3 in 4 S'pore football fans plan holidays around games

Of 500 Singapore football fans surveyed, 76 per cent have planned holidays around sporting events, and nearly half (46 per cent) admitted to changing travel plans to ensure that they do not miss a match.

Some 94 per cent have travelled overseas to watch football, visiting an average of 2.7 countries per person, research commissioned by Expedia Group has shown.

Just for the Beautiful Game, some local supporters were willing to go as far as to lie to their other half, with 47 per cent of respondents admitting they had pretended to book a romantic break but intended to watch a football game instead.

Additionally, 28 per cent said they would miss a birthday to watch a match and 21 per cent would skip someone's wedding.

Travel group Expedia said yesterday that flight and accommodation bookings can increase by up to three times on the day of a football fixture announcement.

Searches for destinations also tend to grow in the lead-up to a football event, as seen from the 30 per cent increase in searches for Madrid in the lead-up to this year's Champions League final on June 1.

More than three in five (63 per cent) Singapore fans travelled overseas to watch one to three matches per season. Close to one in five (17 per cent) would travel more than 11 hours to watch their favourite teams up close.

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    Flight and accommodation bookings can increase by up to three times on the day of a football fixture announcement.

Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium topped the list of most desired destinations to watch live football, as voted for by nearly a third (29 per cent) of Singapore fans. This was followed by Liverpool's Anfield (20 per cent), and London's Wembley Stadium (14 per cent) in third place.

"When it comes to booking, the rule of thumb is to book as early as possible. Football breeds some of the most passionate fans, hence the closer you get to the date of live action, there's a higher likelihood you will have less choices and end up paying higher prices," said Lavinia Rajaram, Brand Expedia's head of communications, Asia-Pacific.

"As a general guide, travellers should book their flights at least three weeks ahead, and book on a Sunday to maximise savings. For hotels, booking on a Friday night is your best bet."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline '3 in 4 S'pore football fans plan holidays around games'. Print Edition | Subscribe