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Sports tourism

Sports tourism is defined as travel outside one’s usual environment for active or passive participation in sports activities. This is fast-growing form of tourism that is unique in that its primary motivation is sports activity. Examples include; travel to the World Cup, World Rally Championships, or to participate in the Iron Man Challenge. There are three types of sports tourism, namely; sports event tourism, active sports tourism, and nostalgic sports tourism.

Sports event tourism entails traveling to a foreign place for the sake of hallmark sports events such as the World Cup and Olympics. Ross (2001) explains “such global sports events attract millions of people to the host country boosting revenues earned from tourism for the period coinciding with their occurrence” (pg. 3). During the events, the tourist normally takes on a passive role in the facilities provided for spectators and cheers on his team or compatriots. An example of sports tourism is the 1994 World Cup in the US. During the period just before the event started, and more than 50 million visitors travelled to the United States, and spent close to 100 million US dollars.

Active sports tourism is different from sports event tourism in that the tourist actively participates in the featured sports events or games. These kinds of events are further subdivided into hobbyists and active participants, based upon the level of commitment the tourist has dedicated into the event sport. Active sports tourism is exemplified by golf. The US Open attracts hundreds of active participants each year.

Nostalgia sports tourism involves travelling to famous sports-related attractions. These sites are associated with famous sports personalities or events and attract millions of the subject sport or game fans. Nostalgic sports tourism is exemplified by the annual pilgrimage to NASCAR museum in Charlotte, North Carolina by speed-car fans.

Social impacts of hosting sports events

Normally, the host country of any major sports event has to endure some effects due to the major influx of tourists and revenue. The main social impact affecting the hosting party or city is the disruption of resident lifestyles. Ntloko & Swart (2008) report how “sport events and sport tourists interrupt the normal patterns of life in the host country as all attention is drawn towards the main event and other relative to it” (pg 80). Entertainment spots increase and a new form of social interaction tactics are introduced into the hosting city leading to problems associated with tourism, such as; increased crime and moral decadence.

The choice to hold large sporting events in a particular city or locale changes the civic characteristics of the same. Local pride levels sore and social disturbance, as well as instances of mass hysteria, arises. The decision to hold the 2010 World in South Africa led to a noticeable increase in national pride among South Africans as well as the rest of the continent. This social impact has both positive and negative ramifications as it fosters unity among the resident, as well as exposing negative sentiment regarding sports politics.

The residents of the hosting city or locality suffer the most when a major sporting event comes to their town due to a disruption of their normal business. While some may argue that the influx of tourists into the region provides more business opportunities, the opposite is true since small-scale local businesses and those associated with a large sporting event are different. The tourists are not interested in the local goods and services of the locals, and this affects the earning potential of low-income residents. The bulk of profits is amassed by the large-scale, high-income investors and medium-level businessmen. Little trickles down to the low-income resident.

The Strategic Sports Communication Model

The strategic sports communication model is an approach to sports communication that seeks to streamline the process using three perspectives. These are; personal and organizational communication, advertising and promotion, as well as mass media. By organizing sports communication into segments, the problems formerly posing challenges to the effective communication of sports are eliminated.

Pedersen et al, (2007) state, “ strategic sports communication tool is an organizational tool for understanding the sports field that breaks down the process into its main components, processes, and strategies necessary to make sports communication efficient” (pg. 85). In addition, it analyzes and explains in a systematic and rational manner the relationship between the components of the sports communication process.

The dynamics of communication are the forces within the communication process that make it effective and efficient. Their importance to the sport is best explained from a sports definition perspective where a clear understanding of the communication needs in sports facilitates the process. Sports are gaming activating that requires teamwork. Teamwork relies heavily in communication and its components, meaning the dynamics of communication are critical for success or efficacy in sporting activities.

Not only are the dynamic of communication crucial for sportsmen and women, but the fans as well. A clear system of communication ensures these important supporters follow their favorite teams and contribute to the good performance via feedback. This mainly takes the form of either cheering or booing depending on the team’s performance. A concise understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all the parties involved in sports communication also avoids conflict. This is a normal phenomenon in any competitive environment, and effective communication dynamics quickly counter its disastrous effects.

The marketing mix and its application in sports marketing

Richter (2012) defines the marketing mix as “a combination of the elements of marketing and their roles in promoting consumer products and making sure they arrive at him/her” (pg 12). This is the mixture of promotional effort alongside necessary resources needed to ensure that goods and services reach their consumers at the right time.

The four elements of the marketing mix are price, product, place and promotion. The element of a product is relatively straightforward, entailing the product offered to potential and actual customers. In addition, one has to consider how their product is different from that of their competitor as well as pleasing the client. Price concerns the process of remaining competitive by pricing your product to retain customers, and make profits. This is more of a balancing act as one has to optimize between profit-making and maintain operations. Place, also called distribution, refers to the geographical location of your product and ways of transporting them to the customer. Promotion refers to the tactics and techniques used to communicate the benefits this product would accord to the consumer.

To sports marketers, the elements of marketing offer them similar benefits to those they offer any other businessmen trying to promote their goods or services. The sports marketer has to think in terms of the four elements since he/she is also looking to market a service to potential customers. The viewership and related merchandise constitute the product a sports marketer wants to sell to customers. He/she wants to sell this product at the optimized price that will ensure they make profits without chasing the same customer away. In addition, the sports marketer would prefer to ease the business process by bringing the commodity closer to the customer thus ensuring the element of place is implemented. Finally, the marketer would find useful the element of promotion in informing customer of the benefits of his/her commodity.


Ntloko, N. J., & Swart, K. (2008). Sports tourism event impacts on the host community: A case study of Red Bull Big Wave Africa. South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, 30(2), 80.

Pedersen, P. M., Miloch, K. S., & Laucella, P. C. (2007). JHBi. In Strategic sport communication (p. 85). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Richter, T. (2012). International management of the marketing process. In International marketing mix management: Theoretical framework, contingency factors and empirical findings from world-markets (p. 12). Berlin: Logos-Verl.

Ross, S. D. (2001). Develping sports tourism. NATIONAL LABORATORY FOR TOURISM AND e-COMMERCE, 3.

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