Sport Fan Tourism: Understanding Those Who Travel To Follow Sport Teams

Sheranne Fairley, Tracey Harrison-Hill, University, My
Sport events and attractions which encourage both participants and spectators are seen as significant contributors to the tourism economy (Delpy, 1998; Glyptis, 1991; Standeven & DeKnop, 1999). Further, Gratton and Taylor (2000) note that sport related travel accounts for 7% of total expenditure on sport. To date, the main focus of event sport tourism research has been on the economic impact of large-scale sport events (Burgan & Mules, 1992; Crompton, 1995; Mules & Faulkner, 1996; Walo, Bull, &
more » ... 1996; Walo, Bull, & Breen, 1996). However, Higham (1999) posits that smaller scale events such as regular season games may be of greater benefit to the host community as these events are hosted within existing infrastructure and therefore limit the need for public expenditure. However, fans who travel to regular season competition are a market segment that has been largely ignored by both sport and tourism marketers. Sport marketers have focused on home game attendance, media viewership and product purchases, while tourism marketers have focused on leveraging the destination. Anecdotal evidence suggests that fans who travel organise a substantial proportion of their discretionary time and income around this activity. Recent research by Gibson, Willming and Holdnak (2002, 2003) has begun to understand the behaviours of sport fans who travel to home games. This study seeks to understand the behaviours and experiences of those who travel to attend away games. In particular the study asks: What motivates fans to travel to follow professional sport teams, what experiences fans have and seek during the travel, and what place does travelling to follow a sport team have in the overall consumption behaviour of sport fans. This study examined the motives and experiences of six fan groups travelling interstate to follow their Australian Football League (AFL) team in the 2001 season. As the behaviours and experiences of those who travel to follow sport teams have not previously been explored, exploratory analysis using an iterative proces [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/3828 fatcat:eyau6ghqinfw7b3zhe4m4mnnhm