Sports Tourism

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How many times have you been in a Subway restaurant in Minot or a local gas station and you see a group of kids in the same sports uniform? How many times have you asked yourself, "What are these kids doing in town?"? Well, if you're anything like me, then this has happened to you several times. Did you ever think that there may be more questions to ask yourself than just "What are these kids doing in town?"? Sports Tourism is one the fastest growing industries in the world. It is also, however, one of the least talked about. Tourism has been and will continue to be one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world. Obviously sports are a very important aspect to society in many different ways. Culturally, Economically, and Socially, the role sports play in today's society is immeasurable. But, what is Sports Tourism? I intend to answer that question and also give several examples of how Sports Tourism is becoming an increasingly important aspect to many different country's economies. I will also give some specific examples of sports that are big money makers in the Sports Tourism realm and how Sports Tourism affects the city of Minot and the states of North Dakota and Arizona. First, however, we need to define what Sports Tourism actually is.

Before we can define what Sports Tourism is, we need to define what Sports are and what Tourism is. Sports can be anything that includes one more of the basic physical elements of sport such as running, jumping, throwing, hitting, sliding, catching, shooting, dribbling or participation, attendance, organizing, learning a sports skill or watching sports teams, groups or individuals compete or sports competition against self, nature, or a person. One of the things that people have a very difficult time with are determining what is a sport and what is not a sport. There are several sports that always seem to have this question asked about them, "Is (fill in a sport here) a sport?". Golf, bowling, darts, and auto racing seem to always be at the top of those lists. It seems people always have a reason that these should not be considered sports. "Golf isn't a sport because it is not as physically demanding as football or basketball. Bowling and darts aren't sports because you don't have to be athletic to do them. Auto racing isn't a sport because all they do is drive around a car all day." However, according to the definition of Sports in the above sentences, they all would be considered sports. In golf, bowling, and darts you are either throwing or hitting another object and in auto racing, like the other three, you are competing against other people in the same field of play. Sports have also become a multi-billion dollar industry. From the sale of sports teams for billions of dollars, the signing of hundred million dollar contracts by professional athletes, and the astronomical prices of sponsorship opportunities for athletes sports is a huge industry that has become a defining force in the lives of millions of people throughout the world. An example of the value, in terms of dollars, of sports is that global sports sponsorships have reached $20 billion dollars. (Kurtzman, 47) Also, to give an idea of just how much sports have grown the New York Yankees were worth an estimated $241 million dollars in 1997. Today, the New York Yankees have become the first team in Major League Baseball to be worth over $1 billion dollars. In just nine years the New York Yankees have increased their worth over $700 million dollars.

Next, we must define Tourism. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism as the act of travel for the purpose of recreation and business. Tourists are people who are traveling to and staying places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited, the distance between these two...
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