1)     UEFA Champions League grew continually

  • Over the last 20 years the number of teams participating in UEFA Champions League increased from 36 to 76
  • Number of games played increased from 81 to 215
  • The average number of spectators per game rose from 24,000 to 42,000
  • UEFA Champions League has developed into one of the largest live TV sports events globally

2)     Mega-trends support new breed of fans across Europe: Fans Without Borders

  • Increasing mobility supported by easier, cheaper international travel and an increasingly diverse society
  • New media channels enabled easier access to club information, and greater interaction with fans abroad
  • Global players with celebrity status transcended languages or borders

 3)     25% of European football fans follow a team outside of their home country

  • One out of four European football fans belongs to the Fans Without Borders group and follow a foreign football club

Fact box: Top 5 clubs of Fans Without Borders

Question: Are you a fan of/interested in a particular foreign football club?

  1.  FC Barcelona (29%)
  2. Real Madrid CF (10%)
  3. Manchester United FC (8%)
  4. Chelsea FC (5%)
  5. Liverpool FC (5%)



 1)     Most Fans Without Borders are “highlight fans”, minority are Regional Affinity or Star Followers

  • 60% of Fans Without Borders are highlight fans, following their favorite club abroad which they feel play the most attractive and successful football
  • 12% of Fans Without Borders are regional affinity fans who have a link to the region of the club
  • 11% are star followers following a prominent player/coach


1)     Fans Without Borders spend ca. €35bn/season to follow their favorite club abroad

  • €860/season (€72/month) on their favorite club abroad. Assuming that there are 41m Fans Without Borders, annual average spending sums up to €35bn/season

2)     Fans Without Borders spend c.a €7.5bn/season on Pay-TV to follow their favorite clubs abroad

  • Pay-TV expenses are followed by merchandizing, betting, accommodation and travel expenses for their favorite clubs abroad

Fact box: Split of Fans Without Borders season´s spending

Question: How much money do you normally spend on…?

  1. Pay-TV (21%)
  2. Merchandizing (13%)
  3. Betting (13%)
  4. Accommodation (13%)
  5. Travel (12%)
  6. Match attendance (10%)
  7. Consumption at stadium (7%)
  8. Visiting a pub/sportsbar (6%)
  9. Club-TV (5%)


 1)     Fans Without Borders explore cities they would not have considered without their favorite club

  • 30% of Fans Without Borders visit a city solely because of the resident football club or stadium
  • 1/5 of them combine match attendance with a short city break

2)     Every year, one out of four Fans Without Borders attend a home match of their favorite club abroad

  • They spend €4bn travelling to and from a game

3)     Hosting cities receive approx €4.5bn from Fans Without Borders attending live matches

  • Fans Without Borders spend a large share of their fan budget on accommodation within these cities
  • Another €2.5bn/season is spent on consumption within the stadiums

4)     Most football fans want to watch a UEFA Champions League game at Camp Nou, Barcelona

  • 1/5 football fans would like to watch a UEFA Champions League game at Camp Nou, Barcelona

Fact box: Top 5 stadiums

Question: In which stadium would you most like to watch an UEFA Champions League game?

  1. Camp Nou, Barcelona (19%)
  2. Fußball Arena München (11%)
  3. Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid (10%)
  4. Anfield, Liverpool (9%)
  5. Old Trafford, Manchester (7%)


1)     Germany

  • One in ten football fans want to visit the Fußball Arena München
  • Fans Without Borders differ in Germany from the rest of Europe; they are more likely to be younger, still studying or making their way to management positions
  • FC Real Madrid is the most popular club amongst German Fans Without Borders
  • German Fans Without Borders are most likely to combine a game with a short city break

2)     UK

  • 16% of football fans want to see a UEFA Champions League game at either Anfield or Old Trafford
    • FC Barcelona is the most popular club among UK Fans Without Borders
    • The UK has the highest share of Regional Affinity Fans
    • Manchester United FC, Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC are the most attractive UK teams to Fans Without Borders

3)     Spain

  • One in every five Spaniards is a Star Follower fan
  • 20% of football fans would like to watch a UEFA Champions League game at Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • One in ten football fans wants to visit the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid
  • Manchester United is the most popular club among Spanish Fans Without Borders

4)     France

  • France has the highest relative share of Fans Without Borders
  • FC Barcelona is the most popular club among French Fans Without Borders
  • French fans are least likely to combine a city break with a match at their favorite club

5)     Italy

  • FC Barcelona is the most popular club among Italian Fans Without Borders
  • 21% of Italians have visited a city solely because of its stadium/football club

Fact box: Top 5 priceless moments in UEFA Champions League history

Question: What was your favorite UEFA Champions League moment of all time?

  1.  Final 2005: The miracle of Istanbul – Jerzy Dudek’s reflex double (11%)
  2. Final 2002: Zidane’s volley against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (10%)
  3. Final 1999: Manchester United FC scoring two last-minute goals against FC Bayern München (10%)
  4. Final 2010: FC Internazionale Milano earning its third European Cup at Madrid (9%)
  5. Final 2001: FC Bayern München´s victory over Valencia CF in penalty shoot-out (5%)



Sascha Schmidt (41) is Professor at EBS University and Director of the Institute for Sports, Business & Society.




Note to Editors:

MasterCard is hosting a press conference with Professor S. Schmidt to reveal more about ‘Fans Without Borders’ and you are welcome to attend.

Date:                Friday 18th May 2012

Time:               12-1pm CET (Taxi’s will be provided to the FC Bayern München press conference)

Location:          Literaturhaus, Salvatorplatz 1, 80333 München, Foyer, 3rd Floor



About the Research

 The research results are based on an explorative study conducted by the Institute for Sports, Business & Society at European Business School (EBS) in Germany. Exploratory research is used in new areas such as Fans Without Borders where there are few or no earlier studies to refer to. The focus is on gaining insights and familiarity for further empirical investigation. Overall, 1246 people from a Eurosport panel covering the five European core markets France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK participated in the online survey. In addition, 25 qualitative interviews with members of foreign fan clubs and fan associations have been conducted over the last two months.


About MasterCard

 MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.




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