Richard K. Miller & Associates (RKMA, estimates 2016 spending for sports-related travel at $24 billion, distributed as follows:

• Spectators: $9.0 billion

• Youth sports: $7.0 billion

• College teams: $2.0 billion

• Professional teams: $1.0 billion

• Other: $5.0 billion

In a survey of 500 cities and towns nationwide, the National Association of Sports Commissions ( found $9.0 billion was spent for sports travel in 2014, an increase from $8.3 billion in 2012.

According to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA,, over 50 million adults each year attend an organized sports event, competition, or tournament either as a spectator or participant while traveling 50 miles from home. The following are the most popular organized sports events to watch or participate in while traveling: Baseball or softball: 33.7 million

SPORTS TRAVEL in USA Photo Gallery

Football: 30.3 million

Basketball: 18.8 million

Auto racing: 15.0 million

Golf: 11.1 million

“Hosting amateur and collegiate tournaments and championship events is one of the hottest areas in sports business right now.”

SportsBusiness Journal

Favorite Cities For Sports Travel

In the America’s Favorite Cities survey, readers of Travel + Leisure voted their favorite cities for sports-related travel as follows:

• Chicago, IL

• Denver, CO

Boston, MA

• Philadelphia, PA

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

• New Orleans, LA

• Kansas City, KS

• San Francisco, CA

• New York, NY

• Houston, TX

Note: Travel + Leisure readers voted among 35 major cities; some sports-oriented destinations including Detroit, Indianapolis, and St. Louis were not on the list.

The following cities ranked highest in the Travel + Leisure survey for passionate sports fans:

• Pittsburgh, PA

• Kansas City, MO

• Cleveland, OH

• Baltimore, MD

• Philadelphia, PA

Youth Sports Travel

SportsBusiness Journal estimates the travel market for youth sports at $7 billion; annual growth is 3% to 5%.

“The growth of the youth sports industry has spawned a niche market for travel agencies looking to cater to teams and families traveling to distant tournaments.”

Sports Business Journal

Major League Baseball Spring Training has two leagues: the Grapefruit League in Florida and the Cactus League in Arizona. The season spans 35 days from March 1 through the first week in April.

Some 1.7 million baseball fans travel to Florida between late February and late March each year to watch spring training games. A study conducted for the Florida Sports Foundation ( found that spring training brings approximately $753 million a year into the Florida economy.

A 2015 study by the Cactus League Association ( assessed that spring training accounts for $422 million in economic impact for Arizona; 56% of the 1.7 million fans who attended games were from outside the state.

Sports-Specialist Travel Agencies

The popularity of sports travel has spawned niche specialist travel agencies offering packages to major sports events. The following are select travel agencies that specialize in sports travel and tours:

• Creative Sports/T ravel (

• Destination Management (

• Esoteric Sports Tours (

• Inside Sports & Entertainment Group (

• Palms Travel Express (

• Roadtrips (

• Sports Travel and Tours (

• Sports World Tours (

Maybe You Like Them Too

Leave a Reply

6 + 2 =