Expedia Group, a travel platform and the official Travel Partner of the UEFA Champions League, presented the results of Destination: Football – An Expedia Group Study on Football Travel Trends*, examining the traits of football fans across the world and their willingness to travel for the sport.
Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Brand Expedia in India said, “India has seen a change in travel patterns and increasing incidence of travelling for sports events in the past few years. Travelling overseas for such events allows fans to watch their favourite sport in action while exploring new places and experiencing the local cultures, food & crafts. It’s exciting to see how passionately Indian fans follow football with 81% of fans stating that they changed their travel plans to ensure they don’t miss a match.”
How enthusiastic are Indians for the sport?
According to the research commissioned by Expedia Group, Brand Expedia and Hotels.com, nothing beats the excitement of witnessing the match in person with 84% of Indians claiming to have watched a football game live and 78% travelling out of India to watch those. 77% of Indians confirmed to have booked travel to the game as soon as the fixture list got announced
Popular football meccas and winning match companions
Among all the famed football stadiums in the world, 15% voted for Manchester United FC’s Old Trafford, followed by Wembley London at 10% and Camp Nou Barcelona at 9%. Footie Fans are also serious about their match companions, with ex-professional footballers topping their celebrity wish lists. Former Brazilian striker Ronaldo is the most desirable celeb to join fans travelling to a game (33%), with David Beckham coming in a close second (20%) & Maradona at 13%.
Proximity to the stadium and 24-hour check-in top hotel considerations for fans
In terms of the top consideration factors for their choice of accommodation, 58% of Indian fans identified proximity to the stadium, followed by 56% wanting 24-hour check-in service. 48% preferred rooms suitable for groups. In terms of the accommodation type 33% prefer five-star hotels and only 10% preferred to stay at a friend’s house.
Fans also see football as an opportunity to explore the city. Aside from watching football, 72% prioritise shopping, 58% try street food markets, 54% prefer sightseeing & 39% indulge in clubbing
“We’re willing to skip family commitments and make other sacrifices to avoid missing a match”
Fans were willing to lie to their other half with close to 74% of respondents admitting that to watch a football match, they had pretended to book a romantic break. 39% happy to miss the family wedding, 27% missing their own anniversary, 19% willing to skip the honeymoon, 26% rather go to a big game than go on holiday with a partner.
Football mishaps that happened when travelling to watch a game overseas
Fans stated some of the incidences they experienced in the past while attending a live game:
29% lost hotel room key
27% had a fight with an opposing fan
20% went to the wrong stadium
19% got drunk and missed the game
*Survey of 16,500 football fans around the world, conducted between 25 Feb – 25 Mar 2019.