’re more of a Football Phobe than a Superfan, there’ll be plenty of other great TV programmes on offer, to keep you entertained this summer.”

Whilst the majority of Brits will be glued to their screens, there will be some who will turn away from football entirely this summer. Almost a fifth (19%) of people plan to watch Eastenders instead of football, whilst 15% would prefer The Big Bang Theory and 14% will opt for Dr Who. One in eight (13%) will not watch TV at all preferring to read a magazine or book (39%) or do some gardening (30%).

Head to YouTube to see how the experiment unfolded.

Dr Collett has created ‘The Playbook’, a guide to the archetypes he uncovered in his experiment – available on request.

Wondering what type of fan you are? Head to the Fan Finder to find out.

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