Event Tourism Football Temples | Sport event tourism refers to those travelers visiting a location mainly to watch a sport event. The two events that attract the most tourists worldwide are the Olympics followed by the FIFA World Cup. But since both events only take place every four years, we have to look elsewhere to find the top 5 magnets for sport event tourists.
Sorry to all the NBA, NFL or Cricket arenas, but football is clearly leading the way here. League matches in England, Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Italy and Spain mobilize the biggest crowds. Die-hard fans travel long distances to see their favorite team loose on road games. If a football crazy city has nothing else to offer but a football stadium, it might even be listed at LonelyPlanet.com just for sports. Best examples are the cities of Manchester and Dortmund …
Event Tourism Football Temples
The largest city of Germany’s Ruhrgebiet is a perfect example for being listed at LonelyPlanet.com as sports crazy. Dortmund was built on coal, steel and beer. But today coal mines are closed and steel mills are quiet. Only the breweries are going as strong as ever. There is no reason on earth to visit Dortmund, except you are the proud owner of a ticket for a home match of the BVB.
All 81,000 seats in the Westfalen Stadion are always sold out long in advance. Your only chance to access the arena is by ordering an away-fan-seat via online ticket services of opponent teams. When visiting this Western German fortress, the word “Intimidating” fails to have a better synonym. Borussia Dortmund usually plays 17 league matches plus another 8 to 12 national and international cup matches on their home turf. Each time approx. 3,000 fans from opposing teams enjoy the monumental atmosphere in the Westfalen Stadium with goose bumps all over their bodies. The away section is housed within the central column of the ‘Nord Tribune’. Which means: away supporters aren’t confined to the corner as they so often are in football stadiums across Europe. Once you’ve had a glimpse of the famous ‘Yellow Wall’ you will be feeling very angry your club’s stadium hasn’t got anything like it. The noise level coming from the Yellow Wall will not stop letting you shiver.
In a 2009 article the Times hailed Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalen Stadium as the world’s best football arena. With every passing season, there’s been a growing consensus that this article might have been very much correct. The atmosphere is simply incredible. But other factors make it worth coming to Dortmunds football temple: terracing, availability of beer, moderate ticket prices, emphasis on putting the fans first. Sorry Premier League, you just lost.
Dortmund, Westfalen-Stadion capacity: 81.359 Sport event tourists from the opposing team per game: 3,000
On Premier League nights ManU grants up to 7,000 ticket to away fans. That’s by far the highest number we came across. For all other matches opposing teams settle with a max. 4,000 available seats. At Old Trafford Manchester United plays one to two games per season against rival Manchester City. Those road fans don’t count, because they are not tourists. That cuts the average a bit and makes the stadium loose to Dortmund. Also for almost a decade ManU dropped out of international competitions earlier than the BVB. That only changed in 2017.
Manchester, Old Trafford capacity: 75,811 Sport event tourists from the opposing team per game: 4,000
One might think that Camp Nou in Barcelona gets the most sport event tourists flocking into the arena, simply because it’s the largest football arena in Europe, and C.F. Barcelona is freaking popular. Barca plays 18 league matches plus another 10 to 14 national and international cup matches on their home turf. Again that has the potential to top Dortmund numbers. But owning a stadium with a larger capacity (99,354) and playing so many games per year does not give Barcelona the edge. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, for football fans in Spain it is generally not so common to visit road games. Barca barely counts 2,000 sport event tourists per game. Luckily there are enough other reasons to come to Barcelona.
Barcelona, Camp Nou capacity: 99,354 Sport event tourists from the opposing team per game: 1,600
Stadio Bernabeu has a max. capacity of 81,000. That’s around about 18,000 behind Camp Nou. And usually there are also no more than 1,500 away-fan-tickets sold per game. Away fans are confined to a small section of seating within the fourth tier of the north-east corner of the stadium. Your can also call this “discrimination”. We are fine with it. At least for Champions League matches the size of the away section gets increased to 3,800 tickets.
Madrid, Bernabeu capacity: 81,044 Sport event tourists from the opposing team per game: 1,500
Like Camp Nou and Bernabeu, San Siro looses a bit of sport-event-tourism-power simply due to the fact that one to two games per season need to be played against local rivals. Barca plays Espanol, Real plays Atletico, ManU plays ManCity, and AC Milan faces Inter Milan. In addition San Siro is no longer sold out nowadays. Still numbers of sport event tourists are impressive enough to settle this football playground at #4. Comes a Champions League match, AC Milan turns out to be very generous, reserving up to 5,200 tickets to away fans.
Milan, San Siro capacity: 81,277 Sport event tourists from the opposing team per game: 2,100