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Fan Experience

Sports fans set out wishlist for ‘matchday of the future’

Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany

Featured image credit: Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash

Live music at breaks/half-time, better facilities for disabled fans and earpieces to hear live manager/player communication are the top three enhancements sought for the ‘matchday of the future’ by European sports fans, according to study from Mastercard.

The Mastercard Sport Economy Index 2023, the second edition of the report, reveals that more people attended live sporting events (+12%) in 2022 than they did in 2021, while analysis from the payments technology company’s Economics Institute shows that consumer card spending on sporting goods, services and experiences was up 37% year-on-year.

Over half (54%) of Europeans attended live events in 2022, with football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and cycling the most popular sporting attractions. The return of full stadiums and venues had a significant positive impact on fan satisfaction, with six in 10 fans saying that their experience attending events in 2022 was better than it was in 2021.

However, when asked how things could improve for the ‘matchday of the future’, Europe’s top 10 answers were:

  1. Live music at breaks/half-time
  2. Better facilities for disabled fans
  3. Earpieces to hear live manager/player communication
  4. VR experiences to show the ‘player’s view’
  5. In-game supporter engagement (man of the match voting or kiss-cam)
  6. Retail outlets for matchday shopping
  7. Bottomless brunch before the match
  8. TV screens on back of seats to watch other entertainment
  9. Spa facilities with a pitch view
  10. Themed fancy dress match days for fans in the crowd 

Finally, Europe’s passion for sport looks set to encourage more jet-setting in 2023. One third of respondents said they plan on travelling abroad to watch a live sporting event this year.

The research was conducted by Ketchum Research & Analytics on behalf of Mastercard. A total of 11,081 people, aged 18-plus, were surveyed across Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK in November.