Travel Leisure

Here’s How To Have The Ultimate Sports Tourism Experience

There are many different reasons to get outside and travel the world. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or if you’re checking out a new food festival, there’s a little something for everyone when you travel to new places. Some folks are even heading out of town for sports tourism purposes. 

Traveling for sports isn’t as popular as gastronomic and wellness tourism. However, it is on the rise. According to a Grand View Research report, the global sports tourism industry was valued at $587.87 billion in 2022. Between 2023 and 2030, sports tourism is expected to grow nearly 18 percent each year. The numbers aren’t surprising. Thrill and adventure-seeking millennial and Gen-Z travelers often travel solely to have new experiences. Sporting events are exciting and full of life. But you can’t catch a professional game in every city. So it makes sense sports tourists like to plan their trips. 

There are a few steps you can take to plan out your next sports tourism adventure. Whether you’re headed to a hockey game out of state or trying to grab tickets for the Super Bowl, use these tips to make sure you have the ultimate sports tourism experience.

Research Types Of Sports Tourism

open-air soccer stadium
Photo credit: Riccardo

When most people think of sports tourism, the first thought is usually a professional game. However, the sports tourism industry is extensive. So it’s important to know what type of sports travel you’re interested in. Are you traveling to watch a sporting event that you love? Or are you a competitor looking to get on the field and play?

Sporting event tourism is when travelers visit a destination with the intent of watching a live game. This can include anything from a Little League game to the Olympics or the World Cup. Those traveling to participate in the event are engaging in ‘active sports tourism”. This includes extreme sports competitions that attract participants from all over the world like the Running of The Bulls during the San Fermin Festival in Spain each year. Once you determine what type of sports tourism you’re interested in, you’ll be more prepared to plan your trip.

Consider What The Destination Offers

After you’ve figured out why you’re traveling, it’s time to decide where you’re going. Destination is everything when planning a sports tourism venture. Depending on what sporting event you’re attending, you may be limited in where you can go. This is important to consider when heading to events that only happen in one place like annual marathons or team-specific games. Be sure to evaluate the overall purpose of the trip. Are you solely going for the sporting event? Do you intend on checking out popular restaurants, excursions, and activities in addition to the game? Keep these things in mind while planning your trip. 

Once you’ve locked in a destination, grab accommodations close to where the sporting event is happening. This will keep your commute to the event short and sweet and save you time if you need to return to the room for any reason. Book your accommodations in advance because major sporting events often cause hotels to sell out fast. This is also the time to determine transportation options as well.

Grab Your Tickets Sooner Than Later 

large sports arena
Photo credit: JC Gellidon

It’s important to snag tickets early to make sure you don’t miss out on the big game day. For those going to watch a sporting event, getting tickets sooner rather than later is relieving. Instead of stressing about if you’ll be able to grab them at the box office, you can swiftly move through the line to your seats. If you’re a game-day participant, a lot of competitions offer discounted rates for those who register early. So you might save a few bucks getting tickets early.

Consider Traveling With A Group 

If you’re a novice to sports tourism or don’t want to travel to a game alone, see if any group trips are heading to a game near you. The viral Facebook group Date Ideas & Things To Do has hosted several bus trips to cities like Chicago for folks wanting to attend an NBA game. Group trips in sports tourism are a great way to meet new people while sharing a mutual love for sports in a new city. Check out travel groups in your area to see if anyone is planning group trips centered around sports tourism. 

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