Peter Francesconi 2016-11-18 00:19:01
Our Annual Awards Honor the Events and Destinations Scoring Big in the Sports Tourism Industry SPORTS DESTINATION MANAGEMENT CREATED THE annual “Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism” awards to recognize players in the sports tourism industry that are making big gains when it comes to driving revenue into host cities. While methodologies may differ when it comes to calculating the bottom line impact of specific events, host cities generally can come up with a measure of the economic impact. A bigger challenge is trying to determine the size of the total sports travel market economy in the U.S. — our industry lacks a comprehensive national survey to determine this key number. But we still have good reason to celebrate the sports travel industry. The data that are available — along with anecdotal evidence from CVBs and sports commissions around the country, together with observations from industry experts — continue to point to growth in this industry at all levels. Upward Trend in Visitor Spending In fact, according to the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), estimated visitor spending associated with amateur sports events in the U.S. in 2015 was $9.45 billion, which is up 5.47 percent from $8.96 billion in 2014 (based on a survey of NASC members, including CVBs and sports commissions in markets of under 100,000 population to more than a million). Importantly, this continues an upward trend from the last few years; since 2012, total estimated visitor spending has increased $1.15 billion, or 13.9 percent, according to NASC data. As far as the number of people who travel to play in or watch an amateur sports event, the most recent data available are from a study by Sports Marketing Surveys USA (SMS), which shows that in 2014, there were 34.9 million people who traveled with an overnight stay, a figure that has remained fairly consistent going back to 2008. About 18 percent were ages six to 17 and 51 percent were ages 25 to 54, further evidence that families are accompanying their young players to sports events. The SMS study also indicates that in 2014, sports travelers spent an average of $256 per person per year, a figure that at first glance may seem low, but is consistent with other data, especially when considering spending one or two nights at an event, sharing rooms, etc. The good news continues when it comes to sports participation. According to the latest participation report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), based on data from 2015, “Team sports experienced the most upbeat marks, including increases of at least four percent in baseball, cheerleading, ice hockey, lacrosse, rugby, indoor soccer, team swimming as well as flag and tackle football.” Bringing in Athletes and Families The sports event industry often is said to be “recession-resistant,” and there are a number of reasons for this. For example, many events, whether for youth, adult, amateur, college or professional, must take place every year, so the demand for tournament venues remains high. In fact, in the last few years, many host organizations have developed their own sports event or tournament that they run year after year, with the goal to attract athletes and teams from out of town. Another factor boosting this industry is that families tend to travel together to attend tournaments and events in support of their young athletes. This quality “family time” continues to be important, and often turns a trip to participate in a sports event into a mini-vacation. NASC research indicates that sports venues continue to be built and renovated in large numbers in the U.S. — another positive sign for both sports travel and sports in general. These new and improved facilities not only attract sports events and bring in out-of-town visitors, but they also become available to local residents, too. (To be most cost- and use-effective, new sports facility development should in fact first meet local needs, to be assured of covering operating costs.) This local use helps to increase the number of overall athletes in the U.S. — and that helps to perpetuate this industry. Every day, we see how sports have positive effects on communities and athletes across the U.S. Our Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism awards celebrate all that sports travel can bring to communities, athletes, families and spectators.
Published by Due North Consulting, Inc.. View All Articles.
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