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BREXIT and Traveling Fans

25 July 2016

Our friends from Homefans delivered a thorough preliminary analysis on the impact of Brexit in football traveling between the UK and the EU.

Do you remember when you got together with your mates in a pub, and out of the blue you planned to go to Germany during the weekend to experience the great atmosphere? You just had to search for a cheap flight on Ryanair, look up for tickets, grab your passport and head to the airport.  Well, it probably won’t be as easy or cheap as it was before!

There are two key aspects to take into consideration as football fans. We asked for our members opinions regarding the BREXIT and wanted to share their thoughts:

Freedom of Movement

Many media outlets stated that freedom of movement would clearly affect the Premier League in a BREXIT scenario. Due to strict work permit regulation, stars like Kanté, Payet or Martial couldn’t have joined their respective clubs, hadn’t the United Kingdom been part of the EU. It would imply higher price tags for talented players in the market, and with added restrictions. Or it could mean that La Liga or the Bundesliga would attract that talent. Would that bring consequences to the fans in ticket prices and other derived costs? It is uncertain.

But clearly, whatever the outcome, there would be an impact on the amount of football fans traveling between the EU and Britain.  According to Visit Britain, around 800,000 fans came to the UK to watch football during the 2014-15 season, a 15% increase compared to the previous season.

Visiting the most powerful League in the world, and the attractiveness of a global brand with world-class, stars and great stadiums was the perfect incentive. However, if it is harder for the clubs to get the best players and additional mobility restrictions arise for EU nationals to enter Britain, perhaps the amount of travellers could become stagnant or even decrease.

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Credits: Visit Britain

Considering in a scenario where the EU introduces new mobility restrictions, it would likely affect the number of travellers.  A study undergone by OneFootball and GoEuro, accounted a total of 778,700 away fans’ journeys in the Champions League alone. Although the figure for travellers from/to Britain was not disclosed, given the importance of the Premier League in the tournament, one could argue it will impact the fans’ mobility.

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Fans’ Views
The traveling fans’ community has mixed feelings on this subject. Some believe there will be changes; others believe it will stay the same for a while. Since it is too soon to come up with conclusions, one could argue that uncertainty and expectation are the common rule. Some of their appreciations:

“ It is unlikely there will be any change within the next 2 years or so other than currency fluctuation”

“There will probably be an international visa and that’s it”

“Don’t think visa requirements will change. Will probably be the same as for Switzerland or Norway (no visa required)”

Cost of Traveling

Football has unfortunately become an expensive sport due to its popularity and the new business model that rules the beautiful game. With a huge impact on the fans’ finances, the BREXIT scenario could possibly make it harder for fans.

Figures by Visit Britain estimated that the average total spent by an overseas fan on a match day was £855, considerably higher than those who chose not to watch football at £628. A number worth analysing, considering how much you would get with that money (how many pints?, a nice weekend in sunny Spain?).

Based on financial predictions, BREXIT would impact heavily on the stock and currency markets. With the Sterling dropping in historic levels since the 80’s, it would make it cheaper for the fans to come to watch football to Britain and prices would hike for Brits if they’d like to watch some football across the English borders. And if you consider a potential added cost of visas, it could discourage the mobility of fans. Whether the Sterling and the market stabilizes in the medium term, is something yet to disclose.

Income-CL-e1466780062195

Fans’ Views
Fans have expressed a more aligned opinion regarding the cost of traveling. Most of them, if not all, agree prices would go up following this decision. Visa costs and hidden costs that didn’t exist before BREXIT would come up. Some of the views of the community are listed as follows:

“Euro trips will be costing a fair bit more this coming season, but everything else will remain the same”

“The most important change … cheap duty-free beer and cigarettes are back !!”

“There will not be much direct change, other than it will be more expensive as the Pound is worth less now”

“Add a £100 on to each visit”

What to do next?

Uncertainty reigns today. Even though the British national teams remained in the Euros, BREXIT is a reality now. For us, the fans, loyalty for the Beautiful Game won’t change. It goes beyond political and economic beliefs; it’s something stuck in our DNA. Nonetheless, the current situation is highly relevant for mobility or economic reasons around travelling to watch the beautiful game.

Then, what would be the best advice to be one step ahead? Quite simple: trust like-minded fans and help each other to make the football experience more enjoyable and affordable. In a world without barriers, allegedly, the key is to access trusted information. By tapping into local knowledge, traveling fans plan their trip better and have unforgettable football memories.  And free of charge!