Match Of The Day magazine has launched a nationwide campaign to "kick start live football viewing" by getting kids out of the house and through the gates of stadiums.
The UK's best-selling youth football title, backed by the FA, has linked up with a host of Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League clubs to offer FREE family tickets for readers for a variety of games.
With attendance at football matches on the decline – some of the lower leagues are seeing significant falls while the Premier League has dropped 5.8% in from its 2008 peak (according to ESPN) – Match Of The Day magazine is urging more clubs to back their 'Family Footy is free with MOTD' campaign to boost live football attendance.
The clubs that have signed up to the campaign so far are: Tottenham, Liverpool, Fulham, Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United, Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers, St Mirren and Perth Saints and Match Of The Day magazine is urging others to get involved.
The best-selling youth title has come up with 10 key reasons to go to a live game, including quality bonding time with parents, experiencing the unique atmosphere of a football stadium and learning the club's football songs.
According to Ian Foster, editor of Match Of The Day magazine: "There is definitely a difference between being an active supporter and a passive armchair fan. We want as many youngsters as possible to experience the excitement of live football for the first time."
Gary Lineker, Match Of The Day presenter and England legend, says: "There is nothing like the buzz of live football. I'll never forget my first match watching Leicester play Man United and the excitement I still feel watching live games home and away. I think it's a great Match Of The Day magazine campaign to encourage youngsters off the sofa and into grounds. Once you've caught the bug, you'll never lose it."
Scott Field, head of media relations at the FA, says: "The FA is backing Match Of The Day magazine's campaign to get more kids to experience the magic of live football, and it'd be great to see as many clubs as possible giving families the chance to see live football."
Also in this week's Match Of The Day magazine, on sale today, a massive 'Title Fight' preview of Man. United v Man. City, 50 amazing bargain footy products under £15. Plus MOTD picks England's Euro 12 squad – with shock choices.
For more information on the campaign visit MOTDMag.com/news.
Notes to editors
Did you know that:
- Unofficial statistics on average football attendance from ESPN found that attendance to Barclays Premier League matches has dropped by 5.8% since May 2008. Championship attendance has also fallen, while English League One matches have slumped by 15.1%, with division 2 attendance down 5%.
- 49 minutes is the time families spend on average per day with each other in 2010 according to a poll commissioned by National Family Week. A football match lasts 90 minutes.
- Almost half of the parents questioned admit they do not spend enough "quality time" together as a family. More than one in five children complain they don't spend enough time with either of their parents.
- According to a survey by power firm E.ON in 2008, nearly half of families polled said they were able to bring up hard-to-discuss topics like school results and attitudes to life while attending games.
- The survey also found an overwhelming 83% of respondents felt that football helped to bridge generational gaps, giving grandparents something to talk about with their grandchildren and sometimes even their children.
- UK children watch an average of more than two and a half hours of television a day and spend an hour and 50 minutes online a day. (Childwise)
- A fifth (21%) of children with consoles at home claim to play for three hours or more per day on average.
- According to the Mental Health Foundation's website, mentalhealth.org.uk, it has been suggested that the atmosphere of a live football match is socially inclusive and therefore has a positive impact on mental health. Fans can step out of the strains and pressures of their everyday lives and into their team identity by wearing the same football shirts and chanting together.
About Match Of The Day magazine
Match Of The Day magazine is published by BBC Magazines and is the official magazine of the TV programme. Aimed at 8-14 year olds it has 58,447 weekly readers according to the last ABC circulation figures (Jul-Dec10).
I think it's a great Match Of The Day magazine campaign to encourage youngsters off the sofa and into grounds