Ever got amazed at viewers almost jumping off their seats while horses with shiny coats race each other on the TVG channel? Or perhaps at fans getting emotional over the victory of their favorite soccer team during the final match of the FIFA world cup? Or maybe at spectators screaming the names of the batsman on the field while all hopes are bestowed on him to get those last few runs? That is the kind of rage and spirit of people for sports.
The terms ‘Sports’ and ‘Tourism,’ both indicate energy, zeal, passion, fun, and adventure. Combined, they form something even more energetic, adventurous, and enthusiastic. Sports tourism, means traveling to attend or participate in a sports activity or event. The past decade has seen a phenomenal rise in the number of tourists traveling solely to watch sports events, giving way to the creation of an entire industry, called the sports tourism industry. The size of this industry is expected to only double in the next five years.
There are two types of classification for sports tourism:
- Hard Sports Tourism: When masses travel to attend a competitive sports event, it is called hard sports tourism. In this case, the event itself is a key motivation. Olympics, Cricket World Cup, and FIFA World Cup are some of the examples that fall under this category.
- Soft Sports Tourism: When people travel to participate in recreational sports for leisure, it is called soft sports tourism. Hiking, Skiing, Canoeing, and running are the examples falling under this category.
- Active Sports Tourism: When people travel to participate in sporting events, it is called active sports tourism. Some of the sports for which people travel to participate are golf, surfing, fishing, and kayaking. Some of the tourists under this category are amateur participants while some are hobbyists.
- Sports Event Tourism: Hallmark sports events such as the FIFA World Cup and Olympics are the examples falling under this category when people travel for watching these events. These events itself pose as the tourist attraction of the host cities. Even the amateur sporting events, youth-oriented tournaments, and high school championships are some of the examples.
- Nostalgia Sports Tourism: This refers to people traveling for spectating and visiting popular sports-related attractions such as sporting halls of fame, sports museums, and famous sports venues.
The question is what forces have led to the rise of this industry? For somebody to travel solely to attend a sports event requires money and time. The new generation of working professionals now has increased purchasing power and disposable time, out of their busy daily schedules. A strict check on working hours and increased emphasis on recreation and leisure has contributed significantly to sports tourism.
Moreover, significant technological changes such as modernized sports equipment, the vast reach of media, new modes of transport and better connectivity, increased options of accommodation and the incredible range of radio and television are the some of the major forces that have brought this industry to a whole new level. The craze and the dedication of the masses guarantee the rise of this industry in the coming time.