The Football and Society Podcast

A scarf of two halves: the growth of tourism in the Premier League

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Episode notes

In this episode, we’re looking at the growth of ‘football tourism’ in the English Premier League.

Between 2008 and 2017, companies in the tourism sector became the number one investors in sponsorship spending in the English, Italian, Spanish, and German top divisions. This rising interest among such companies, and the consequences for the matchday experience in the English Premier League, was the primary focus of an article exploring the rise of so-called ‘football tourism’ in the UK.

While many studies have focussed on the growing financial investment in football over the past three decades, few have looked at the growth of football tourism and the increasing interest from the tourism sector in providing holiday packages centred around a football experience. In an article published in the Soccer and Society journal earlier this year, Felipe Tobar and Gregory Ramshaw found that football tourism is a key part of attracting overseas markets and thereby contributing to the UK economy. The agency VisitBritain, for example, now has a dedicated EPL section on its website, where visitors from 58 countries can buy tickets for matches and stadium tours. However, the article also highlights allegations of gentrification within football stadiums, with some local supporters claiming they are less valued by their clubs than visitors coming from overseas to sample the matchday experience. The authors argue that the burgeoning phenomenon of football tourism merits greater attention, in particular the threats it may pose to the cultural preservation of clubs’ local character.

Today we explore:

  • To what extent is a rise in tourists altering the character of English clubs?
  • How has Visit Britain played a pivotal role in the touristification of the Premier League?
  • Are other leagues experiencing the same rise in tourism, and may there be a backlash?

...all this and more in our latest episode


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