Almost 70% of Sheffield folk will watch each one of England’s World Cup games in Brazil this summer - yet only 3% would put money on Roy Hodgson’s boys to win the competition.
The findings, from a “Three Thousand Lions Report” commissioned by bookmakers William Hill, also showed that 12% of those surveyed from the Steel City would pray for England at some point in a penalty shoot-out - with a further 7% of those admitting they are not even religious!
Over 3,000 fans were questioned for the survey, with 110 coming from Sheffield.
“We’ve already heard from more than enough pundits about the football, but this gives us a snapshot of how a huge sporting event can affect our lives,” said Rupert Adams, a spokesperson from William Hill.
“Not just for ardent England fans, but even those who aren’t really that interested.
“We can’t escape the World Cup and our research clearly shows that for some people it is a temporary life-changing event”
This World Cup is set to become the biggest sporting event in betting history with William Hill, the largest bookmaking firm in the UK, predicting over £200m from over 17m bets staked with them alone.
“I’m very confident that this will be the first ever sporting event to see a £1Billion betting turnover in this country”, Rupert added.
“Betting activity could nearly double on days when England are playing, and if they can exceed expectation and reach the latter stages, that could even be a conservative estimate.”
Findings from the report:
- 66% of fans (expect to watch England play during the World Cup
- 68% of men and 19% of women consider themselves real fans and intend to watch all of England’s games
- 12% claim they will probably pray for England at some point, especially if they reach a penalty shoot-out. 7% of those who said yes do not consider themselves religious
- 14% of fans believe they will have an argument with a partner or loved one as a result of watching the World Cup. 12% of people intend to watch England play in a pub with friends, making it one of the most likely reasons
- Only 3% of fans have had or will have a bet on England to WIN the Tournament. A further 6% will back England to win a game at some point. Of those betting on England, 66% will do so for patriotic or superstitious reasons, 34% because the odds are very good, and 18% genuinely believe in them.
- 16% of fans are so superstitious they have to watch England play in the same seat, with the same people, or wearing a specific item (typically an England shirt for 70% of the latter)
- 64% of fans will feel some sort of genuine disappointment if England fail to perform well and a third of those would be “quite depressed” about it
- 37% of fans will feel some sort of stress level increase when watching England play, with 1 in 3 of those expecting their stress level to probably be “unhealthy”
- 7% expect to either definitely or probably skip work or lectures to watch a World Cup Game at some point (* Highest figure in England)
- Adrian Chiles is the TV presenter/pundit fans will find the most irritating (23%) followed by Rio Ferdinand (12%) & Ian Wright (9%)