Groundhopping,”Extreme Football Tourism”
Few years ago i watched Champions League final which took place in London,it was all German final,FC Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund (and if someone want’s final score for his little statistic book it was 2–1 in favor of Munich lads) in front of a pact house of 86,298 fans and many,many more in streets of London all together with TV couch fans,but that bunch will be out of my focus in this case.
Ok,anyone who follow’s football/soccer name it how you want ,or even if he/she is remotely interested in the game knows some facts of how Munich and Dortmund club’s are in fact popular in Germany ,but among’s the 86,289 mentioned above there were guys (or girls) who had nothing in common with Bayern,Borussia nor Dortmund,Munich or Germany for that matter ,or maybe they were indifferent ,they just wanted to feel the buzz of big game.They are travelers and tourist’s in all aspects of hospitality industry,but they are mixing their leisure time with sport manifestations and not just big manifestation’s,second league football match in lets’ say Greece,let’s go,third league in France,derby game in Poland,Krakow…no doubt.Who are they you might wander?They are groundhoppers!
Let’s go with some basic stuff about them,”Groundhopping is a hobby that involves attending matches at as many different stadiums or grounds as possible. Participants are known as groundhoppers, hoppers or travellers. Largely a football-related pastime, groundhopping probably found its origin in football in the 1970s in England. From the late 1980s fans in Germany started groundhopping as well. Currently it is especially popular in the United Kingdom ,Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.There is no universal set of rules for counting ‘hopped grounds’, although a generally accepted one is that a match must have been seen at the ground.There are some formal organisations for groundhoppers, including The 92 Club in England, which consists of groundhoppers who have visited matches in all stadiums of the Premier and Football League.Groundhoppers travel frequently, to see as many new football stadiums in different cities, regions and countries as possible. Groundhopping gives prestige to groundhoppers who have visited many stadiums. At the same time, groundhopping is not just about visiting many stadiums, it is also about engaging with history, politics and acts of remembering.” On first glance you will see that there is significant tradition,hand in hand with modern mass tourism,but groundhopping subculture (as modern active tourism) infected many,many more countries than quoted above,or maybe the whole world?!
I will role back once more to that crucial final game in London,few days after the event i’v reed the article about amount of money that was spent in hotels and hostels,restaurants,pubs,streets,stadium by these tourists,honestly i cant quite remember the exact amount but numbers were quite good.Now days they are much more organized,they are willing to go places,to see and try new things (football and non football related stuff) on every day basis much as “regular” tourist,they have clubs ,blogs and phone apps,so we can talk about quite good form of organisation.And where there is good organisation there is a great potential also,we can all agree on that.
At last but not the least,where is tourism/hospitality of 21st Century in this?Tourism industry is evolving on day to day basis and constantly adopting to new form’s of “active” travelers who want something more than old school all inclusive arrangements,and with active travelers goes different subcultures (music,extreme sport’s and other enthusiasts) so let’s meet them halfway now so we can understand them and indulge their travel/tourist/football lust.
Popular groundhopper show called “Sausages and Caviar” included on youtube channel “Copa90” with over one million,in numbers 1,086,637 subscribes.