Thousands flock to London for Champions League

28th May 2011

Barcelona has beaten Manchester United 3 – 1 in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium, which drew tens of thousands of supporters to London in what has been described as the most watched football game ever.

The Catalan team confirmed their place in football’s hall of fame as they claimed their second Champions League crown in three years.

Goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa secured their victory for Barcelona. England international Wayne Rooney scored an equaliser in the first half of the game.

The game, billed as the biggest sporting event in the UK until the London 2012 Olympics, was viewed by an estimated 300 million people worldwide, as the world’s two most valuable clubs came head to head.

Each club has 25,000 supporters with match tickets, although an estimated 110,000 football fans travelled to London for the final, according to reports.


Thousands of Barca fans travelled from Spain to see the game and many fans acquired last minute tickets outside the stadium.

A Manchester United supporter, explained: “I would have travelled to the other side of the world just to savour the atmosphere.”

According to one recent report that was released by Mastercard, the game may have generated a record cumulative economic windfall of €369m.

Manchester United’s takings will be a combination of official prize money, a boost for the club’s brand, enhanced media rights and an increase in the value of the squad according to the study commissioned by MasterCard. Meanwhile Barcelona may have benefited from an estimated £63million.

The final was worth £45million to the host city London, which was voted “World’s Leading Destination” at 2010 World Travel Awards. An estimated 110,000 supporters of both teams and other sports fans flocked to the capital.

The long-term economic benefits to London include increased tourism; civic sponsorship and a greater likelihood of hosting future sporting mega-events. In the short term, London’s pubs, restaurants and hotels reached full capacity as fans found suitable venues to watch the game.

Professor Chadwick, who is the director of the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University, added: “The staging of the UEFA Champions League final in London this year will further bolster London’s reputation as one of the world’s most sporting cities.”

”London’s sport economy has grown rapidly in recent years and we estimate that by the end of the decade sport related economic activity may be worth up to €3.5bn.”

The game also represents an excellent promotional opportunity for its sponsor, Turkish Airlines, voted “Europe’s Leading Airline” by World Travel Awards, following a year in which it grew market share and continued to upgrade its fleet despite a backdrop of one of the harshest downturns in aviation history.

Sport Tourism – a booming industry
Sport Tourism is travel industry’s fastest growing sector, and contributed an astonishing 14 percent of overall travel and tourism receipts in 2010, according to WSDE Sport Tourism Expo, the only global exhibition and business forum dedicated to showcasing the full spectrum of Sport Tourism related products and services.

At a time when some traditional tourism trends are in decline, Sport Tourism continues to flourish and is set to grow exponentially in the next decade.

(WSDE Sport Tourism Expo - the ultimate forum for everything sport tourism)

Yet the complex mechanics of Sport Tourism have not yet been fully understood or realised.  The annual WSDE Sport Tourism Expo aims to present the future business deals and source new contacts and markets, but also to gain invaluable insights from the advanced knowledge of market leaders.

Now in its second year, WDSE Sport Tourism Expo will take place in Bangkok, Thailand - Asia’s Sport Tourism Gateway - from 27-29 September 2011. FInd out about Bangkok at

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