Premier League offers huge UK tourism boost thanks to millions of overseas fans

It is only 38 days since Manchester City ’s Vincent Kompany lifted the Premier League trophy aloft.

Now fans know where the sides will be kicking off when the new season begins in early August.

The release of the Premier League fixtures is one of the most eagerly anticipated moments of the Summer for soccer-starved supporters.

Liverpool will kick things off, entertaining Premier-league new-boys Norwich City.

The reigning Champions will start with a trip to West Ham.

But it won’t only be domestic fans who now plotting their journeys across the country.

The Atlases will also be coming out.

An estimated one million overseas football fans will visit this year, underlining the fact, should anyone need reminding, that the Premier League is now one of the biggest global brands on the planet.

Liverpool’s success in the Champions League and Chelsea’s triumph in the Europa League has only reinforced that.

And it means the number of fans visiting from overseas is likely to break all records this Summer.

The last time official data was released on the number of foreign-based fans attending matches was 2014.

That data, released by Visit England , showed a staggering 900,000 fans attended matches – up by 50,000 in 2010. It’s therefore likely the number will top one million this season.

The 900,000 fans attending matches brought in £684m in cash for the clubs and for the towns and cities they are based in.

According to the data most fans came from the Republic of Ireland (121,000), with Norway (93,000), Sweden (58,000) and the United States (53,000) next.

Old Trafford and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium were the most popular venues, both receiving 109,000 visits each.

The Norwegian branch of the Liverpool Supporters’ Club estimates that for big games, up to 1,500 Norwegians descend on Anfield.

I saw this for myself last season during one visit to Anfield when Liverpool beat Bournemouth 3-0.

As a guest of Thomas Cook sport I spoke to many Liverpool supporters before and after the game who’d flown in for the match.

They stood beside us in the club’s Beat Lounge where we got a free pint and could buy a pre-match bite to eat from an internationally diverse menu. Ticket holders also got to meet club legend Terry McDermott who did a Q and A before the match.

At half time there was a free cuppa for those who didn’t want a beer .

In the area I was sitting I spoke to supporters who’d flown in from as far away as America and China.

Hundreds of German fans had descended on Anfield too via package footy deals.

But it was Norway who easily boasted the most foreign fans at the game.

"This feels like a very different period for the club," one of the matchday stewards said to me that day.

"I’ve worked here for more than 20 years and, of course, we’ve always been packed to the rafters on home matches. But there’s no doubt since the new manager arrived we’ve seen a lot more overseas fans. The football club is embracing that and its great to see.”

After the final whistle fans could stay around to pick apart the performance by enjoying a beer.

Most though, I noticed, headed to the club’s superstore and the snaking queue there told its own story.

On the way back to the city centre a cab driver told me he had two bookings later that day…to take fans from the ground back to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

"It’s the same fellas," he said. "They fly in twice a month from Norway for home games, land on the Saturday morning then return after the match.

"One of them has to choice,” he added “He works Sunday morning."

That won’t stop him and others returning from all corners of the globe when the new season kicks off. The fixture list is out. And the race is already on for a ticket to the biggest show in town.

Roll on August.

Book the holiday

Thomas Cook Sport offers official hotel and ticket packages for Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

The leading sports travel gives supporters the chance to secure their seat for early season fixtures before any other official ticket provider, soon after the fixture announcement and ahead of the clubs going on general sale. Meaning it’s the very first place you can officially secure your seat for any home game throughout the season without buying a season ticket.

Packages include a hotel and ticket, with added extras such as the Anfield Beat Lounge available for some clubs. The Anfield Beat Lounge gives fans access before and after the game to an informal hospitality suite with live music and a legend appearance.

For more information or to secure your seat, visit .

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