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Sports ETA Releases its 2023 "State of the Industry" Report for the $128 Billion Sport Tourism Industry

May 3rd, 2024


For the full report, please visit 2023 State of the Industry Report.

Contact: Jackie Reau, Game Day
(513) 708-5822 |

Note to media: To request an interview with John David, President & CEO of Sports ETA, please contact Jackie Reau.

Sports ETA releases its 2023 “State of the Industry” Report for the $128 Billion Sport Tourism Industry

Top 10 U.S. states with highest economic impact generated by sports tourism in 2023
revealed for the first time

PORTLAND, OREGON (April 24, 2024, 12 PM PDT) – Sports ETA, the trade association for the sports events and tourism industry, released its highly anticipated annual State of the Industry Report for 2023 today. The report underscores the strength of the sports tourism sector, showcasing a direct spending impact of $52.2 billion, which generated a total economic impact of $128 billion. This monumental contribution supported 757,600 full-time and part-time jobs and contributed $20.1 billion in taxes to various sectors of the economy.

The association’s last benchmark report, “Sports Tourism: State of the Industry Report 2022” in America presented by the Sports Events and Tourism Association in partnership with Northstar Meetings Group” was released in 2022 to benchmark 2021, and concluded that U.S. sports-related travelers, event organizers, and venues spent a total of $91.8 billion.

The study was conducted by Tourism Economics, with support from Northstar Meetings Group, the leading multi-platform brand for dedicated meeting and business planners and sports event organizers, and the presenting sponsor of the association’s “Annual State of the Industry” research report.

The analysis draws on the following data sources to quantify sports tourism, which includes adult and youth amateur events and collegiate tournaments (the economic impact analyses conducted within the report exclude professional sports and collegiate regular season games):

  • Sports ETA: destination membership survey data
  • Longwoods International: traveler survey data, including spending and visitor profile characteristics for sports tourism nationwide
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics: employment and wage data, by industry
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics: U.S. domestic average itinerary fares
  • U.S.Travel Association: domestic travel data
  • STR: lodging data  
  • Sports attendance data

“The sport tourism industry continued to grow in 2023, increasing by 7% over sports traveler volume in 2022,” said John David, President & CEO of Sports ETA. “The number of sports travelers in America established a new high-water mark of 204.9 million in 2023.”

Key Highlights from the 2023 Sports ETA State of the Industry Report include:

  • Sports travelers spent $52.5 billion dollars in 2023 on the following:
    • $13.5 billion on transportation
    • $10.9 billion on lodging
    • $9.7 billion on food and beverages

Recreation, retail, and tournament operations rounded out spending, registering $6.9 billion, $6.5 billion, and $4.7 billion, respectively.

The lodging sector accounted for 21% of all sports-related travel spending. In 2023, sports-related travel generated 73.5 million room nights, which is an important factor given that hotel taxes are a primary funding source for many entities.

Top 10 States for Most Economic Impact by Sports Tourism Unveiled

For the first time ever, the Sports ETA State of the Industry Report has identified the Top 10 list of states in terms of the economic impact generated by sports tourism in 2023. Data provided by sports tourism industry stakeholders and economic data were utilized in the ranking analysis. Sports tourism marketing funds and other initiatives, such as bid fees and local grants, also influence how states perform. They are:

1.  Florida
2.  Texas
3.  California
4.  Pennsylvania
5.  Illinois
6.  Ohio
7.  New York
8.  Tennessee
9.  Georgia
10.  Virginia

“Each state played an integral role in sports tourism in 2023,” said David. “The addition of the Top 10 list of states generating economic impact with sports tourism allows us to analyze best practices for all of our members.”

It should be noted that some states naturally generate a larger share of the impact given the size (population and land mass), seasonality, location within the U.S. and destination infrastructure (i.e., airports, sports venues, and hotel supply).


About Sports ETA:

As the only trade association for the sports events and tourism industry, Sports ETA is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), and sports event owners. Sports ETA is committed to the success of more than 850 member organizations and 2,400 sports event professionals. We promise to deliver quality education, ample networking opportunities, and exceptional event management and marketing know-how to our members to protect the integrity of the sports events and tourism industry.  For more information, visit

About Northstar Meetings Group:

Northstar Meetings Group is the leading B-to-B information and marketing solutions company serving all segments of the sports, business meetings, events and incentives market. The company’s audience includes full-and part-time event organizers, as well as sports, corporate, association and not-for-profit decision-makers, and incentive professionals, facilitating their professional development and achievement of business goals. The company's influential brands – SportsTravel, Meetings & Conventions, SuccessfulMeetings, Associations Meetings International, Meetings & Incentive Travel, Meeting News, Incentive and M&C Asia – currently serve nearly 500,000 active meeting planners, event organizers and incentive professionals across an integrated suite of data, digital, events and print products. In addition to publishing SportsTravel, the Sports Division organizes several industry-leading conferences, including the TEAMS Conference, TEAMS Europe and the EsportsTravelSummit. For more information, please visit

About Tourism Economics:

Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, focuses on the intersection of the economy and travel sector, providing actionable insights to our clients. We provide our worldwide client base of over 300 leading companies, associations, and destinations with direct access to the most comprehensive set of historic and forecast travel data available. Our team of specialist economists develops custom economic impact studies, policy analysis, and forecast models to help drive better marketing, investment, and policy decisions.