Remember those days when cricket fans used to get up at 4 am in the morning to watch the crickets matches played in Australia/Newzealand? Their grounds, the chilled spectators, the surrounding areas looked so beautiful, especially the grounds in NZ where you could see the hills/greenery around. And everybody who watched those matches on television here in India wished they could actually be physically there to see the match
And that is what happening today. With higher disposable incomes, the zeal to travel and of course the love for sports, Sports enthusiasts are travelling around the world to be a part of the biggest tournaments and watch their favourite stars in action, and also explore the various destinations around.
More and more people are now planning travel itineraries around sports events (although the trend was started by celebrities.)
For the past few year, Bollywood and Indian cricket stars were seen attending Wimbledon matches and then exploring the lanes of London and having a great time with the family.
Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar were present at the Centre Court to watch Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic battle it out in the finals. Farhan Akhtar and Huma Qureshi were spotted together cheering for Sania Mirza.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2014
Ranveer Singh, a sports fanatic, took a much needed break from his hectic shoots and went to the United Kingdom (he did not call it off because of the terrorist attacks at the Manchester Arena) where he caught up on all the major sporting action in the UK.
Ranveer watched the Real Madrid v/s Juventus UEFA Champions League final match at the Millenium Stadium, followed by the Champions Trophy India-Pakistan cricket match in Birmingham.
And this is not the first time that he traveled such a far distance to watch his favourite league games. Last year, he went to Canada to watch the NBA All-Star game (and was tweeting live from the venue).
Besides watching the games, Ranveer did shopping, explored London by foot, and caught up with friends.
“It was Sanjay Leela Bhansali who recommended the rejuvenating trip as the entire crew of Padmavat agreed that Ranveer needed this break.”
Ranveer Singh is on a planned break from the shooting of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati.
Also Read: Top Ranveer Singh Ads.
Now that the celebrities have shown the way, Indians (with deeper pockets) have started following the trend and are now literally chasing the big games/tournaments!
And as per sources in the travel industry, Indian travelers are not just passionate about cricket. Besides cricket, they love Wimbledon, English Premier Leagues, Formula 1 racing, and even NBA, and flock to see their favourite teams and players in action, be it in any corner of the world.
The “brag value” of visiting an international destination and watching the top teams/players live in action is a big motivational factor today for many.
And although it turns out to be expensive (holidaying during major sports events), the experience is just unbeatable for many. Watching a high octane match, with thousands of other global fans, gives a totally new twist to exploring a destination, which many find it difficult to resist.
Here are some interesting facts shared by tour operators about (Indian) sports travellers:
- For many, going for a major game is a larger-than-life event; the game becomes a part of a larger tour. They usually travel in a group or with families, are high spenders and stay for longer duration.” – Yatra.com.
- “We’ve been seeing strong interest from MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) groups/corporates for our event packages to The Olympics, FIFA, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, IPL, F1-GP events, Wimbledon. To attract travellers, we even add elements like our super car drive in Germany to the trip.” – Thomas Cook”What is also becoming popular are tours to stadiums and dressing rooms of the teams. It is very common for tourists to visit The Oval, Old Trafford, San Siro Stadium, MCG, Lords, etc.” – TravelTriangle.Host nations are aware of the big boost that their economy could get from these travelers during big sports events, besides shining on the world map of course.
During the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Tourism boards of Australia & New Zealand worked together to come out with a ‘Single visa policy’ to ensure the sports travellers for the tournament visited both the countries, irrespective of where the matches were held. And the move was a big success.
So what’s next on the radar of sports aficionados? Its the Rio Olympics, and sports aficionados have already started looking for deals and destinations to explore.
Image c/o Abhijit Athavale, Flickr