In the era of sports tourism
In the era of sports tourism: Thanks to Taylor Swift and some mega events, sports tourism is having a moment in the spotlight


Thanks to a high profile romance between Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, many young women who didn’t previously watch football tuned into the recent Super Bowl and are now able to list the names of several players in the National Football League.

It’s estimated that Swift’s association with the NFL has boosted the league’s brand value by over US$122 million.

This year, live sporting events are becoming a hot ticket, drawing in fans and travellers alike who are looking to venture far beyond catching a match close to home. And it’s not only NFL games that are in the spotlight.

According to a recent Flight Centre Travel Group survey, roughly one out of two Zillennials (47%) —a cohort combining Gen Z and Millennials — are likely to travel on a sportscursion, with over one-fifth (21%) expressing they’d be very likely to do so.

“The term sportscursion combines ‘sports’ and ‘excursion,’ epitomizing the concept of travel primarily aimed at attending sporting events live. It signifies a travel segment that’s growing as Canadian travellers align their enthusiasm for sports with their vacation planning,” Chadd Andre, executive vice president for Flight Centre Canada told Travel Courier. “Interest in sportscursions by Canadians is close to global averages, with 36% likely to plan a sportscursion. Regionally, 45% of Canadian men are showing a particular interest for planning trips centred around sports, while 28% of Canadian women are indicating the same inclination, saying they are likely to plan a sportscursion trip in the future.”

Events such as NHL, NFL and NBA games, the Kentucky Derby, Formula One races, the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Paris and the EuroCup in Germany this summer are some of the leading events drawing in sports tourism in the coming months.

“Soccer and multi-sport events are the front-runners, enticing 47% of these Canadian sportscursion enthusiasts equally,” said Andre. “Football and Formula One races are not far behind, poised to engage 32% and 27% of the Canadian market, respectively. Following are tennis (23%), horse racing (22%), rugby (15%), cricket (13%), and other sports (11%).”

Gathering these insights from over 4,000 adults across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.K., Andre said the results showcase “a robust desire for blending sports fandom with travel adventures.”

“The ability to combine the excitement of the game with exploring unfamiliar places has resonated particularly with Canadian Zillennials… where 47% value rich, multi-faceted travel experiences,” he said. “Sportscursions tap into this desire, offering more than mere relaxation or cultural immersion—they allow travellers the unique chance to be part of live sports action once more.”

To capitalize on the growing interest in sports travel, Andre said travel agents can offer comprehensive packages that encompass flights, accommodations, tickets, and additional services like rental cars and excursions. Since 86% of Canadians prioritize finding exclusive deals when planning a vacation, travel advisors could help travellers secure access to special rates and unique packages.

“Given the high demand for tickets to sporting events, agents should stay informed about major events and act quickly to secure bookings for clients, as tickets often sell out rapidly or become more expensive on resale websites,” he said. “It’s also important for travel agents to stay attuned to emerging trends in sports entertainment, such as popular Netflix shows like Drive to Survive, Break Point and Full Swing, which can influence travel trends. The increasing impact of influencers and celebrities like Taylor Swift on sports like football also present opportunities for advisors to cater to a diverse and growing audience, including women planning girls’ weekends.”

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