Our record-breaking bumper summer stats!

The National Football Museum welcomed a record number of visitors during the 2023 summer season, continuing its strong annual performance from the previous year.

This summer, between 1st June and 31st August, the National Football Museum welcomed a total of 68,253 visitors through its doors. Those statistics are a record high for the museum and show a 35% increase on the same period last year. and a 31% rise on pre-Covid figures for the museum (2019).

The museum’s record-breaking summer is even more remarkable from a national perspective. The 2022 report from Visit England on UK visitor attraction trends showed the volume of visits were still 35% lower than pre-pandemic (2019).

Beyond Manchester and the rest of the country, visitations from overseas tourists are back on the rise, in particular from the USA. The museum is responding to the needs of international visitors who are ‘experience seekers’. In fact, 32% of visitors between 1 June – 31 August were from overseas.

Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, said:The National Football Museum is a much-loved attraction in Manchester and is a key driver for sports-loving visitors who come to enjoy great events, including football. It is fantastic to see the museum’s visitor numbers are now even higher than before the pandemic, and particularly encouraging to see the strength of the international visitor market, which the museum and other attractions in Greater Manchester will see great benefits from.”

To accompany one of their most content rich summers to date, the museum also introduced its season ticket for visitors. The season ticket allows a visitor unlimited visits to the museum for 12 months, plus free admission to special exhibitions, events and tours from just £13 per year for adults, £11 for concessions and £7 for children.

Thanks to continued support and funding from the Manchester City Council, Manchester residents and schools can still visit the museum completely free of charge too, something the museum deems vitally important in the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis.

The National Football Museum’s strong performance has also created 15 new jobs since 1st April 2022.

Summer Programming

Our Time Is Now

Our time is Now

A photographic exhibition found on the Pitch Gallery, ‘Our Time is Now’ is an honest and raw documentation of grassroots football in England during the spring of 2023, exploring the positive effect of the 2022 European Championship win and themes of empowerment at the heart of our communities. This opened on 13 July and runs until the end of October.

Women’s World Cup Watch Party

July and August saw the Lionesses almost repeat history at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia, and the museum welcomed in over 200 people for a free live watch party as England took on Spain in the final, featuring craft activities and Subbuteo lessons.

Batteries Not Included

Batteries Not Included follows the history of football’s toys and games starting in the Victorian era, right through into cutting edge virtual reality. The museum’s most interactive exhibition to date, with 17 interactive games and exhibits.

Rezzil’s Virtual Reality Installation within the exhibit proved extremely popular with visitors of all ages, giving them a chance to show their skills and compare their scores to that of professional players.

This soon became the museum’s most interactive installation on record, with over 5000 plays since the launch of the exhibition on July 12th.

All of the interactive exhibitions, as well as the wider programming for all operations this summer were meticulously planned to provide value and cater for all demographics and members of the community, particularly families during the summer holidays period.

This further aligns the museum with their initiative, Football Creates, which uses the unrivalled power of football to engage people and communities in creativity, championing inclusion and improving wellbeing.

National Football Museum CEO Tim Desmond said: “The summer of 2023 has been full of ground-breaking experiences, and these record figures pay testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone at the National Football Museum. Our visitor-first approach has delivered an innovative and inclusive programme of exhibitions and events, alongside a world-class visitor experience and welcome from our team.”

“We continue to be thankful for the support of Manchester City Council and Arts Council England who play a vital role in the museum’s ongoing development, enabling us to engage more people and communities in football and creativity.”