EURO2008 City Scenes: How Many Guests Expected?

4 06 2008

Last Sunday, when traveling on the underground U1 towards Leopoldau, I happen to sit next to a young Viennese family – a couple in their mid-30s and their son of about 10 years of age. I was reading the weekend edition of Der Standard, and paid no attention to their conversation.

However, when reaching the stop Praterstern, the conversation inevitable turned to football and the upcoming European Championships. Last but not least, at Praterstern, the U1 meets the newly extended underground line U2, which goes right up to Ernst-Happel-Stadium, where on June 29, the decision on the new European Champion will be decided. I was not left with any choice: I stopped reading my paper and followed the arguments.

The family’s increasingly heated discussion, of which all of them are football fans it seemed, turned to the question of how many visitors Austria’s capital might have during the games. Of the 31 games in total, six are held in Vienna, one of those is the key game – from an Austrian national viewpoint – Austria vs. Croatia on June 8.

The boy, whose name I could not pick up, suggested bravely a figure: “5,000 from each (participating, sic) country.” The parents disagreed, though would not name any concrete figures in return. While the boy’s mother thought there might be considerable less (“Oh, never!”), the father said that there will be “at least that many, if not many more.”

It turns out that the boy’s father certainly was closer but still far away from the predictions. If I take the boy’s estimation literally, this would mean an additional 80,000 guest – there are 16 participating nations, including Austria as one of the two host countries.

In fact , the City of Vienna expects 1.1 Mio additional visitors to the city within June 2008, due to the EURO2008, which would make an average 75,000 guest from each participating nation, excluding Austria. It shows that not every Austrian football fan is aware of the dimensions of these events, which are the largest of the city’s history.

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25 06 2008
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