The sports tourism industry is a multibillion dollar market that attracts millions of visitors each year. While major events like the Super Bowl often take place in big cities, smaller markets are also competing for thousands of other events every year. According to Sports Business Journal, there are four markets that are under the radar when it comes to winning event bids and providing a major league experience: Salem, Virginia, Houston, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky.
The City of Salem in Virginia is preparing to host its 100th NCAA championship. This event is expected to bring in millions of visitors and contribute significantly to the local economy. In Houston, recent event wins have contributed to a growing tourism market. Greensboro is living up to its reputation as “Tournament Town” by hosting a variety of events this year. Meanwhile Louisville is seeing an increase in events coinciding with upgraded venues.
City and state funds are helping both large and small cities attract sports events and fans. For example, South Carolina recently struck a deal with the PGA Tour that aims to bring more visitors to the state and put them on course for a major sports event. Overall, the pursuit of major events is an important aspect of sports tourism and has economic benefits for cities and states.