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What is Sports Travel?

Sports travel is divided into two types of categories: Participatory sports travel and spectator sports travel. More specifically, sports travel is defined as the packaging of tourism-related products and services for individuals or groups for the primary purposes of:

  1. Participating in competitive, recreational, fitness or leisure sporting events and activities. (e.g. Youth participating in soccer tournament; High-school or college athletes traveling to compete in athletic event; traveling to participate in a marathon or cycling event)
  2. Spectating at professional, competitive, recreational, fitness or leisure sporting games and events. (e.g. Visiting a sporting venue to view a professional, colleague or amateur baseball, football, basketball or hockey game; Attending and watching in-person a major sporting event such as the Super Bowl, World Series, Daytona 500, Kentucky Derby, World Cup, Olympic Games, U.S. Open – golf or tennis; Touring a sports museum or Hall of Fame induction ceremonies)


Sports Travel Market Facts

  • 41 percent of NTA tour operators are involved in sports travel.
  • Sports travel globally is a $600 billion industry. (Source: Worldwide Sporting Development and Events)
  • According to multiple sources, sports travel comprises 10 percent of the international tourism market.
  • The Olympics brand is worth $47.6 billion and now is the second most valuable brand in the world behind Apple. (Source: Brand Finance)
  • Sports travel visitor spending is $7.68 billion with a 6.5 percent growth rate. (Source: National Association of Sports Commissions and Ohio University Industry Study)
  • An estimated 23.9 million people visit sporting events and venues each year. (Source: National Association of Sports Commissions and Ohio University Industry Study)
  • NTA has provided us the research and atmosphere to brainstorm new ways of doing things and fresh additions to trips, which has led to successful business development. Rachel Ranck, WorldStrides, NTA member since 1985
  • What NTA does is provide the right buyers. They provide the right people who make decisions. This is what makes this organization one I can’t afford to take off my list. John Stachnik CTP, Mayflower Tours, NTA member since 1979
  • I came to NTA to build a business, and that’s exactly what it did for us, as sales came in. For me, it’s the only outlet for new ideas. Matthew Squire, Select Travel Service (UK), NTA member since 2002
  • NTA membership and our attendance at the convention have provided us with more clients, more business relationships and more ideas. We are proud to belong to NTA. Daniele Panzarin, Target Travel (Italy), NTA member since 2007
  • The No. 1 member benefit of NTA has to be all the great professional and personal connections we’ve made over the past decade. Taunya Wolfe Finn, CTP, Wolfe Adventures & Tours, NTA member since 2005
  • We have not found a more reliable, more profitable or more consistent tourism venue in which to acquire new business than NTA. Diane Hohnstein, Hospitality Management Services, NTA member since 1999
  • I believe attending the NTA conferences allow me to create valuable relationships and work together with U.S. operators in creating great Scotland product. Maggie Anderson, VisitScotland, NTA member since 2003
  • NTA events provide us with beneficial networking with many top tour operators. It’s national and international in scope providing a global perspective. Tim and Elaine Moulder, Brilliant Edventures, NTA member since 2015