Sports tourism is a thriving industry that offers a wide range of experiences, from attending a weekend tournament to traveling to see your hometown team play an away game. Despite the fact that major events like the Super Bowl often take place in big cities, smaller markets are also competing for thousands of other events every year.
According to Sports Business Journal, four markets stand out as being under the radar when it comes to winning event bids and providing a major league experience. These four markets include Salem, Virginia, Houston, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky. Despite their underrated status in the industry, these markets are considered by insiders to be top-notch hosts of sports events.
The City of Salem in Virginia is preparing to host its 100th NCAA championship. Meanwhile, recent event wins have helped Houston establish itself as a growing tourism market. Greensboro has earned its reputation as “Tournament Town” by hosting a variety of events, while Louisville has seen an increase in events coinciding with upgraded venues.
Both city and state funds are playing a significant role in attracting sports events and fans to these markets. In addition, a deal with the PGA Tour aims to bring more visitors to South Carolina and put them on course for a major sports event. Overall, the pursuit of major events is an important aspect of sports tourism and has economic benefits for cities and states alike.