Almost six in 10 football fans like to explore a new town or city when visiting for a football match

By Richard Jenkins
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 10:49 am

New research of 2,000 football fans found that apart from watching football, hitting local bars and clubs is the top attraction of an away day, followed by seeing sights and sampling local cuisine.

One in four (26 per cent) like visiting museums, and 19 per cent enjoy taking selfies with locals like bus drivers and bakers.

Those who have travelled abroad to watch football have been to an average of three different locations following the game.

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Nearly one in 10 of these have even been away to as many as eight different foreign locations, for the love of the game.

And 57 per cent said travelling for football makes them feel more ‘cultured’ as they take in new sights and sounds from around the world.

Fans travel more in the name of football than on normal holidays

The study, commissioned by Expedia, also revealed that another quarter reckon they have travelled more in their lifetime so far in the name of football, than on ‘regular’ holidays.

Barcelona was deemed the most ideal city to go watch a football game, picked by 29 per cent – a long way ahead of rival Madrid, which was second with 19 per cent.

Rome was third on the list (18 per cent) followed by London (16 per cent) and Rio De Janeiro (14 per cent), according to the OnePoll figures.

Football fans are also desperate to attend a Champion’s League final, with a quarter willing to spend the last precious days of annual leave to attend one, and another 16 per cent up for pulling a sickie.

This comes as Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho will take four lucky fans on a guided tour of Paris ahead of the UEFA Champion’s League Final.

The superstar, who played in Paris between 2001-2003, will reveal his favourite spots in the city so they can take in some culture before the showpiece event at Saint-Denis's Stade de France on May 28.

Ronaldinho, famous for scoring a lobbed goal against England in a World Cup Quarter Final in 2002, will host the Route 10 Freestyle Tour, an open top bus tour for fans to see the famous monuments along the Seine and the Champs Elysée.

Ronaldinho's own tour

The tour will stop at Ronaldinho's favourite Parisian neighbourhood for a culinary treat and enjoy a hotel rooftop bar to take in the sights of the beautiful city – before enjoying the final itself.

Ronaldinho, 42, said: “During my career I have played in and visited many stunning cities, but Paris has a special place in my heart, it was my first European home.

“I am so excited to be partnering with Expedia for my Route 10 Freestyle Tour, so I can pass on my love and passion for the city and really make sure fans are making the most of their travels outside of the 90 minutes of football.”

Marwan Badran, Expedia’s spokesperson, said: “The pandemic left 44 per cent of fans feeling deprived of football, as they’d missed so many live matches over the past couple of years.

“Therefore, we’re not surprised fans are now making up for lost time and embracing football travel opportunities, exploring more, spending more, as they head back to stadiums around the world in their droves.

"We wanted to offer fans this money-can’t-buy experience with one of the world’s greatest ever players, Ronaldinho, so they can really enjoy the city and all it has to offer with our unique Route 10 Freestyle Tour."