Arcadia Professor Leads International Research Team at Euro 2012

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 27, 2012

A team of international scholars led by Professor Douglas Michele Turco, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at The College of Global Studies at Arcadia University, has announced key statistics on the social and economic impact of soccer fans in Poland for the European Cup 2012.

The research team, including representatives from the Sport Business School in Finland and Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego i Sportu in Poland, conducted its research as part of the SCORE project. This Spectator Consumer Research project, a global initiative started by Professor Turco, is designed to uncover the behaviour and attitudes of spectators at major events around the world and the consequent impact of that behaviour on local economies and societies.

“Sport event formats have considerable impact on tourism. For example, at the outset, the EURO Cup schedule has some teams playing in different cities—and fans following them to see the matches. Last week, Irish fans came to Gdansk in droves for Spain v Ireland. The Irish are now out (of the tournament) and the Croatians have invaded Gdansk. The Spaniards remain, at least for another day,” commented Professor Turco.

The global SCORE initiative is a combination of collaborative research projects, initiated by Dr. Turco at The College of Global Studies in partnership with other institutions around the world. The aim is to explore spectator behaviour at major sporting, cultural or entertainment events around the world over time.

The EURO 2012 SCORE project follows up on the same research conducted at EURO 2008 and the FIFA World Cup in 2010. It will also link with similar research at World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Other SCORE projects include a three-year initiative exploring the level of involvement of women and girls in the sport of tennis in Turkey, in co-ordination with the Women’s Tennis Association Tour Championships.

Dr. Turco says the SCORE project took great co-ordination to get started. He says: “I look at the project, location(s), aims and scope, and assemble a ‘Dream Team’ of scholars who can complete it successfully—anywhere in the world.”

To date, SCORE in Poland at Euro 2012 surveyed more than 700 visitors at the Fan Zone and city centre locations in Gdansk and Sopot in Poland. Another 600 fans will be surveyed in Gdansk for the remainder of EURO 2012, and hundreds more in Lviv, Kyiv and Donesk.

Key EURO 2012 research findings from Gdansk so far:

  • Irish visitors, representing nearly 50% of the current fan survey, spent on average PLN 1700 (€404) per person per day for food, drink, lodging, and more.
  • Eighty-three percent of fans are male; 62% are considered to be passionate football fans; 50% have a university degree. The average age of fans surveyed was 32 years.
  • International visitors stayed an average of seven nights in Gdansk, mainly in hotels, apartments, and campgrounds.
  • Eight percent of fans had a relative or close friend competing in the EURO Cup. These fans are termed Watching Friends and Relatives (WFRs).
  • Few (14%) 2012 EURO Cup fans attended the 2008 EURO Cup in Austria-Switzerland.
  • Nearly all fans (95%) rated the overall atmosphere in the city of Gdansk to be excellent or very good; 85% perceived Gdansk to be very safe.
  • An overwhelming majority (90%) would recommend Gdansk to others as a holiday destination.