NEW YORK — Almost half of serious American sports fans have traveled out of the country to see a game, according to new research. The survey of 2,000 self-identified “sports fanatics” looked at the extremes that respondents are willing to go to, in order to see their favorite competitions live and in person.
While 45 percent have left the country to see a game, results also found that 35 percent have specifically planned a vacation based on when and where their favorite team is playing. And the same number have taken a spontaneous trip to see their favorite team in action.
How far will people travel for sports games?
Commissioned by Visit Anaheim and conducted by OnePoll ahead of the start of the Major League Baseball season, the survey looked at the rise of sports tourism, and the dedication of fans.
Results found the average respondent would be willing to travel five hours and 48 minutes for a game — and they’d spend $762.20 for tickets. One respondent admitted they missed their friend’s wedding to see their team play, while another traveled 10 hours to another state.
A third person drove two hours, then sat through three flights and a train ride — all in order to get to the stadium where their favorite players were participating in an All-Star Game.
“Whether fans have it on their bucket list to visit every ballpark in the U.S. or they plan an annual trip around seeing their favorite team play, sports venues are not just filled with locals and home team fans anymore,” says Visit Anaheim President & CEO Jay Burress, in a statement.
True die-hard sports fans
Over half (52%) of fans surveyed have a favorite team, and of those, 52 percent said they watch every single one of their team’s games. Forty-two percent of those with a favorite team aren’t picky — they’ll watch any sport when any team is playing. On the other hand, 40 percent will watch any sport, but only when their favorite teams are playing.
And it might not be for their favorite team, but 44 percent already have a trip planned in 2023, to see a specific sporting event.
“There’s nothing quite like seeing your favorite team play in person, and sports are a great thing to plan a vacation around,” says Burress. “Still, it’s good to head to a destination where there’s something for the whole family to enjoy, and where there are a variety of activities nearby so you have options once you’ve finished cheering your team on at the stadium.
“When the Anaheim Ducks play a local team like the LA Kings or the Angels play a drive market team like the San Francisco Giants, Anaheim is seeing out of town fans turn into vacationers as their getaway experience extends beyond the sports venue and into hotels, restaurants and attractions.”
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans who self-identify as “sports fanatics” was commissioned by Visit Anaheim between Feb. 8 and Feb. 10, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).