May 23, 2012
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"Fans Without Borders" or the new football fans

May 23, 2012

While the Champions League ended on May 19 with a Chelsea win, a study at the European Business School (EBS) commissioned by MasterCard, official sponsor of the football competition, reveals that 35 billion euros are spent each year by the "Fans Without Borders", a rising class of football fans who support foreign clubs.

The expenditures are distributed as follows: approximately 7.5 billion euros for subscriptions to Pay TV, 4.5 billion euros for derivative products, and 3.5 billion euros for the purchase of tickets. These would ultimately pay for the construction of 100 football stadiums like the Fußball Arena in Munich (which hosted the final of the UEFA Champions League, ed.), the study said.

"The increasing mobility, supported by international travel which has become both easier and less expensive, means that foreign clubs are no longer out of reach. Moreover, new forms of media have allowed fans to easily access information about their favorite club and get in touch with other fans abroad, which means that Fans Without Borders feel more involved in their clubs," said Professor Sascha Schmidt, the author of the study.

One in four European football fans (41 million) would thus be a "Fan Without Borders" with the top clubs being favorites such as FC Barcelona (29%), Real Madrid (10%) and Manchester United (8%). The study also shows that it is France which has the largest number of football fans, and that the French travel the least during the weekend to a city abroad to attend a game of their favorite club.

Still, one in four fans will attend games abroad, which has a positive impact on tourism, accounting for a profit of around 4.5 billion euros per season for cities that host "Fans Without Borders" during games.

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