Travel activities and motivations survey — U.S. travel market

Attending National and International Sporting Events While on Trips of One or More Nights

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A Profile Report — August 27, 2007
Executive summary

Over the last two years, 1.4% (3,166,274) of adult Americans attended a national or international sporting event while on an out-of-town, overnight trip of one or more nights. Attending a professional soccer game (0.7%) and a professional figure skating event (0.5%) were the most popular events, followed by a national or international sporting event such as the Olympics (0.4%) and a curling bonspiel (0.1%). 46.7% (1,478,435) of those who attended national and international sporting events reported that this activity was the main reason for taking at least one trip in the past two years.

Relative to the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler, those who attended national and international sporting events while on trips are over-represented among young (18 to 24) single males. This segment is relatively affluent with an above-average level of education (71.4% university degree or higher) and above-average household incomes ($88,675). They are over-represented among those living in cities with a population of 500,000 or more.

National and International Sporting Event attendees are more frequent travelers than the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler and they were more than twice as likely to have taken a trip to Canada in the last two years (30.4% versus 14.6%). The most common Canadian destinations were Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. However, they are over-represented among U.S. travelers to all Canadian provinces and territories making this an excellent target market for Canadian tourism initiatives.

Travelers who attended national and international sporting events were much more active on their trips than the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler in both culture and entertainment activities and outdoor activities. They were especially likely to have engaged in sports-related activities both as a spectator (e.g., professional sporting events, amateur tournaments) and as a participant (e.g., games & individual sports, team sports). This segment also exhibits above-average interest in live art performances (e.g., high art performances, rock concerts), theatre, film and music festivals and strenuous outdoor activities (e.g., extreme sports, ‘board & blade' activities) when traveling. They were much more likely than average to take tours and cruises, and especially overnight multi-location tours. They tended to stay at seaside, lakeside or riverside resorts and public campgrounds. This segment seeks vacations that offer novelty, intellectual stimulation, physical challenge and opportunities to learn.

National and International Sporting Event attendees frequently use the Internet to plan (79.8%) and book travel (61.1%). They are avid consumers of travel-related media and can also be targeted effectively through sports-related media (e.g., professional sports magazines, television sports programming, all-sports radio, and sports websites).