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Sports Tourism Benefits, Explained | HuffPost Life

Sports Tourism Benefits, Explained | HuffPost Life

There’s been a lot of buzz lately in the travel industry about “gig-tripping,” as fans of Taylor Swift and other musical artists plan vacations all around the world just for the live concert experience.

Meanwhile, another experience-driven trend is also on the rise: sports tourism. Whether you’re an athlete yourself or just a big fan, you might want to consider this approach to travel.

So what exactly is sports tourism, and what does it involve? Below, industry experts break down the benefits and downsides.

What is sports tourism?

“‘Sports tourism’ refers to when individuals plan their travel tied to specific sporting events, typically to spectate but, depending on the event, it could include participation as well,” said Carolyn Addison, the head of product at travel company Black Tomato. “Some of the classic examples are the Olympics and we’ve often seen this type of travel for events like F1 [Formula One racing] or the Tour de France.”

Sports tourism can sometimes involve venturing to a different city to watch a regular-season away game for your favorite team. Or you might travel to participate in your own athletic endeavor, like a marathon or team competition.

“Sports tourism ranges all the way from youth sports to professional leagues,” said Nate Hardesty, the managing director of the Thompson Austin and Tommie Austin hotels in Texas. “For instance, we see so many families traveling around the country for tournaments that it’s become their spring break or summer trip. The same goes for collegiate and professional sports. We see so many fans follow their teams around the country and take the opportunity to check out the destination while they are here.”

If you live in a popular sports market, it might be easier to get good tickets to your team’s away game in another city. Some people also just like to merge their love of travel and sports into one experience.

Although taking a trip for a sporting event is not a brand-new phenomenon, more fans seem eager to have these kinds of experiences after being forced to stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People have been traveling for sports for years,” Hardesty noted. “However, experiential tourism has skyrocketed post-COVID.”

The popularity of shows like “Formula 1: Drive To Survive,” which gives a behind-the-scenes look at the world of auto racing, and “Welcome to Wrexham,” a docuseries about a Welsh soccer team, has also sparked greater interest in…

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