2020 is set to be an exciting sporting year. With UEFA EURO 2020 taking place across 12 European cities, and with other international sporting spectacles taking place in Japan and Australia through the year, fans are already gearing up to travel and watch their favourite teams and athletes compete on the global stage.
As excitement builds, Booking.com, the official Accommodation and Attractions Booking Partner of UEFA EURO 2020™, reveals which nationalities have the most optimistic sports fans, how far they would go to make sure they can travel to watch their team’s big moment live, how this influences their travel behaviours and what matters to them most when selecting their home away from home for these momentous occasions. Working with football legend and UEFA EURO 2008™ champion David Villa as the brand’s latest ambassador, Booking.com also shares unique insights into what the fans’ dedication and never-ending optimism means when competing on the big stage.
UEFA EURO 2008 Champion and Booking.com Global Ambassador, David Villa, explains: “Our fans’ support during the UEFA EURO 2008™Final was indescribable and their unshakable optimism definitely carried our team to victory that year. And knowing that your fans will support you through thick and thin and that they are willing to dedicate time and money to travel to watch us play in some of the best stadiums in the world is truly inspiring. It is what motivates you to always give your best – on and off the pitch.”
Global sports fans look ahead to 2020 with great expectations
One in five (19%) of global sports fans believe that they will see their national team or player win an international tournament within the next year. The expectation level is therefore huge within fan sets as they prepare for tournament after tournament in 2020.
Colombian cycling fans are the most optimistic fans across the 29 markets surveyed with 63% stating that they think they’ll see their national riders bring home some big wins in 2020, followed by rugby fans from New Zealand (63%) and Spanish football fans with 59% declaring that they expect their team to go all the way in an upcoming tournament.
Despite the Netherlands reaching the UEFA Nations League Final and topping their UEFA EURO 2020™ qualification group, Dutch football fans don’t share the same level of optimism as their Spanish counterparts; just 17% believe their team can go on to win in 2020, making them the least optimistic fans surveyed.
Dedicated fans will cancel anything to ensure they can travel to watch their team
A combination of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and dedication to travelling and showing their support in the stadium results in unwavering commitment as nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of Aussie sport fans admit they would happily cancel their honeymoon if it meant they could travel to watch their team live in a big game.
Indian cricket fans (41%), Chinese basketball fans (41%) and football fans in Thailand (32%) top the rankings when admitting to being happy to cancel their romantic trip.
Similarly, nearly 1 in 5 (18%) Australian sports fans confess that they would even quit their job if it meant they could watch their team compete in a major final. This number increases further among 18 to 34-year-old global sports fans to 26%.
From the Latin American markets surveyed, Brazilian football fans (21%) are more likely to quit their jobs to follow their team to a major international final versus Argentinean (18%), Mexican (18%) and Colombian (15%) football fans.
Belgian football fans are the least likely football fans set to risk it all and cut loose from their current employers in order to travel and watch their team win a major international final, with only 7% admitting that they would be willing to do so.
Travel planning for the big match
Travelling to see their team live in action is a clear priority for many Aussie sports fans, with a whopping 93% confirming they have completed between one to five trips in the last year alone and almost half (47%) having travelled both internationally and domestically to watch their team or player. The sports that get most fans on the road are football – with 69% of global sports fans having travelled to watch a game live outside of where they live – basketball (20%) and tennis (17%) make up the top three most travelled for sports.
Once they know which games they will be travelling to, Aussie fans start looking for the perfect place to stay. Topping the list of considerations when looking for the perfect place to stay are affordability (79%) and location (73%) in relation to the stadium or venue, while one in two (46%) look for accommodations that have a spa or hot tub to relax in post-match.
Yet, despite affordability being important for Aussie sports fans, 31% happily admit that they would be willing to pay more for sports travel than their family holiday. Cricket fans (39%), swimming fans (38%) and e-sports fans (38%) are most likely to spend more on their travel to watch their respective sports
Showing support on match day
Almost a quarter (24%) of Aussie sports fans wear lucky charms when attending a game, while 13% have developed a superstitious routine that they always perform before or during a game to ensure their team wins.
Aside from having rituals, 74% of Australian sport fans say they would never leave a match early, regardless of whether they thought their team was going to lose. 44% stay out of respect for the team or players, whereas 26% stay because they will not give up hope that their team or player can still come back and turn the game around.
Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com, said: “With the football-fuelled excitement of the UEFA EURO 2020™ tournament set to sweep across Europe and beyond, as well as other major international cricket and athletics extravaganzas coming up in Asia, 2020 will definitely be an unforgettable year for sports. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, we know that finding the right place to stay – no matter what the occasion may be – is key to getting the most out of every trip. We’re excited to help bring fans the best experience through our partnership with UEFA, easily booking their ideal accommodation base as well as great things to do in each host city.”