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The Best Sounds Of Football Revealed

Manchester united crowd© Emma Kelly

Last updated on June 11th, 2023 at 02:02 PM

No matter where you travel for football, the experience of travelling to a game is defined by its iconic sounds – from the excitement of taking off on a plane surrounded by fellow fans, to the electrifying buzz of the stadium crowd.

Ahead of this year’s UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul, travel expert and UEFA Champions League Official Supplier, Expedia® Live, unveiled its “Soundscape of being there” report1 – highlighting the iconic sounds of travelling for football, with the enthusiastic cheering of crowds, player chants, singing of anthems and the roar as players taking to the pitch topping the list.

The Top 10 sounds of football:

  1. Cheering of the crowds
  2. The chants
  3. Team anthems being sung
  4. The roar when the players take to the pitch
  5. UEFA Champions League anthem before the game
  6. Player songs being sung
  7. Fans clapping
  8. Ping of the ball hitting the crossbar
  9. The noise of the ball hitting the back of the net
  10. The tense silence before a penalty kick

For British fans, the atmosphere and sounds of the game are an essential part of the matchday experience. In fact, 89% agree a good atmosphere makes a football match more memorable, whilst over two-thirds believe the sounds at a match can even impact the outcome of the game.

This is backed up by previous third-party studies that reveal that the ‘12th man’ effect of noisy fans can give home teams an advantage.3

Sound is so important to travelling fans that they prefer the noise of a goal celebration (22%) over someone telling them they love them (19%), the theme tune to their favourite TV show (13%), a beer being poured (9%) or a champagne cork popping (13%).

Some fans take the sounds of football to the extreme, with one in eight preferring to either listen to a coach’s halftime speech than any speech at a wedding, listen to fans’ arguments during a game than speaking to their in-laws, or even favouring the ref’s whistle signalling a red card for their team rather than hearing their morning alarm clock.

And when it comes to recognizing football anthems, 63% of Brits claim they can easily pick out the iconic UEFA Champions League anthem and recognize it in 2.4 seconds. However, in reality, 65% don’t even know the full lyrics and when hearing the anthem only 1 in 3 (35%) fans recognized it.

Istanbul is home to the two loudest stadiums in the world, Beşiktaş and Galatasaray’s stadiums, with recorded crowds of 132 decibels2 – equivalent to the noise level of an aircraft takeoff.

However, according to Expedia’s report the loudest and most passionate fans are Liverpool, Barcelona, Man City, Celtic and Real Madrid. This year’s finalist Inter Milan didn’t even make the top 10.

Michele Rousseau from Expedia said:“We’re proud Expedia Live is an Official Supplier of the UEFA Champions League and can enable fans from around the world to travel and discover new cities, as nothing beats being there.

Travelling to watch a game allows fans to experience new cultures and create special memories with friends and family that will last a lifetime.”

Expedia has partnered with football legend and ex-Inter Milan and Manchester City midfielder, Patrick Vieira, to share the sounds that shaped his football career. He said:  

“From my own experience travelling over the years across Europe, the sounds I heard on game day made my experiences truly unforgettable, no matter where I played. I loved the roar of the plane taking off for European nights as it signalled the start of the journey, and the buzz of the stadium crowd before kick-off really got the adrenalin pumping. 

Football has so many iconic sounds that create a unique atmosphere, which cannot be replicated anywhere else. When visiting a rival stadium and hearing our fans chanting with such passion was magical, that feeling stays with me.

I think the loudest atmosphere I have experienced was at Anfield, the sounds and passion coming from the fans is unbelievable to experience”

Sounds of travel

The ‘Soundscape of being there’ report from Expedia also unveils the top reasons football fans love travelling for UEFA Champions League matches, with a third of Brits looking to experience a new city, cited as their primary reason, with 27% using it as an excuse for a getaway with friends. 

The Top 10 sounds of travelling revealed: 

  1. People speaking different languages 
  2. A plane taking off 
  3. Bustling bars and cafes 
  4. Boarding calls at the airport 
  5. Nature (i.e., beach, wind, birdsong) 
  6. Street stalls/vendors 
  7. The buzz of local transport 
  8. Street musicians  
  9. The ding of the unfastened seatbelt sign after landing  
  10. Rolling suitcases 

Interestingly, 62% of Brit football fans believe that the sounds of travel add to their overall getaway experience, adding another layer of excitement to their football adventure.

Sounds of Istanbul

The cultural hub of Istanbul is about to welcome Man City and Inter Milan fans for the UEFA Champions League Final and Expedia reveals it has seen a search spike of 590% on its UK site for Istanbul flights and a 130% spike on its Italian site.  

The ‘Soundscape of being there’ report also revealed that over 50% of fans would love to visit Istanbul to watch this year’s Final and the fact the Final is being hosted there has put the city on three-quarters of Brits’ travel radar for the future.

The most iconic sound associated with Istanbul is the call to prayer of the Muezzin, with top attractions football fans look forward to experiencing being:

  1. The Grand Bazaar
  2. Watching a game at a stadium
  3. The Blue Mosque
  4. Spice Bazaar
  5. Going to a Turkish Tearoom
  6. Visiting Istanbul Archeological Museum
  7. Bosporus Strait 
  8. Try Turkish Delight
  9. Hagia Sophia Mosque
  10. Topkapi Palace

Patrick Vieira played in Istanbul many times during his career and sounds were at the heart of his experiences of the city. He said:

“Istanbul is a city filled with so many iconic sounds, it’s bustling, lively and loud in the best way. I remember my visits well, the call to prayer can be heard across the city, the buzz of the bazaars is fantastic.

Wherever you are, you’ll hear the street vendors shouting and if you head down to the Bosporus there will be honks of the steamboats ringing out. If you ever visit Istanbul, you must go and watch a football match there though, as the atmosphere is electric.”  

To find out more information, visit Expedia Live and for those seeking exclusive tickets to the big event, head to the Expedia Live fan zone to win a pair of tickets. 

1 Survey of 2,000 UK football fans who have travelled to a game, commissioned by OnePoll on behalf of Expedia. 
2 Decibels stated within  
3 Reference from and 
*Data based on flight searches made on and in the 7 days following qualification for the UEFA Champions League Final, for check-in dates 8 – 10 June 2023. UK data was 17 – 23 May 2023 compared to 10 – 16 May 2023 and Italy data was 16 – 22 May 2023 compared to 9 – 15 May 2023