Definition Sports tourism refers to international trips specifically taken to watch sporting events. Common examples include international events such as world cups (soccer, rugby, cricket, etc), the Olympics and Formula 1 Grand Prix, regional events (such as the soccer European Champions League), and individual (non-team) participant sports such as tennis, golf and horse racing. Estimate of Global Market Size The most popular global sporting events are the soccer FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, followed by the European Football Championships. However other popular sporting events also attract a large number of international visitors. These include the Rugby Union World Cup and Formula 1 Grand Prix. • • The FIFA Football World Cup held in France in 1998 attracted 900,000 international football fans and generated $12.3 billion. It is estimated that the 2000 Olympics in Sydney generated 111,000 additional international arrivals to Australia specifically travelling for sports tourism. Euro 2004 (the European Football Championships) attracted 500,000 sports tourists to Portugal, generating $320 million for the Portuguese economy. The Monaco Grand Prix (which alongside the Indy 500 and Le Mans is one of the most famous motor racing fixtures of the year) attracts 200,000 visitors over its four-day duration. The 2007 Cricket World Cup staged in the Caribbean was thought to have generated an additional 100,000 visitors who travelled specifically for the tournament.
Whilst the number of sports tourists fluctuates on an annual basis depending on the events taking place (it is greatest during FIFA World Cup and Olympics years), on average an estimated 12 million international trips are made for the main purpose of watching a sporting event.
Potential for Growth Increased media exposure of sporting events over the last decade has raised the profile of many sports, and although TV coverage is better than at any time in the past, an...