If you are involved in the sport tourism travel affiliate industry, or are interested in doing so, you should consider booking travel reservations to Johannesburg, South Africa for July 5th – 9th, 2010.  That’s when the World Sport Destination Expo, the first-ever international sports tourism conclave, is scheduled to be held immediately preceding the biggest global sports event of the year, the 2010 FIFA World Cup championship.  If you do attend, you’ll be in very good company – according to the Expo’s sponsors, at least 250,000 visitors, including the leading decision-makers in the sport tourism industry, are expected to attend this ground-breaking event.

The centerpiece of the World Sport Destination Expo is the sports tourism conference which will feature a line-up of leading speakers and delegates drawn from the sports, tourism and sports tourism industries from around the world.  Running concurrently with the conference will be a trade show with over 400 exhibitors that represent international sports federations, national and regional tourist boards, sports ticketing agencies, sports-related tour operators, and global hotel chains and resorts, among others.

Speaking to reporters at a news briefing last week, Chris Frost, Event Director for the World Sport Destination Expo said “We have been overwhelmed with the uptake for World Sport Destination Expo. Frost pointed out that the conference portion is designed to foster both networking and deal making, as it is structured so buyers and sellers can meet to conduct business, make new contacts, and un-lock the potential of – and drive sales in – this hugely profitable market.  “If you work in sports and tourism, or if you want to learn how to tap into a market now worth $600 billion a year and rising, this will be the ultimate forum to show your product to the world and conduct lucrative business deals,” Frost added.

TravelDividends realizes that not all travel affiliates interested in sports tourism will be able to attend the Expo.  However, those that can’t participate shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to tap into this rich market.  For example, there are a number of sports-related tour operators and sports ticketing services that offer travel affiliate programs.  Signing-up with one or several of these players could provide many travel affiliates with a new and important part of their overall revenue stream.

To highlight some of the opportunities in this super travel niche, we offer the following companies as representative examples of the types of players that distribute through the affiliate channel, and the programs they offer  :

Sports-Related Tour Operators

  • Premier Sports Travel – The largest tour operator for NASCAR, as well as a major player in numerous other sporting events around the world including the Final Four, The Masters, Kentucky Derby, Super Bowl, World Series, BCS Bowl games.Premier Sports Travel pays 5% commission on each tour package sold to customers delivered to their site by their travel affiliate partners. Click here for more information about their travel affiliate program.
  • RacePackage.com – A race tour operator focusing exclusively on two racetracks – Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Take a look at RacePackage.com’s affiliate home page to learn more about their travel affiliate program.
  • GolfZoo.com – One of the largest tour operators focusing exclusively in the golf niche, GolfZoo features over 40 of the best golf destinations in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean in its product portfolio, and provides its customers with the ability to dynamically tailor their tour package to their individual needs.The Company pays travel affiliates 5% commission for each booking, and charges a $100 one-time set-up fee. Details of their travel affiliate program can be found here.

Sports Ticketing Services

  • Ticket Liquidator – One of the largest event ticket brokers in the U.S., Ticket Liquidator currently has more than 3.2 million tickets to 60,000 events in its database, including what they claim to be “the biggest and best database of hard-to-find tickets in the world.”Tickets available for sporting events include every professional sports league (e.g., MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, UFC), as well as a wide range of individual events like tennis matches, rodeos, boxing, the Olympics and much more.Their travel affiliate program offers commissions of up to 11% on tickets, and claim that the average order in the customer’s shopping basket is $400. TicketLiquidator’s travel affiliate program is run in-house, details of which can be found at their affiliate info page.
  • StubHub – Known as the company that “reinvented the ticket resale market,” StubHub has built on that innovative idea and today it’s considered by many as the world’s largest event ticket marketplace. StubHub’s technology enables fans to buy and sell tickets to tens of thousands of sports, concert, theater and other live entertainment events around the world.The Company pays travel affiliates an 8% commission on each booking. Additional information about its travel affiliate program, which is managed by Commission Junction, can also be found at StubHub’s affiliate FAQ page.

It’s well known that many travel affiliates (and generalist affiliate marketers) have been actively working with event ticket brokers since the dawn of affiliate marketing back in the mid-1990s.  However, TravelDividends thinks that there is significant potential for travel affiliates to grow their sales in the sports tourism market by partnering with the specialty sports tour operators like Premier Sports, RacePackage, GolfZoo and others of their ilk.  In our opinion, these types of players hit the long tail ‘sweet spot’.

Do you agree with our assessment?  What have been your experiences with the sports tourism industry, either from the tour operator / retailer perspective, or through event ticket brokers?  You can contact us via email…as always, we very much welcome your feedback.