A recent Expedia Group study revealed strong enthusiasm for football among travellers, with some even willing to lie to their travel partner or miss family occasions to catch a game overseas.
Some 68% of respondents say they have planned holidays around sporting events at least once.
Almost half (47%) admitted to changing their holiday booking to make sure they don’t miss a football match.
Expedia Group’s own data revealed that on the day of football fixture announcements, flight and/or accommodation bookings can increase by up to three times the usual average.
Revealing the findings as official travel partner of the UEFA Champions League, Expedia Group says hosting the league final is especially beneficial to tourism. The group highlighted a 30% increase in searches of Madrid during the lead up to the 2019 Final compared to the same timeframe in 2018.
How far fans would go
The study also revealed that football fans are decisive over bookings. Over a third of respondents (40%) confirmed they book their travel for a trip as soon as their team’s fixtures are announced.
Some were even willing to lie to their other half with 32% of respondents admitting they had pretended to book a romantic break to watch a football match.
Moreover, 25% of respondents would miss a birthday, 12% would flake on parent’s evening and 11% would skip a wedding to make a game.
Meanwhile, one in 10 football fans are willing to travel over 11 hours to watch their team in action.
Top football destinations
Home of football legend Lionel Messi, Barcelona tops the list of most desired destinations to watch live football, as voted for by nearly a third (30%) of global fans.
Camp Nou in Barcelona is heralded, with 15% wanting to rally behind FC Barcelona.
The UK falls close behind with 20% of respondents around the world choosing London and Manchester. Some 11% want to visit Old Trafford, homeground of Manchester United, to watch a game.
Making a trip out of it
When booking accommodation for away games, more than 50% identified proximity to the stadium as a must-have. Other key deciding factors for accommodation include free breakfast (35%), how close it is to the city/town centre (34%) and 24 hours check in (31%).
Many see travelling for football as an opportunity to explore a new city. Aside from watching football, 62% prioritise sightseeing when visiting a new destination. Shopping is the second most popular past-time (over 50%). Nearly half (46%) search out restaurants, while 39% prefer sampling local delicacies of street food markets.