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Sports Events 365 announces recommendations for sport tourists: Ways to combine the most interesting Champions League matches

Sefi Donner, Sports Events 365 CEO
The UEFA Champions League generates an estimated €237 million tourism and travel revenue from 778,700 travelers – 264,000 by plane, 272,500 by rail, and 241,400 by bus. The Champions League is now entering the group stage in Europe. Every year, including this year, Champions League matches attract large numbers of tourists from many countries, who invest time and money to watch live matches in the stadiums.

They are just one of the impetuses for the sharp growth projected for sport tourism, from a $1.41 trillion market in 2016 to a $5.72 trillion market in 2021, according to a study by Technavio in August 2017.

Most importantly, European and non-European sport tourists are looking to combine their trips to top touristic cities with interesting matches by leading clubs with the world’s top football stars, most of whom play in Europe.

To mark the opening of the group stage of the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues, Sports Events 365 (www.sportsevents365.com), a provider of tickets to sporting events worldwide, is offering recommendations for attractive combinations of top tourist cities and top-quality football matches held in proximity. The recommendations are meant to inspire avid football fans to a fuller experience by attending two matches or more in a very short trip.

The first matches offered by Sports Events 365 are part of the third round of the Champions League group stage in Spain and Portugal. Spain is the world’s third largest tourism market, with 75.3 million tourists in 2016 who spent €77 billion – 11% of the country’s GDP. Sports Events 365 advises the sport tourist to fly to Madrid to watch Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur match on October 17th, followed by a short trip to Barcelona to watch FC Barcelona vs. Olympiacos CFP on October 18th. An alternative to the match in Barcelona is a trip to Lisbon, in neighboring Portugal, to watch SL Benfica play Manchester United on October 18th.

Sports Events 365 notes an estimate by FC Barcelona, that an average of 10,000 of the 78,000 attendees of an average La Liga match are foreign tourists. Sports Events 365 estimates however, that the relative proportion of sport tourists is higher for Champions League matches. The away club supporters usually travel from another European country and are more enthusiastic in their wish to attend and cheer from the stands, than the average football tourist that attends a regular La Liga match.

Another attractive set of matches is to be found in the fourth round of the Champions League group stage. Fans of the Premier League are welcome to watch top EPL clubs at a fraction of the prices charged for matches in England. A quick trip to Italy to watch AS Roma vs. Chelsea FC on October 31st and a hop down to Naples the next day, November 1st, to watch SSC Napoli play against Manchester City will set you up nicely with top-of-the-chart clubs from both countries.

Alternatively, fans can choose to go to England and Scotland for the fourth round, where interesting matches await them as well. Glasgow boasts a very interesting match between Celtic FC and Bayern Munich on October 31st, or begin the trip in Manchester on October 31st with Manchester United and Portuguese SSC Benfica, at Old Trafford. Going to London the next day, on 1st of November, will ensure the continuous delightful experience with a match between Tottenham Hotspur and current Champions League Champion Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool fans may prefer to travel to nearby Liverpool on November 1st to watch their club play NK Maribor. Altogether, fans can choose from four attractive matches in two days.

The sixth Champions League round of matches features two attractive sets. Fans who will travel to Barcelona in early December can watch FC Barcelona play Sporting Club Portugal on December 5th. A short trip from Barcelona to Madrid will enable them to watch another top match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund on the next day, December 6th. All in all, a possible brief sun and football vacation for Northern Europe travelers.

Alternatively, by traveling to the UK fans of Russian and English clubs will enjoy a unique combination of fascinating matches between clubs from the two nations. Fans who will fly to Manchester, North England, in early December can watch Manchester United play CSKA Moskva at Old Trafford on the 5th, and then hop over the next day, the 6th, to Liverpool, where Liverpool FC will play against Spartak Moskva. Sport tourists who prefer London can go to the British capital to watch Chelsea FC play Atletico Madrid on December 5th, and the next day, 6th of December, watch Tottenham Hotspur play APOEL Nicosia from Cyprus.

“This year, both Champions and Europa Leagues offer sets of amazing matches in the group stage in attractive tourist destinations that are within an easy distance from each other,” says Sefi Donner, the founder and CEO of Sports Events 365. “People have realized that if there is a great match in Madrid and another excellent match in Lisbon on the next day, it is worth their while to make the most of the existing investment in the trip, make an easy jump between the cities and enjoy another match and a new and refreshing tourist destination. Moreover, such combinations are usually better priced than the alternative – to wait for the final stages where ticket price is much higher.”

Donner concluded, “The growth in ordering combinations around Champions League matches reflects a general trend. Sport tourism has entered the era of the independent tourist, who does not limit himself or herself to buying a pre-packed trip. Sports tourists in general, and young tourists, particularly, start by securing tickets in the Sports Events 365 site, and then continue by adding online services such as flights, hotels, and suitable transportation. This way they create their own personalized sports trip.

This trend has resulted in a dramatic surge in our sales in recent months. Travel agencies that wish to keep up with this trend, learn how to fulfill the clients’ demand for flexibility. Sports Events 365 cooperates with lots of bodies from the travel industry. We all enjoy the growth in demand for sport tourism. Smart travel bodies know what their clients are looking for and add their services, such as flights and hotels, to the match ticket of attractive sports events, such as these Champions League great combinations.”

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