Avid Beckham’s highprofile arrival in the United States has been touted as a new British invasion. Not since the Beatles has an Englishman caused such a stir. Yet, while there is no doubt that soccer is being transformed by a transatlantic invasion, in reality the main thrust is in the opposite direction.
The English Premier League (http://www.premierleague.com), which is avidly followed by a huge global television audience, is the most lucrative sports league outside the United States. From a low point during the 1980s, when the game in England was saddled with antiquated stadiums and vicious hooligans, the league has become the glamorous pinnacle of world soccer. The sport’s spiritual home, Wembley Stadium, reopened this year after a $1.5-billion reconstruction.
English soccer revenues already are staggering, and analysts see potential for dramatic growth in relatively untapped markets such as China, India, and, especially, the United States. It is this potential that has prompted several American tycoons to buy into some of England’s oldest soccer clubs.
Randy Lerner, owner of the Cleveland Browns, snapped up Aston Villa FC last year. Tom Hicks and George Gillett bought Liverpool FC in February 2007. Stan Kroenke, husband of Wal-Mart heiress Ann Walton, is said to be preparing a takeover of Londonbased Arsenal FC. The Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, controls Manchester United, the world’s biggest soccer club.
The origins of soccer — or football — go back at least to the Middle Ages, when inhabitants of neighboring villages would battle to kick a ball through goals often placed several miles apart. The sport was refined over the years, until a professional league was formally established in England in 1888. Many of the inaugural clubs are still playing today.
Unlike American sports franchises, English teams rarely relocate to other cities. Local support is fanatical, and when neighboring rivals play each other, the atmosphere is intense. So much for English reserve.
The season runs from August until May. League fixtures are usually played on Saturdays or Sundays, while the top four teams from the previous season also play in the European Champions League (http://www.uefa.com) on weekday evenings. Match tickets usually cost upwards of $60. For the London clubs and Manchester United, sellouts are common.
If you can’t get to a game, the next best thing is to watch a match in a pub. If the local favorites are involved, the passion will be palpable. Although some of the finer points of the game can appear impossibly complicated for the uninitiated, the fundamentals are very easy to follow. It is soccer’s inherent simplicity that has earned its place as the world’s most popular sport.
When doing business in England, asking your contacts which football team they support can be a great icebreaker, and might even lead to an invitation to a match. For me, now that the season is underway again, life is lived to the rhythms of Sunderland (http://www.safc.com).
For the new American soccer tycoons, England’s national sport is a revelation. After one dramatic Liverpool match this year, George Gillett said, “This is so much bigger and so much more important to so many people than we could ever have imagined. Nothing can compare to it.”
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Join us over the next several weeks as we entice you with photos from some of the places we’re most excited to visit. Take a visual journey through some of Sedona’s most breathtaking sights with us.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Hotel Indigo Madrid Princesa opened in Madrid’s primary shopping district (temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but expected to open soon), adjacent to Parque del Oeste, giving first-time visitors to Madrid a perfect location for city exploration. The property offers more than 100 guestrooms, with two designs found throughout, both inspired by the natural greenery found in Parque del Oeste and reflecting the spring and fall seasons. In-room amenities include smart televisions and complimentary WiFi.
As states allow visitors again and travel picks up, airlines are starting to prepare for an influx in passengers by increasing cleaning schedules, preparing aircraft for flight and even taking the temperatures of passengers before boarding the plane.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Join us over the next several weeks as we entice you with photos from some of the places we’re most excited to visit. Take a visual journey through some of London’s most breathtaking sights with us.
Saint Lucia announced a phased plan to reopen island tourism responsibly, beginning June 4. Phase One includes welcoming international flights at Hewanorra International Airport from the United States only. In preparation, 1,500 hotel rooms are being prepared to open. The approach to reopening continues through July 31.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts, with luxury hotels in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, announced its Holidays for Your Heroes initiative. The program will donate 150 luxury, all-inclusive resort stays to essential workers and their families with its Karisma Foundation and partners.