The Champions League has been gaining popularity in the United States, but has long been the dominant sports tournament across Europe. Stadiums across the continent are routinely filled at capacity for these matches. With the amount of popularity, Champions League tickets are also in high demand on the secondary market.
Since 1955, there has been some iteration of this tournament. From 1955 to 1992, the tournament was a knockout style with just the champion club from each country allowed to participate. In 1992, however, the tournament evolved into its current form with a round-robin group stage — similar to the World Cup — while also allowing more than one team from a country. Of course, with more teams and more games comes more ticket sales.
For European ticket resellers like Ticketbis, the Champions League is one of the biggest events of the year. As for the actual impact of the tournament on the secondary market, Ticketbis CEO Ander Michelena said, "The Champions League is every year one of the most important events for our company. In Europe, football fans wants to attend matches even if their teams are not playing because of the high level of the championship. It's a great opportunity to see in live the best players of the world."
The opportunity to see the world’s best players is one of the reasons Real Madrid is the most demanded team on a yearly basis. According to Ticketbis, Real Madrid tickets make up for 14.63% of their total Champions League sales, the most of any time. Real Madrid has also been the most successful team in the tournament. The club has won 10 times since the inception of the tournament and has finished as a runner up another three. The next closest club is A.C. Milan, though they have not won the tournament since 2007. Real Madrid has also appeared in the two best-selling Champions League games on the secondary market, the 2014 Final against Atlético de Madrid and a 2013 Knockout Round game against Manchester United.
No team has appeared more times in top ten games than Barcelona, which has played in four of the top ten best-selling Champions League games over the past four years. Barcelona tickets make up for 13.51% of Ticketbis’ Champions League sales, with no other squad besides Real Madrid accounting for over 10%.
It’s no surprise that Spain accounts for the highest amount of sales by country: 35.44% of Champions League sales come from Spain, with England’s 22.39% the next highest. Germany, 17.79%, and Italy, 12.75%, are the only other countries above 10%.
This year’s tournament is already in the group stage with the next match-day on November 5. While sales data is not yet available, the most searched teams since the tournament started have been Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Arsenal and Chelsea. The Group Stage will run until December 9 and 10.