Swedish travel agencies selling up to five times as many package deals to Old Trafford
11 July ~ In spite of both Sweden’s and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s underperformance at the Euros, the latter's status and commercial drawing power is just as strong as it was before the tournament. After a decade of pilgrimage to Milan, Barcelona and Paris it is now time for Manchester to be the hottest destination for the relatively well off among Swedish football fans. It’s fair to assume that the weak British pound will also contribute to the stream of travellers.
The travel agencies which offer package tours to the Premier League saw an immediate effect when the main character announced the transfer to United on his Instagram account. "Every time he changes club there's an uptake. Zlatan has a magical effect," said Karin Starkman Ahlstedt, head of PR and communications at Ticket.
Swedish travel agency Ving has sold five times the usual amount of tickets for Manchester United matches compared to last year’s figures, and fellow agency Steve Perryman Sport Travel has also noticed the surge: "There's been lots of calls and we received many orders for tickets during the night,” said Klas Hanson, a salesman at the company.
There's another relatively new phenomenon in Sweden that relates to Zlatan’s transfer. Previously, foreign clubs on tour played friendlies against local teams or XIs made up of more than one club. Now they play each other in what are being marketed as "super matches" and "events".
In recent years, Gothenburg’s Ullevi Stadium has hosted games such as Manchester United v Barcelona (2012) and Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid (2013). At the same time as Ibrahimovic announced his move, the promotional company Got Events let it be known that United are to play Galatasaray in Gothenburg on July 30.
Got Event are confident that the game, in spite of high ticket prices, will sell out. Personally, I’d prefer the league match between IFK Gothenburg and Jonkopings Sodra the preceding weekend. Perhaps not so much of an "event", but points are at stake and it’s roughly £30 for a seat instead of £75. Mikael Engqvist