17 Sports Tourism Trends for 2017

Clay Partain, director of sports market sales for Visit Salt Lake, is on the frontlines of sports tourism trends. This year, Salt Lake City will host the USA Fencing National Championship and July Challenge Athlete Packet and USA Judo Senior National Championships. “Destinations are lucky to usually get one or two of those every couple of years, and we are now averaging one of those a year,” he says.

The timing couldn’t be better. Partain says he’s seeing a “huge rise in sports” where fans are more interested than ever. “It’s like a gold rush and everybody is realizing their potential and wants their events everywhere,” Partain says.

As a result, sports planners are becoming more educated on what destinations can provide them, he says. That, in and of itself, is a trend driving the industry to new heights. To get an idea of what’s ahead, we consulted leading minds in the field to compile this list of 17 sports tourism trends to watch in 2017.

1. Authentic experiences. Event planners want an experience they can only find in your city, says Jennifer Hawkins, executive director of sports development at SportsPITTSBURGH. Decide what makes your city unique, whether it’s a museum or new restaurants, and celebrate the hot spots.

 2. Growth of nontraditional sports. Think e-sports, which have sold out Madison Square Garden, Staples Center and Oakland, California’s Oracle Arena. “These tournaments are garnering more attendance than NBA games,”says Lawrence Hamm Jr., sports development manager at Destination DC. “Cities are going to be looking at what’s next for competition, not just traditional sports.” Hamm also points to a Spikeball national championship held in October 2016 on the National Mall and Washington’s bid to host the Gay Games in 2022. Other growing sports include gay flag football, wakeboarding, drone racing and orienteering.

3. Visitors want a vacation after the event. “Millennials are looking for cities that offer an extra day or two of activities,” Hawkins says. “They want outdoor adventures, Airbnb and attractions, such as a craft brewery, only a short stroll (or Uber ride) from a lively downtown with great food and nightlife.”

4. Cities are chasing futbol. The heavy pursuit of United Soccer League and Major League Soccer franchises is driving the development of new soccer complexes.  That trickles down to youth soccer programs. Because franchises want to be in cities with strong, local grassroots support for the sport, says Ray Hoyt, president of Visit Tulsa (Oklahoma) and Tulsa Sports Commission. Hoyt says that’s led to a spike in popularity soccer hasn’t seen in this country in two decades.

By Dawn Reiss, January 30, 2017

Final Four 2017 Phoenix Arizona

Final Four 2017 Phoenix Arizona. This is the first time Phoenix will host the Final Four. What an honor! The upcoming 2017 championship weekend will be one of the biggest yet. Thousands of fans visiting the Valley of the Sun, March 31 – April 3.

There will be plenty of activities available for the local community and visitors of all ages to get involved. From community initiatives, to the Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One®, March Madness® Music Festival, and the annual NCAA® Final Four® Dribble fueled by POWERADE. Just to name a few. http://www.phoenixfinalfour.com/volunteer/

Located in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, Phoenix is America’s sixth-largest city. As well the center of a diverse metropolitan area known as the Valley of the Sun. Every year, millions of visitors flock to Arizona to bask in its warm, dry climate. Also to enjoy the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Monument Valley.

Whether it’s a spa day at an iconic resort, a round of golf on a championship course, or a hike on urban mountain trails, there’s something for everyone in Phoenix. http://www.phoenixfinalfour.com/travel-info/

The NCAA Final Four is no longer just three basketball games. It is a weekend-long extravaganza of events for fans of all ages. From the ultimate fan festival called Final Four Fan Fest® to three days of free concerts at the March Madness® Music Festival, Reese’s® Final Four Friday®, youth clinics, a basketball dribble and more. There is non-stop action – most of which is no cost or low cost!

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

Finally the NCAA is committed to leaving a legacy for the community hosting Final Four®. Working alongside the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee, the NCAA will host special free youth events, such as the POWERADE NCAA Youth Clinics and the Final Four Dribble fueled by POWERADE.

The NCAA Legacy Restorations project will refurbish an outdoor basketball court at Harmon Park. In addition it annually serves more than 18,000 neighborhood children, many of them underprivileged. Harmon Park, located at 1239 S. Fifth Ave. in Phoenix, is a landmark in Phoenix basketball circles. It has attracted college and pro players looking for top-flight pickup competition and was used as a training facility by the Harlem Globetrotters.

Therefore with organized basketball leagues, the park offers a variety of programs for children, including karate, arts and crafts, volleyball, soccer, kickball, pickleball, homework help and federal meal programs.

Arizona The Resort State

Arizona The Resort State, Healthy competition among properties raises the bar

Luxury meeting options in The Grand Canyon State are as vast as, say, the Grand Canyon.

Stellar resorts with Native American-themed spas, name-brand golf courses and breathtaking desert scenery are hardly new in Arizona. The Wigwam, outside Phoenix in Litchfield Park, turns 86 this year, and JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa helped set the tone for the brand’s resorts throughout the world when it opened in 1967.

“Having such a variety of luxury resorts throughout the state puts us in a wonderfully unique position to market Arizona as a resort destination,” says Debbie Johnson, director of Arizona Office of Tourism. “Our resorts offer such a wide range of amenities, including golf, dining, spas, pools and recreational activities, as well as some of the most luxurious rooms and suites available. This is particularly important to the Arizona Office of Tourism because meetings bring in business travelers, which provide us the opportunity to showcase our state to a different type of visitor.”

From Tucson to Sedona, and with an impressive collection in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Arizona features so many luxurious meeting properties that it could easily change its name to The Resort State.

“With so many luxury properties in the great state of Arizona, it forces all resorts to push the boundaries of luxury and innovation each year,” says Stephanie Sanstead, director of public relations and marketing communications for Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler. “This certainly elevates the overall guest experience and satisfaction.”

The Phoenician

phoenician-scottsdale
Arizona The Resort State

The Phoenician, Scottsdale

The AAA Five Diamond Scottsdale property has expansive indoor and outdoor event space, measuring 160,000 sq. ft. The glamorous Camelback Ballroom Complex features a 15,000-square-foot ballroom. With a veranda for receptions and outdoor breakout sessions. This unique feature of this property is the variety of accommodations. There are 643 total accommodations. The Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Canyon Suites has 60 guest rooms and suites. Serving as a resort within the resort. Guest rooms in the main building and The Canyon Suites will be remodeled starting this summer. With that said three nine-hole golf courses, 10 restaurants and bars. Eight swimming pools, a spa and an art collection make The Phoenician magical.

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