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Is International Soccer a Barometer for Post-Pandemic Sports Travel?
The enduring popularity of soccer around the globe will always exist.
But as international sports’ biggest tourist attraction draws near later this year with the quadrennial FIFA World Cup Tournament, a new study finds that ticket prices in some of the top soccer leagues around the world have increased – a potential barometer of what post-pandemic sports travel will be like as franchises scramble from two years of either inactivity or reduced fan capacity.
Amsterdam, Netherlands-based BudgetAir.com, an online international travel specialist, released a study that reveals the price of watching soccer in stadiums in different countries around the world. The study analyzed and compared current ticket prices, the overall market value of players in each league, the quality of each league and the average number of goals scored per game to give a comprehensive assessment of the price of watching soccer and the entertainment value fans get in different leagues worldwide.
“We wanted the study to capture the current ticket market in each country and expose some of the challenges soccer fans are facing when sourcing tickets during the pandemic,” Steffen Boon, Global Marketing Director at Travix, said in a statement. Travix helped conduct the study. “In some leagues, high demand means all official tickets are bought by paying club members, especially for premium matches between the best teams and particularly at the moment, when there is reduced supply due to partial stadium closures in some countries.”
What the study found is that ticket prices going forward won’t be nearly as inexpensive as they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that began in early 2020.
As international border restrictions are starting to be relaxed, the BudgetAir.com study collected the ticket prices from official purchasing outlets and the secondary market – where tourists and travelers often must buy them – and created an average deviation from the dataset median to compare the cost of tickets in each league.
Not surprisingly, the most expensive ticket price found in 28 leagues surveyed across the world was in the English Premier League, considered the best league in the world although the Bundesliga in Germany and Serie A in Italy will argue that.
Nonetheless, the study found that the average ticket cost for an English Premier League (EPL) game was a whopping 332.90 percent above the average median cost.
What was somewhat surprising, however, was the league with the next-highest price. A ticket for a Major League Soccer (MLS) match in the United States – not a league that is considered on par with the EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A, LaLiga in Spain or Ligue1 in France – is 278.29 percent above median.
In fact, the study found that the MLS only had the 15th best cost vs. quality of league/players score, an assessment of the value for money that fans receive, but still had the second-highest overall ticket increase price.
MLS was followed by LaLiga, Bundesliga, Ligue1, Serie A, Primeira Liga in Portugal and Eredivisie in the Netherlands in terms of cost per ticket above the dataset media.
“For visiting tourists wanting to watch a match, this means they must instead use ticket reseller websites where they often encounter vastly inflated prices,” Boon said.
The Qatar Stars League has the cheapest tickets, ahead of the Chilean Primera División and Paraguayan Primera Division.
Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup in November and December.