Sports events, especially football (or soccer for our American readers), has been a major factor in scheduling global travel plans for millions, according a latest research commissioned by Expedia Group. The report revealed that a staggering 68 percent of travelers around the world have planned holidays around football matches at least once so far.
The results of Destination: Football – An Expedia Group Study on Football Travel Trends that examine the traits of football fans across the world, show that 70 percent of female and 67 percent of male respondents confessed to planning their holidays around their favourite team. Also, 47 percent said they are willing to change holiday bookings to make sure they don’t miss a match.
Barcelona, Nou Camp, rules!
According to the results of the survey joined by 16,500 football fans around the world between 25th February 2019 and 25th March 2019, Barcelona tops the list of most desired destinations to watch live football matches, as voted for by nearly a third (30 percent) of global fans. Nou Camp in Barcelona is heralded as the absolute football Mecca too, with 15 percent wanting to rally behind FC Barcelona.
The UK falls close behind with 20 percent of respondents around the world stating London and Manchester as their chosen destinations. In fact, 11 percent want to visit Old Trafford to watch a game. The study revealed two thirds (67 percent) of respondents have been to an away match and one in ten were even willing to travel 11+ hours to watch their team in action.
Proximity to stadium and free breakfast are key!
When booking accommodation for away games, more than 50 percent identified proximity to the stadium as a must have and see 5-star hotels as the equivalent of traveling like a football superstar. Other key deciding factors for accommodation include free breakfast (35 percent), how close it is to the city/town centre (34 percent) and 24 hours check in (31 percent).
Many see traveling for football as an opportunity to explore a new city. Aside from watching football, 62 percent prioritise sightseeing when visiting someplace new. Shopping is the second most popular past-time, with more than half hoping to bag a bargain. Wanderlust becomes wanderlunch with food playing a meaty role when traveling. 46 percent search out restaurants, while over a third (39 percent) prefer sampling local delicacies of street food markets. See additional details in below infographic.