Belfast Telegraph

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Youngsters more likely to play football on a console than attend matches

Young people are more likely to play a football game on a console or PC than regularly attend matches, a survey has found.

The BBC's annual Price of Football study has found that more than 80 per cent of ticket prices have been reduced or frozen for the 2017-18 Premier League season. However, a separate poll of 1,000 fans aged 18 to 24 conducted by ComRes has found that only one in four (26 per cent) attend more than one match a month.

Four in five (82 per cent) said in the same poll that the cost of tickets was an obstacle to them going more often.

That compared to 61 per cent in the same age category who said they were more likely to engage with football via gaming than they were to play for a team (37 per cent).

The Price of Football study found that 135 of 190 clubs in England, Scotland and Wales offer discounted tickets for teenagers and young adults - separate to student concessions.

According to figures from the Premier League, young adult fans bought four per cent of all season tickets this year, while a report in 2015 suggested the average age of an adult supporter in the Premier League was 41.

Rob Wilson, football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University, told BBC Sport: "These fans are the next generation of season ticket holders but they have been brought up in a sanitised and expensive environment.

"With this in mind, they are reluctant to pay so much to watch their teams play and these findings should act as a warning to the Premier League elite - they ignore this group of fans at their peril."

Young people surveyed by ComRes were also more likely to bet on football (44 per cent) than play for a team.

Season ticket prices in the top flight were at their lowest level overall since 2013, the Price of Football study found.

But prices are rising in other areas, with the average cost of an adult replica shirt going past the £50 mark for the first time. The average cost of a junior shirt is now over £40.

More than half of Premier League clubs increased the price they charge for a matchday pie. Only West Ham reduced the price. The average is now £3.65 - a 4.58 per cent increase on last season.

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