Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Traveling to see the Red Sox

I keep saying that sports travel is one of the fastest-growing areas of the travel industry. (It's the subject for one of my current book proposals.) The Travel Industry of America reports that during the past five years, more than 63 million American adults have traveled 100 miles or more to attend an organized sporting event. According to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal, spectators in the U.S. spend more than $12 billion a year on travel to and from organized sporting events.

Once again, sports travel has been covered by the mainstream media in an article on baseball vacations in last Friday's New York Times. According to the article, more hotels are offering baseball packages that provide everything from tickets to transportation to souvenirs. It also reports on the growth of tour groups offering baseball-focused trips.

The article opens with an interview with a Red Sox fan who plans his vacations around Sox road trips. That's something many of us Sox fans are doing, if for no other reason than it's the only way to see the team since demand for tickets at Fenway has now passed the "crazy" mark and is clearly at the "insane" level. (Added bonus of seeing the Sox on the road: Catching Sox batting practice, which you can't at Fenway.) Hey, it may also be cheaper to buy airfare, tickets, and hotel to Tampa or Baltimore than it is to get a box seat to Yankees-Sox at Fenway. Plus, no need to spend Saturday in a "virtual" waiting room waiting for tickets as hours of your "real" life waste away. (Sox fans know what I mean by that.)

The Times article mentions the Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston Marriott Copley Place, and Hotel 140 offer room packages with two Red Sox tickets. Rates start at $369 for the Hotel 140 package. Interesting note confirming U.S. is truly Red Sox Nation: for a September game between the Sox and Yankees last September, Stubhub sold tickets to fans from every state except South Dakota. Not even the Super Bowl attracted as geographically diverse a crowd.

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