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SportsHosts aims to create global link between fans and sporting events

SportsHosts aims to create global link between fans and sporting events
February 15, 2017

An innovative concept that will see international visitors connect with residents in locations around the world, and then go and watch sport, has been launched.

Designed to connect sports fans around the world, SportsHosts encourages local hosts to share gameday with visitors, taking them to the game, as well as showing them a few of their favourite local venues.

With the aim of giving travellers local insights into the sport and the destination, SportsHosts Chief Executive and co-founder Darren Walls states “the concept is best explained by imagining yourself flying into a city such as Madrid and wanting to see an El Clasico game. You meet up with some locals, share some wine, watch the game with the real fans and then spend the evening at your host's favorite tapas bars eating amazing food and enjoying local wines as opposed to going as an outsider to the game and just looking in.”

Walls explains that the concept was conceived because “people want to be travellers, not tourists, they want authentic experiences living like a local and meeting locals.

“And because people want truly authentic experiences the host are not paid (rather) travellers get to meet locals who are passionate about showing international guest their city and sport.”

Walls adds “when we developed the idea we were concerned it would have little or no appeal for hosts given they are not paid, but our 2016 trials in Australia and North America surprised us greatly as hosts are keen, they love their sport and want to show off their city.”

The 2016 SportsHosts trials included participants from 10 different countries and were undertaken in partnership with the AFL, Collingwood, and the Western Bulldogs in Australia.

The SportsHosts team also travelled to North America and attended Major League Baseball across four cities in Canada and the United States.

The trials were authentic as travellers were recruited through promotions online and through backpacker hostels. Hosts were recruited through the clubs and online.

SportsHosts co-founder Amy Johnson advises “sure we attracted sports fans but the most surprising outcome was the number of shy Asian girls who had seen very little or no live sport before, they joined the trials to meet locals and see something fun and different.

“It was also important we trialled the concept ourselves in North America as we now know how brilliant it is firsthand.

"I will never travel any other way after meeting and sharing some amazing experiences with locals, experiences that you will never get as a tourist.”

The idea was developed after extensive research into trends related to sports and tourism, and the concept is based on four major trends:

1. Sports tourism represents one of the fastest-growing sectors in global tourism.

2. Sports fans now act and think globally.

3. The sharing economy is one of the fastest growing business sectors.

4. Seeking authentic experiences and meeting locals when travelling are dominant social trends.

SportsHosts is currently developing a global online community, to ensure an active community is in place to support the platform launch in the first half of 2017.

Walls concludes “we believe it’s critical we have an active community in place before launching the platform, as we want our users to have a great experience from day one.”

The SportsHosts digital platform includes a website and app where hosts can list their profiles and travellers can contact hosts based on preferred sport, location, dates and other personal preferences.

Hosts do not provide accommodation. 

For more information go to www.sportshosts.com

Images: Collingwood fans were part of SportsHosts trials (top) and Darren Walls (below). YouTube video shows fans reactions to SportsHosts at the Australian Open,

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