Sports travel craze is on the rise

Sports travel craze is on the rise

If some travelers dream of white sand beaches or epics in the heart of the African savannah, for many sports enthusiasts, there is no finer destination than a football stadium, a tennis court or an amphitheater of the NHL.

Whether they prefer to go with other big fans on an organized trip or, even, to determine their itinerary with a few friends, several of these enthusiasts told the Journal of their most beautiful journey.

There’s something for everyone, from central Wimbledon (you have to be a bit lucky – or have some contacts – for this one!) to a football match with 80,000 spectators in Italy, passing, of course, by twenty NFL stadiums.

They also gave us their best advice and suggested their favorite destinations… while waiting to leave, a question of adding a little more to their already extensive roadmap.

Because after two years of pandemic which, in most cases, reduced their opportunities to attend a match thousands of kilometers from home to zero, the craze for this type of trip has resumed with renewed vigor.

Before the start of the NFL season, Martin Beauregard, of Voyages Sportifs MB, noted that he was now doing business with two types of travellers: “Those who still want to do it, and do plenty” and “those who are still a little chilly and who feared that everything would stop again”.

NFL: two or three times more expensive

The pandemic limited Rêve Sportif, the company that bought the well-known “Sports on a trip” in 2006, to three coach trips between March 2020 and last summer.

“Three trips is what we usually do in a weekend! says the owner, Éric Grenier.

“But when we put our NFL packages on sale, our website crashed for the first time. People crave travel, they want to get out and experience it. I even think that the enthusiasm is greater than before the pandemic, ”he adds.

And this, despite the restrictions still in force, as in the United States, the destination par excellence for Quebecers in terms of sports trips, where proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is still required.

There is also the rise in prices which could put a spoke in the wheels of some travellers. “You should no longer expect to pay for a hotel room at the same price as during the pandemic,” notes Martin Beauregard.

” The costs [des billets] have also increased, especially in the NFL, he also points out. The league realizes that even if it blows its prices, it is full everywhere. So the cost of tickets increased two to three times [depuis la pandémie]. »

This increase was also noted by Jean-Sébastien Cloutier, a big fan of the New England Patriots who went to see several games in recent years, both at Gillett Stadium and elsewhere.

“To go see the Patriots [à Foxboro] in October, it cost me almost $1600, he illustrates. You have to be quite passionate… But I have to say that I buy good tickets, often in the 15th row from the field.

“There are some who like to spend on something else, me, that’s why,” adds the man from Lévis.

But the interest in the NFL is not diminishing, notes Éric Grenier all the same.

Each year, the agency organizes around a hundred coach trips. The NFL constitutes “80% of [son] turnover”.

“The city of Boston, for Patriots games, remains the most popular destination,” he explains. We have 52 season tickets [au Gillett Stadium] and as soon as we put them on sale, it’s complete in time to say. »

Winning combos

Most enthusiasts will tell you, however: in order to maximize the experience, it is better to combine sports during this type of trip, which often lasts a weekend for destinations in North America.

Mr. Grenier notices it. “The trips we offer that combine an NHL game on Saturday night and an NFL game on Sunday are always very profitable,” he says.

And the offer is diversifying. When speaking to the Journal, Martin Beauregard, who organizes both individual and group excursions, was preparing an itinerary for a soccer fan who wanted to see Manchester United play in England.

Rêve Sportif also offers trips to see UFC fights or NASCAR races. The idea came from a company employee who is a fan. “We have even already made a wrestling trip [de WrestleMania] in New York, where there were 80,000 people! We were three buses from Quebec, so we were about 150, ”points out Mr. Grenier.

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