If you’re a sports fan, especially if you’re a hockey fan, you know how much it costs to see your favourite team play live. The Toronto Maple Leafs have already drummed up some heat this season online for their pricey tickets. It became apparent during the playoff season this year that if Toronto fans wished to see the Leafs play live they were better off booking a trip to Florida to see that game than staying in their hometown! A recent study published by Expedia, Hotels.com and VRBO found that almost half (42 per cent) of Canadian sports fans were more likely to travel and see a game on the road rather than attend a game at home or in their closest sports city.
Here’s what the Sports Travel Road Game report says:
According to the recently published Sports Travel Road Game Report, the average sports fan takes approximately three sports-related trips per year. It’s not just those hungry for the perfect European summer vacay or the backpackers hitting the airports these days, it’s the sports fans too! Die-hard fans even prioritize their sports-related trips more than dining out and going to concerts. The report notes that the average sports fan spends $4,294 per year on sports trips while for football fans, the cost per trip was said to be approximately $500 higher than the average fan trip, and hockey fans estimate an average spend of $1,291 per trip.
“The amount sports fans are willing to spend may seem surprising to non-sports fans until you realize it’s not just about the match — a game on the schedule gives some fans the reason they need to actually book and take their vacation, turning ‘someday’ into a reality,” says Melanie Fish, head of PR for Expedia Group Brands. “We combined the power of Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo to get a comprehensive look at what’s inspiring Canadian sports fans to travel, whether those fans are booking packages, a last-minute room on Hotels.com to see their team clinch a playoff spot or booking a Vrbo to stay with your fellow fans.”
According to the report hockey (47 per cent), baseball (21 per cent), soccer (21 per cent) and basketball (21 per cent) were the sports that people most likely travel for. Now we can understand why Leads fans can never afford games in Toronto! If fans from out of town are willing to travel for the game, prices increase with the increased demand. In fact, according to the report, Toronto is the top destination Canadians are travelling to if they want to see a game live. Toronto was followed by New York City, Montreal, Las Vegas and Vancouver.
Although sports trips are centred around the game and being close to the venue, 44% of fans still reported that proximity to tourist attractions is important for them! You may as well get a visit to the CN Tower or Empire State Building, right? 73% of fans even reported they were willing to spend more if it meant being close to the venue!
If you have an upcoming trip booked, you can thank Hotels.com for the below list of recommended hotels in the top 5 destinations that Canadians reported they would travel to.
- Toronto: With several pro sports teams playing out of the city, Toronto is a great spot to get your sports fix. The Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena are located on the same street, with the Hockey Hall of Fame just a few blocks away. In February 2024, Toronto will play host to the NHL All-Star game for the ninth time in history, and the first time since 2000. Hotels.com recommends: Toronto Marriott City Centre for its spectacular stadium views and ballpark room service eats.
- New York: Hosting some of the most storied and historic franchises, New York is a must for sports travellers. Take a tour of Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden or enjoy a game at one of the city’s many sports bars. Hotels.com recommends: Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel for its proximity — only 0.4 km from Madison Square Garden.
- Montreal: Montrealers are passionate, and it’s no surprise that this extends to their sports teams. The city hosted the Olympic games in 1976, and travellers can still visit Olympic Park to see some of the sites. Nostalgic hockey fans can visit the iconic Montreal Forum which is now a mall but still houses pieces of its past. Hotels.com recommends: Le Centre Sheraton Montreal which is one block away from the Bell Centre.
- Las Vegas: With new teams playing out of Sin City, and a state-of-the-art stadium dominating the skyline, Las Vegas continues to grow as a top sports destination. Fans can enjoy the flashy and over-the-top game entertainment at any of the venues, as well as sports experiences like Top Golf. Hotels.com Recommends: Circa Resort & Casino where spectators can enjoy watching a game on the 43.5-meter jumbotron from the comfort of the rooftop pool.
- Vancouver: Vancouver’s Olympic legacy shines as brightly as the Olympic Cauldron located at Canada Place. Playing host to one of Canada’s biggest international sports moments when both the women’s and men’s hockey teams secured gold on home soil, many sports fans still flock to the sites. Hotels.com recommends: Hotel Blu Vancouver, just a five-minute walk from BC Place.