There’s a certain level of raised optimism in the air when there’s a sporting event in town and as much as I’d like to speak about how things were when we hosted and won the 66 World Cup, the truth is I wasn’t around back then, so all I can really refer to are the London Summer Olympics which hit town in 2012. The air is just different and even those people who aren’t too interested in sport otherwise join in on all the festivities and end up having a really good time.
It’s a different experience when you’re the one travelling to another country however in pursuit of a major sporting event that’s taking place as you pretty much experience that destination in a state of fever pitch and not really how it ordinarily is. This is not a bad thing at all because I really think sporting events bring out the very best in people — my drunken friends included, although you do get isolated events that can be firmly put in the unsavoury box.
South Africans will gladly tell you for instance that the crime rates dropped quite considerably when they enjoyed hosting the 2010 World Cup in that part of the world, but what they’ll also tell you is perhaps that the company selling stab-proof vests was taking things a little too far since things really aren’t that bad in any case.
So anyway, it’s a different animal altogether when you’re the one jumping on a plane to go and watch a major sporting event being hosted elsewhere or indeed if you’re merely following your favourite team around to see how they fare, live. Either way, it is a very intriguing world — the world of sports travel because for the most part it requires you to think on your feet and in many respects plan as you go along. From having to negotiate with ticket resellers some of the best last-minute prices for sold-out tickets to sometimes having to settle for catching the game in some pub somewhere because you simply couldn’t get tickets to attend the live event, a whole lot of intrigue comes with sports travel.
The hotels and other places of accommodation stationed closest to where the live action is set to play out are fully aware of the event and so they usually hike their prices, so it’s best to perhaps seek accommodation a little further away. That should balance out with your commuting costs however, so that’s just one of the many considerations to take into account.
Normally professional sports teams offer some limited travel packages for those of their fans who are willing to pay a pretty penny for it, which can even include enjoying the chance to fly with the team to the event’s venue, but this package is often all-inclusive, so you might also be paying for that expensive hotel you perhaps were trying to avoid in the first place.
Otherwise following your favourite sports team around is the perfect excuse for going away on your next trip.