Last year the UK pocketed €940 million from tourists who came to attend a football matches in its stadiums. Of the 800,000 football tourists visiting the UK, an average of €1,176 was spent per person.
The lure of football to visitors from abroad is arguably nowhere so strong as the UK. With several legendary football teams, great players and renowned stadiums that capture the imagination of football fans, every year thousands of tourists are attracted to Britain to watch live football matches unfold.
Nearly a billion
Data from the Office for National Statistics and VisitBritain shows that in 2014 about 800,000 foreigners attended a football game during their visit to Britain’s shores. That is about 50,000 more than in 2010. This group of tourists visiting the country produces a significant amount of money – football tourists spent an average of €1,176 per person (£885) during their visit to Britain, which amounts to a total of €940 million – 15% higher than in 2010. In comparison, tourists traveling to the UK that do not visit a match, give out much less during their visit – on average €834 (£628).
Ireland is the country where most football tourists come from, at around 121,000. Norway comes in on second place, with 93,000 of its visitors attending a match, followed by Sweden in third spot, with 58,000 match attending visitors. The top 5 largest foreign markets for British football is closed by the US, with 53,000 visitors, and the Netherlands, with 43,000. Together, the top 10 countries accounted for 68% of total football tourists.
The most popular destination among football tourists in Britain are the football stadiums in London – almost half of the visited matches took place in the English capital. The main attractions include Arsenal’s The Emirates Stadium, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, Wembley (national team, some cup matches), Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane, and Craven Cottage, home of Fulham FC. The stadiums in Manchester also attract a good number of foreigners, with Old Trafford – the football arena of Manchester United – drawing significantly more visitors than Etihad Stadium, the haven of rival Manchester City’ Anfield, home of Liverpool, is in third place, with 99,000 visitors.