Sacrificial fans

Chris PolechonskiSenior Research Executive Digital, Media and Technology
May 11, 2013, 10:35 AM UTC

Over a third of football fans would miss their friend’s wedding to see their team play in a major cup final

New YouGov research reveals the extremes to which football fans would go to see their team play in a major cup final. Over a third (34%) would miss a friend’s wedding, more than a quarter (27%) would skip seeing their child’s school play and one in twelve (8%) male fans would miss the birth of their first child to go watch their team play in a major cup final.

These results come ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic. This is Wigan’s first FA Cup Final, which follows the League Cup Final earlier this season where both Swansea City and League Two’s Bradford City made their first appearance.

In light of traditionally smaller teams making it to major cup finals for the first time this season, YouGov asked football fans what occasions they would sacrifice to see their team’s afternoon of glory. One in five (20%) would not attend a relative’s wedding, 17% would skip a job interview and one in ten (10%) would not attend a family funeral.

When it comes to missing special event in order to attend a cup final, there is a clear gender divide. Male football fans are more likely than female football fans to attend a major cup final if it clashed it a special event.

The divide is most pronounced when the event at hand was their child taking part in a school play. Over a third (35%) of males would attend a cup final over going to see their child act, compared to just over one it ten (11%) of females who say the same.

There is also a quite pronounced divide when it comes to going to a friend’s wedding. Whereas more than two-fifths (41%) of males would miss the nuptials for a cup final, 22% of females say they would do the same.

Laurence Janta-Lipinski, YouGov Political and Social Research Manager, says:  “These results reveal how football mad we are as a nation. While the majority of fans would still attend special events, the fact that significant proportions of fans, in particular male fans, would miss these events in order to watch their team play in a cup final shows how football plays a big part in fans’ lives.”

See the full poll results