Has football changed for the better? Survey reveals what football fans really think of the nation’s most loved game

By in News, People & Places

Thursday 7th September

Since the beginning of the Football Association 154 years ago, the landscape of the game has changed
remarkably, growing into the most watched sporting league in the world. Football broadcasts across
212 territories and earns £2.2billion in television rights. The game has evolved and adapted to the
needs of its ever-growing audience, particularly with the inception of the Premier League in 1992 and
FIFA in 1994.
Ticketgum.com wanted to gain perspective from self-confessed football fans on how the game has
changed over the years. They surveyed 486 football fans aged 35-70 on several factors related to
changes in the game.
Some of the results included the following:
Spectatorship
Traditionally a masculine, no-go area for women; today there are more women in Britain than ever
before watching the game, at 7.7 million (one third of all UK fans). Some of the responses from the
survey were as follows:
– 74% agreed that there are more female spectators than ever before.
– 38% believe football spectatorship has become more ‘middle-class’ in the past 15 years.
– 68% believe football today has wider appeal, reaching a larger demographic of
spectators.
Ticketgum.com found that it has been argued that the high cost of football tickets and season tickets has
attracted a more middle-class audience, with ticket prices going up 12.5% in the past five years.
Football stadiums, once run-down, are now 90,000 in capacity, with multiple bars, food stands and
luxury restaurants, where regulars can be granted exclusive membership deals, gaining access to more
facilities.
Safety
Ticketgum.com also asked football fans of their opinion regarding the safety of spectators when at the
game. Football fans were reminded that stadiums are now entirely seated following the Hillsborough
disaster where 96 football fans were crushed in the stands due to an over-stretched capacity.
– 76% of those surveyed believe during-match violence has declined dramatically;
majority say this is due to better policing strategies and heightened security.
– 74% believe football has now become safer for spectators in general.
– 59% would bring their children to a game.
For immediate release ticketgum.com
Standards & cost
Also, embedded in the survey, were questions related to the standards and cost of football. Ticketgum
sought to find out if fans believe the standard reflects the cost to attend and vice versa.
Neymar’s recent transfer to Paris-Saint-Germain cost a world-record fee of £198 million, resulting in
ample press attention. The competitive nature of football teams wanting the best players has arguably
driven up playing standards.
Respondents claimed the following:
– 71% believe football has become a more exciting sport.
– 90% believe the quality of play has improved in the past 15 years.
– 40% believe the game has become too money-orientated but just 31% think spectating
has become too expensive.
Long-time football fan Karen, 58 from East Sussex comments:
“Football has a wider appeal. As a woman, I don’t feel unsafe attending games like I would’ve done when I
was younger.
The standard of play has improved; football is the most exciting sport of our time right now. It has become
more expensive to attend, but you’re paying for a quality stadium and play, so I don’t think it puts people
off.
The game needed to move with the times and the Premier League gave it the boost it needed.”
However, the changes to football has not been viewed as positively by everyone. Long-standing
football fan Nick, 63 from Reading gave his view on the matter:
“I’ve been a fan since I was a boy when I used to go to the local ground with my Dad. Football was a different
sport back then, it wasn’t flashy like it is nowadays, it was your regular working man’s sport.
I feel like its lost its spirit. Most players you’d see on the field lived locally; you knew them and not from the
papers. Today it’s all money, celebrities and private jets.
Stadiums don’t have the same atmosphere as when we had the terraces. I know they weren’t safe, but they
were exciting, there was a thrill in spectating that you don’t get today.”
Adam Taylor from TicketGum comments:
Football has evolved over the past decade, on and off the pitch. The game has become very commercialised,
which has allowed for injections of money into the league, so clubs can make an active effort to improve
different aspects on and off the pitch. This has made the wonderful game more accommodating to seniors,
women and families through offering discounts of tickets and creating a more welcoming atmosphere for
all.”
SOURCE: Ticket Gum