A huge 68 percent of global travelers have planned holidays around sporting events at least once and 47 percent of the travelers admitted to changing their holiday booking to make sure they don’t miss a football match, according to a Football Travel Trends study.
Expedia, Official Travel Partner of UEFA Champions League presents the results of Destination: Football – An Expedia Group Study on Football Travel Trends. According to the research, a staggering 68 percent of travelers around the world have planned holidays around sporting events at least once. Of this 68 percent, 70 percent of female and 67 percent of male respondents confessed to planning their holidays around their favorite team. Showing their dedication, nearly half (47 percent) admitted to actually changing holiday bookings to make sure they don’t miss a match.
Most Desired Destinations to Watch Live Football
Home of Messi, Barcelona tops the list of most desired destinations to watch live football, as voted for by nearly a third (30 percent) of global fans. Camp Nou 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.
Football fans dedication is unquestionable. 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.
Footie fans are also serious about their match companions, with ex-professional footballers topping the celebrity wish list. Former Brazilian striker Ronaldo is the most desirable celeb to join fans traveling to a game (17%), with David Beckham coming in a close second (15%). Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo battleit out to be the number one current footballer that travelers would like to buddy up with on holiday, with the data revealing that one-fifth of global respondents choose them as a travel companion.
Near-the-stadium hotels with free breakfast and 24 hours check-in
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 center (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 prioritize 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.
Preparation is key, but we’re willing to skip family commitments to avoid missing a match
When it comes to booking, fans don’t wait around. Over a third of respondents (40 percent) confirmed they book their travel for a trip as soon as their team’s fixtures are announced, with women (46 percent) being more organized than men (38 percent).
Some were even willing to lie to their other half with just under a third (32 percent) of respondents admitting they had pretended to book a romantic break to watch a football match. We’re often more loyal to our football team than family – 25% of people would miss a birthday, 12% would flake on parent’s evening and 11% would skip a wedding to make a game.