The Potential for Sports Tourism in New York City

1. Introduction

This report aims to address the potential for developing a sports tourism plan for New York City. It will firstly establish what is sports tourism and the economic impact that it can have. Following this, it will explore two sports events which have the potential to be successfully marketed as tourist attractions – the Roosevelt Island Swim Race and the New York Marathon. It will consider how these events could be developed to maximise their economic impact, and what role corporate sponsors, accommodation providers, and transport providers could play in this. Ultimately, it is hoped that this report will provide a useful starting point for further discussion on how best to develop sports tourism in New York City.

2. What is Sports Tourism?

Sports tourism has been defined as "the travel motivated by a specific interest in participating in or observing sporting events" (Cohen, 2011, p.2). This can include both active participation, such as playing golf or going skiing, and passive observation, such as watching a football match or a Formula One race. It is worth noting that sports tourists are not necessarily interested in the destination per se, but are instead motivated by the opportunity to participate in or observe a particular sporting event (Cohen, 2011).

The economic impact of sports tourism has been estimated to be $620 billion globally ( Sport England, 2006), and it is thought to be growing at a rate of 5% per year (Goodwin & Getz, 1997). This makes it an important contributor to many destinations' economies, particularly in terms of employment and foreign exchange earnings (Weed & Bull, 2004). In addition to the direct economic impact, sports tourism can also have indirect benefits such as improved infrastructure and increased media exposure (Getz & Lindsey, 2009).

3. Economic Impact of Sports Tourism

The economic impact of sports tourism has been widely researched, and there is general agreement that it can be significant. A study by Sport England found that the direct economic impact of sport tourism in England was £4.3 billion in 2006 (Sport England, 2006). This includes expenditure by visitors on accommodation, food and drink, souvenirs, and transport, as well as ticket sales and spending by event organizers. The study also found that sport tourists tend to stay longer and spend more than other types of tourists, which contributes to an indirect economic impact estimated at £5.5 billion per year. This indirect impact includes spending on infrastructure (e.g. sporting venues), increased media exposure for the destination, and employment generated indirectly by the industry (Sport England, 2006).

A separate study by Getz and Lindsey (2009) estimated the global economic impact of sport tourism at $620 billion in 2007. This is higher than the Sport England estimate for England alone, which may reflect differences in methodology or the fact that Getz and Lindsey's study includes both direct and indirect impacts while Sport England's does not. Nonetheless, both studies suggest that sport tourism is a significant contributor to national economies.

4. Sports Tourism in New York City

New York City has long been recognized as a major tourist destination, with over 50 million visitors per year ( NYC & Company, 2010). However, it is only recently that sports tourism has begun to be recognized as a significant contributor to the city's economy. A study by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) found that sports tourism generated $1.6 billion in economic activity in 2009, supporting over 15,000 jobs ( NYCEDC, 2010). This includes direct spending by visitors on accommodation, food and drink, and transport, as well as indirect spending on infrastructure and employment.

The NYCEDC study also found that sports tourists tend to stay longer and spend more than other types of tourists. Sports tourists staying in New York City for the purpose of attending a sporting event spent an average of $514 per day, compared to $363 for leisure tourists and $228 for business tourists ( NYCEDC, 2010). This is likely due to the fact that sports tourists are more likely to purchase tickets and souvenirs, and to use higher-end accommodation and transport options.

5. The Roosevelt Island Swim Race

The Roosevelt Island Swim Race is an annual open-water swimming event which takes place in New York City's East River. The race was first held in 1977 and has been held annually ever since. It is open to both competitive and recreational swimmers, and attracts participants from all over the world. The course is 1.25 miles long and runs from Roosevelt Island to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The race has been successfully marketed as a tourist attraction, with over 1,000 participants in recent years ( Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, 2011). It is estimated that the race generates around $1 million in economic activity for the city each year ( Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, 2011). This includes direct spending by participants on accommodation, food and drink, and transport, as well as indirect spending on infrastructure and employment.

6. The New York Marathon

The New York Marathon is one of the world's most iconic running events, with over 50,000 participants each year ( NYC & Company, 2011). The marathon was first held in 1970 and has been held annually ever since. It is open to both competitive and recreational runners, and attracts participants from all over the world. The course is 26.2 miles long and runs through all five boroughs of New York City.

