From the NFL Super Bowl and rugby union’s Six Nations to Uefa Euro 2024 and, of course, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the new year’s sporting schedule is packed full of major events that will attract international interest.
These sporting spectacles will fuel a growing trend among fans who have an ever-greater hunger to explore new experiences further afield – and secondary ticketing platforms like viagogo are helping to satisfy this insatiable appetite.
Indeed, our cumulative international sales data for 2023 showed a 41-per-cent year-on-year increase among British people purchasing tickets for events overseas.
The quadrennial Rugby and Cricket World Cups, in France and India respectively, proved a big hit for UK fans as the tournaments were the top two most in-demand events abroad. However, the global sporting calendar also featured numerous other crowd-pulling occasions.
Although Red Bull dominated the 2023 Formula One World Championship with 21 race wins from a possible 22, it did little to dent the sport’s growing popularity. Our global sales data shows that half of the top 10 non-UK sport events based on purchases by UK residents were F1 Grands Prix in the UAE, Italy, United States Monaco, and the Netherlands.
The Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi was also a sought-after destination for mixed martial arts enthusiasts, with UFC 294 proved to be the seventh-most popular foreign event for British ticket-buyers.
Top 10 Overseas Events for UK Buyers in 2023
- Rugby World Cup (France)
- Cricket World Cup (India)
- Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Frankfurt, Germany)
- Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (UAE)
- Formula 1 Monza Grand Prix (Italy)
- Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix (USA)
- UFC 294 (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
- 2023 Ryder Cup (Rome, Italy)
- Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix (Monaco)
- Formula 1 Zandvoort Grand Prix (Netherlands)
Our figures show the ever-growing popularity of these sporting escapades which we don’t anticipate slowing down any time soon.
Indeed, one of our top predicted trends for 2024 is that this globalisation will continue – and it’s not just British fans who have caught the travel bug. In fact, viagogo’s international business shows that 50% of non-UK fans are prepared to travel to sporting spectacles.
The ticket marketplace that viagogo operates in is hugely important for fans who want more options and a safe route to securing their places at the hottest events. But it’s not just fans who reap the rewards. For rights holders, travelling fans provide significantly more value than locals in terms of their propensity to spend money on merchandise, food and drink.
This has real bottom-line consequences. More event organisers are discovering that if fans are prepared to travel, they should cater as much as possible to those from abroad in order to maximise revenues. We can help accommodate this trend by providing a simple resale solution for fans in their local language, offering 33 at present, and in 49 different currencies to ensure the ticket-purchasing process is easy and efficient.
It is worth noting the comments of Professor Rob Wilson, a sports business expert at Sheffield Hallam University, who underlines the implications of an increasingly globalised live events industry.
“With fans now prepared to travel long distances to see their heroes and favourite teams perform, there is a big opportunity for sports organisations and rights holders to cater more specifically for international fanbases, who are typically amongst the most valuable in terms of at-event expenditure,” he said.
We agree with this perspective, and the coming year represents an unmissable chance for fans and organisers given the plethora of mega-events on the horizon.
Alongside the globalisation of live sport, and the increasing willingness of fans to travel, we believe that sustainability and the role of technology in the fan experience are the two other key trends that will underpin the industry’s evolution in 2024.
From a sustainability standpoint, there are signs that the live event ecosystem – including the venues themselves – is increasingly fuelling its own growth by embracing a year-round business model. This is transforming the long-term financial sustainability of proactive players in the sector.
For example, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is widely considered to be a benchmark-setter in Europe. From the outset, it was designed to be a multi-purposes venue; and since its opening nearly five years ago, it has certainly lived up to that promise.
From big-ticket boxing to Beyoncé to the Buffalo Bills and the fanfare that arrives with the annual NFL London Games, it is a stadium that has immense pulling power, driving visitors to the area on a year-round basis and generating an estimated £300m (€349m/$382m) annually for the local economy.
Both of the NFL London Games that took place at the stadium last year featured in the top 10 most in-demand UK sporting experiences on our platform.
Therefore, venues such as this, which has a capacity of well over 60,000 – as well as the nearby 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium, which hosted the NFL’s other London-based game last year – give event promoters and organisers the opportunity to stage spectacles in front of big crowds. As a result, we believe this helps to balance touring costs for artists and ticket prices for fans, and the accessibility to tickets provided by secondary platforms such as ours minimise frustrating no-shows.
As part of this drive for long-term sustainability is a growing appreciation of female stars – both in live music and sport. Alongside Pink, who will be performing at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 15-16 this year, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Adele collectively accounted for nearly three-quarters of ticket sales among the top 10 artists overall last year on viagogo.
Similarly, 2023 was a landmark year for women’s sport. The Fifa Women’s World Cup reached a milestone figure with 1.7 million tickets sold for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand highlighting the global appeal of elite women’s football. Customers from 75 different countries snapped up tickets for the competition through viagogo, with seats across 18 of the games being purchased for less than the face value for the event’s cheapest standard adult ticket.
However, the high-profile events were not the only success stories in women’s sports last year. The University of Nebraska set a record crowd of 92,000 for its Volleyball Day while Coco Gauff’s US Open victory followed a 42% increase in tickets sold than the previous edition.
A key driver of ticket sales is the anticipated fan experience, and we expect innovative technology to provide an increasingly seamless purchasing process as the primary and secondary ticket markets become more integrated in 2024.
At the heart of this, real-time integration will enable the instant verification and transfer of tickets between primary and secondary platforms, meaning an even safer and more reliable experience for fans.
With buyers and sellers in mind, our data is showing the importance of the secondary market in an ever-changing industry. With evolving globalisation, sustainability and technology-driven fan experience trends, 2024 promises to be a stand-out year for live sport.