What is Sports Tourism?

Sports event tourism refers to people who visit a city to participate in or watch sporting events. For some reference, the two sports events that attract the most tourists worldwide are the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. These events are held once every four years, in a different city in the world. That makes them an "itinerant sports event" - that is to say, a sporting event that is bid upon by various host cities, and the event moves around from host city to host city. Communities don’t need to wait around for something as massive as the Olympics to get into the sports tournament hosting game though - oh no. The entire country has an ever-growing passion for tournament sports, endurance races and athletic contests of every shape and size.

How it Works...

Sports tourism takes a lot of forms and can be as small as a 5-years-old and under Judo tournament held in Dimondale, Michigan to something massive on the NCAA level like the recent Battle for Atlantis Tournament which Michigan State University Men’s Basketball took part in, which is played in the Bahamas. The planning committee pairs quality sports events with the Bahamas attractions, raises the islands’ profile and brings in additional visitors and dollars to the country.

Why it Matters

The Battle for Atlantis brought more than 5,000 fans in during Thanksgiving week for the three-day tournament. The event helped increase hotel capacity from what is typically around 60 percent this time of year to 90 percent. You see how it works? You take a welcoming destination, put together a well-run athletic tournament, mix well and the result is a lot of fun for athletes and fans and a big boost for the economy of the hard-working host city.

How WE Do It.

Now that you have a better idea of the impact of sports tourism, I'm going to blow your mind a little by localizing it. No, we are not the Bahamas and no, the MHSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament is not the Battle for Atlantis, but it is an example of a major sports tournament in the state that draws thousands of athletes and fans from across the state. When these people travel to East Lansing for this State Championship event they eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores and sleep in area lodging. It adds up to millions of dollars every year and it’s a key economic driver for the area. The Greater Lansing Sports Authority has spent over a decade promoting and positioning Michigan's Capital Region to be a first-rate host city for athletic tournaments and events. What do the planners that choose Greater Lansing have to say? Read for yourself.

Our Results

US Figure Skating
“The Greater Lansing Sports Authority was instrumental in executing the 2014 Midwestern Sectional Figure Skating Championships in November 2013. This event was the second stop on U.S. Figure Skating’s “Road to Sochi” with qualifiers advancing to the 2014 Prudential U.S. Championships for a chance to earn a spot on the 2014 Olympic team. With a heightened spotlight on an Olympic competitive season, the Lansing team went above and beyond to provide a high quality event atmosphere and experience for athletes, coaches, and spectators alike. U.S. Figure Skating appreciates the hard work and professional nature of the Greater Lansing Sports Authority and we look forward to returning to Lansing for more events in the future.”
-Mia Corsini, U.S. Figure Skating

Michigan State University Archery Team
"Working with the GLSA team has been an incredible experience. This partnership has truly allowed our organization to elevate our goals. Knowing that we have the backing of this dedicated group allows for us to reach even higher and take on larger events. Being able to work side by side with an entity like the GLSA, who has the same goals for Archery in the area, makes all of our efforts stronger and more worthwhile."
-Eric Beaudry, MSU Archery Team

Learn more about sports tourism and the local impact at the GLSA website today.