The Rise of Sport Tourism

Love sports? You’re not alone: research in 2022 found that 57% of people in the UK watch sports each month, or around 38 million people! Indeed, around the world a massive number of people are sports fans, with football alone drawing in audiences of 3.5 billion!

With massive numbers of fans like these, it’s no surprise that fans are taking that passion beyond the pitch or screen and combining it with tourism too. In this guide, we’ll examine the phenomenon across the Premier League, major global sports, and women’s football.

The Rise of Sport Tourism

How the Premier League is Attracting Foreign Visitors

The Premier League has a global fanbase thanks to partnerships with big brands around the world, as well as TV networks in countless countries. The fact that the international competition spans the entirety of Europe also helps bring in tourist visitors too.

What’s more, Premier League teams like Manchester United and Liverpool FC also sell their home kits to fans all around the world, boosting their brand recognition and fanbase. That drums up hype even further, bolstering the number of visitors who decide to put a cherry on the top of their trip to the UK with a visit to their favourite ground.

The Appeal of Major Global Sports Events

Global sporting events like the World Cup and Olympics have always drawn in armies of fans as countries duke it out for the top spot. The ability for international sport to bring together fans of all colours and sports under a single banner is absolutely unparalleled, and the arenas in which these countries do battle retain their fame for decades after the fact.

The locations where major sports events like the Olympics and F1 are hosted can also be a significant draw for overseas visitors, in many cases adding a true shot to the arm for the local economies they’re based in. That’s why the bidding processes for these competitions are so fierce: there are literally billions of dollars at stake!

The Rise of Sport Tourism

The Role of Women’s Football

Recently, women’s football has finally garnered the attention, respect, and fanbase it deserves.

The growth in crowds for the game has been so stratospheric that FIFA has labelled it as ‘unlike any sport’. Steadily increasing for years, the UEFA European Women’s Championship that took place in England in 2022 saw a huge increase in support for the game, both in the UK and around the world, as the sport’s spiritual home got 110% behind the women’s game. This boost was helped by around £3 million in funding by the UK Premier League which ended up boosting attendance by a whopping 200%! All this extra hype has naturally spread abroad, drawing in international tourists and spurring fans to head abroad and support their squads.

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