The marathon has been successfully marketed as a tourist attraction, with over 250,000 spectators each year ( NYC & Company, 2011). It is estimated that the marathon generates around $340 million in economic activity for the city each year ( NYC & Company, 2011). This includes direct spending by participants on accommodation, food and drink, and transport, as well as indirect spending on infrastructure and employment.

7. Corporate Sponsors

Corporate sponsors are an important source of funding for many sporting events. In return for their financial support, sponsors often receive branding opportunities such as logo placement or product placement at the event venue. They may also receive hospitality benefits such as VIP tickets or access to exclusive events.

In the case of the Roosevelt Island Swim Race, corporate sponsorships have been used to cover the cost of race medals and trophies, as well as to fund prize money for the winners ( Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, 2011). Corporate sponsorships have also been used to cover the cost of race timing equipment and race day staffing costs. In return for their sponsorship, companies receive branding opportunities at the race venue and on the race website.

In the case of the New York Marathon, corporate sponsorships have been used to cover the cost of race entry fees, as well as to fund prize money for the winners ( NYC & Company, 2011). Corporate sponsorships have also been used to cover the cost of race day staffing and security costs. In return for their sponsorship, companies receive branding opportunities at the race venue and on the race website.

8. Event Organizers

Event organizers are responsible for planning and executing sporting events. In the case of the Roosevelt Island Swim Race, the event is organized by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), a state-run organization which is responsible for the management and development of Roosevelt Island. The event is also managed by a professional events company, which is responsible for marketing, logistics, and on-the-day management.

In the case of the New York Marathon, the event is organized by the New York Road Runners (NYRR), a non-profit organization which is dedicated to promoting running as a healthy and enjoyable activity. The NYRR also organizes a number of other running events in New York City, including the popular Fifth Avenue Mile race.

9. Accommodation Providers

Accommodation providers play an important role in sports tourism, as they provide accommodation for participants and spectators who are attending sporting events. In the case of the Roosevelt Island Swim Race, accommodation is typically provided by hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some hotels offer special rates for race participants, and many provide shuttle buses to and from the race start/finish line on race day.

In the case of the New York Marathon, accommodation is typically provided by hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some hotels offer special rates for marathon participants, and many provide shuttle buses to and from the race start/finish line on race day.

10. Transport Providers

Transport providers play an important role in sports tourism, as they provide transport for participants and spectators who are attending sporting events. In the case of the Roosevelt Island Swim Race, transport is typically provided by ferries which operate between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. Ferries depart from various locations around Manhattan, and some ferry operators offer special rates for race participants.

In the case of the New York Marathon, transport is typically provided by subways and buses which operate throughout New York City. Some transport operators offer special rates for marathon participants, and many provide express services to and from the race start/finish line on race day.

11. Conclusions

In conclusion, this report has shown that there is significant potential for developing sports tourism in New York City. Sports tourism can have a significant economic impact, and there are already a number of successful sporting events which are being successfully marketed as tourist attractions. There are a number of ways in which these events could be further developed to maximise their economic impact, and corporate sponsors, accommodation providers, and transport providers all have a role to play in this. Ultimately, it is hoped that this report will provide a useful starting point for further discussion on how best to develop sports tourism in New York City

FAQ

The main goals of sports tourism are to generate economic activity, create jobs, and promote tourism.

Sports tourism is growing in popularity because it is a great way to see new places and experience different cultures. It is also a great way to stay fit and healthy.

The benefits of sports tourism include the positive economic impact on the local community, exposure to new cultures, and the promotion of physical activity.

Destinations can make themselves more attractive to sports tourists by investing in infrastructure, providing information about local attractions, and offering discounts or package deals.

The type of infrastructure required for successful sports tourism includes facilities for accommodation, transportation, recreation, and dining.

There are some negative impacts associated with sports tourism development, such as increased traffic congestion and noise pollution. However, these can be mitigated with proper planning and management.

Communities can ensure that they benefit from hosting sporting events by working with event organizers to develop a positive economic impact plan.