Professional sports fans' interests in hosting an international visitor at a game: evidence for 'sports hosts'
by Eric C. Schwarz; Aurélie Pankowiak
International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing (IJSMM), Vol. 20, No. 5/6, 2020

Abstract: A growing number of sport enthusiasts travel overseas to attend professional sports games. In parallel, fans of local professional leagues seek unique social experiences when attending games. Sport tourism literature suggests that social interactions between hosts and guests provide a unique experience for both, however, knowledge about local sports fans' interests in interacting with international travellers is lacking. This research explored the interests of fans hosting international tourists during a regular-season game. Qualitative content analysis was performed on survey responses from 1,222 Australian Football League (AFL) fans interested in hosting an international traveller at a game. Four main factors emerged: connection with people (75.5%), being an AFL game promoter (42.6%), fans' emotional attachment (34.2%), and providing the visitor a distinctive experience (27.3%). This study provides evidence on the emergence of a 'sport host' as a sporting experience consumer. Implications for sport tourism and fan engagement researchers and practitioners are discussed.

Online publication date: Tue, 18-May-2021

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