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A quarter of North West sports fans favour TV sport over spending Christmas and eating dinner with family

Press release   •   Dec 20, 2013 00:00 GMT

- Twenty-five per cent of sports fans in the North West would sacrifice family time to watch sport on the TV over Christmas. 

- Twenty-five per cent of North West sports fans* would give up Christmas dinner to watch sport on the TV.
- Thirty-nine per cent of UK adults watch sport on the TV over the festive period.
- More than one in ten UK men (11%) arrange their Christmas plans around football TV schedules.

New research by BT Sport has revealed that one in four of North West sports fans (25%) would give up Christmas time with their families to watch sport on the TV.
The survey shows that a quarter of sports fans in the region (25%) would also sacrifice their Christmas dinner – the highest of any region (along with Wales) - in favour of viewing their team on the television. And more than a quarter (26%) would be prepared to miss opening presents with the family to watch sport on the TV.

Nationally, the research reveals that 39 per cent of UK adults will watch televised sport this Christmas with further 25 per cent saying they would watch live Barclays Premier League football if it was played on Christmas Day. Over half of all (56%) of men will watch sport on the TV over the Christmas and New Year period compared to just over a fifth (22%) of all women. People aged between 25 and 34 are most likely to watch sport over Christmas with almost half (47%) planning to tune in.

More than one in ten of UK men (11%) will plan their Christmas and New Year celebrations around the Barclays Premier League TV schedule. People in the North East are most likely to put TV sport first with 15 per cent of all adults willing to change their Christmas plans to make sure they can watch sport on TV compared to just 5% in the East Midlands.

The research shows that London has the lowest number of festive sports followers, with only a third of adults (33%) planning to watch sport over the Christmas period, while in the North West as many as 47 per cent will be tuning in to watch their team. Sport fans in the North East are more willing than anywhere else to give up family time with 53 per cent saying they would rather watch their team on the television.

Mike Blackburn, BT’s North West regional director, said: “The North West is a region of sports fans and our research shows that watching live sport is a priority for a large proportion of the people over Christmas. The festive season is one of the busiest periods in the sporting calendar and it seems Christmas is a popular time for watching your favourite team on the television.”

BT Sport has a packed schedule over Christmas with top pick Barclays Premier League ties including double header feasts of football on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. On Boxing Day, viewers can enjoy West Ham United v Arsenal at 3pm, followed by Manchester City v Liverpool, kicking off at 5.30pm. On New Year’s Day, fans can nurse their hangovers by tucking into the double delight of Southampton v Chelsea at 3pm and then Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur at 5.30pm.

Rugby fans can also enjoy some top rugby fixtures as 2013 Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers take on current leaders Saracens on the 21st December. Exeter Chiefs also travel to Twickenham stadium to meet Harlequins for the “Big Game” on 28th December.

BT Sport will also show five exclusively live games from the NBA in the United States on Christmas Day with a further eight live match-ups before New Year’s Day.

Notes to Editors:
Results based on a survey of 2,052 UK adults aged 18+ conducted by ICM Research on behalf of BT Sport. ICM interviewed a random sample of 2,052 adults aged 18+ in GB online between 30th October -1st November 2013. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at
*Sports fans defined as all survey respondents who watch TV and would watch live Premier League football and/or live Premiership rugby on Christmas day.