IU study looks at youth sports tourism


Youth baseball tournment at Middle Tennessee State University (Courtesy Photo of IU Newsroom). Buy Photos

A recent IU study revealed that changes in marketing strategies could grow youth sports tourism, a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry.

The study was lead by Richard Buning, an assistant professor in the School of Physical Education and Tourism management at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Cassandra Coble, a clinical assistant professor in the IU School of Public Health. It looked at youth sports, which are non-school-related sports activities organized through local programs, according to an IU press release.

Parents spend as much as $20,000 a year to take their children to youth sporting events, according to the release.

“There’s a wide range of people doing it, with some families making one trip a year,” Buning said in the release. “But some families whose children are playing at an elite level may take 10, 20 or 30 trips a year.”

Although there is data on youth sports tourism expenses such as gasoline, airfare, hotel rooms and meals, there is little data on the travel experience itself.

“There’s been little research to see what people want out of these types of trips, how they make decisions related to this type of travel, what they look for in destinations and events, and what their experiences are like when they go on this type of trip,” Buning said in the release.

Travelers typically have limited planning before a trip to a sporting event. Parents, young athletes and support staff have little free time outside of sporting events, according to the release.

However, creative marketing strategies could engage travelers to let them know what’s available at the destination. Marketing toward organizers, coaches and team facilitators could further engage youth sports tourists.

Emily Eckelbarger

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