According to CBC News, the city of Calgary has announced its plans to convert three downtown towers into residential housing and hotel units.
Report: Expedia Group, Hotels.com and Vrbo release top desired locations for Canadian sports fans
A recent report from Expedia Group, Hotels.com and Vrbo found that almost half (42 per cent) of Canadian sports fans were more likely to travel and see a game on the road rather than attend a game at home or in their closest sports city.
The Sports Travel Road Game Report also found that the average fan takes approximately three sports trips per year, and that 80 per cent of fans are looking to take either the same or more trips in the upcoming year than they did the previous year.
Fans prioritized sports travel over dining at restaurants and going to concerts and reported spending on average $4,294 per year on sports trips (including travel, accommodation, tickets and food). For football fans, the cost per trip was said to be approximately $500 higher than the average fan trip, while hockey fans estimate an average spend of $1,291 per trip.
"The amount sports fans are willing to spend may seem surprising to non-sports fans until you realize it's not just about the match—a game on the schedule gives some fans the reason they need to actually book and take their vacation, turning 'someday' into a reality," says Melanie Fish, head of public relations for Expedia Group Brands. "We combined the power of Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo to get a comprehensive look at what's inspiring Canadian sports fans to travel, whether those fans are booking packages, a last-minute room on Hotels.com to see their team clinch a playoff spot or booking a Vrbo to stay with your fellow fans."
Fans reported hockey (47 per cent), baseball (21 per cent), soccer (21 per cent) and basketball (21 per cent) were the top sports they were looking to travel and watch in person over the next 12 months, and many were just as likely to travel for American pro football as they are for Canadian football (16 per cent).
While the majority (72 per cent) of fans said the game itself was the best part of being there in person, there are other reasons the in-person experience has so much appeal over watching games on a screen:
Cheering along with the crowd (55 per cent)
The chance to gather socially with friends and family (47 per cent)
In-game entertainment (30 per cent)
For specialty events like awards ceremonies and outdoor games, almost half (45 per cent) reported they were more likely to travel for these occasions than regular games. In fact, Expedia flight data shows bookings for Nashville, Tenn., saw an increase of 135 per cent during pro hockey's annual awards festivities in June 2023 when compared to the previous week.
As for where Canadians are travelling to, Toronto came in as the most desired destination in the world for Canadian sports fans.
New York, N.Y.
Las Vegas, Nev.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Tools for fans:
Conversational trip planning: iOS users can use Expedia's AI feature powered by ChatGPT to make sports travel planning easier. Start an open-ended conversation in the Expedia app to get recommendations for sports-themed trips, or where to eat around the stadium.
Trip Planner: For the first time, travellers now have one place to collaborate and engage with friends and family. Group members can like, comment, save more ideas, and see what's already been booked across places to stay, flights, activities and car rentals. Available on the Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo apps.
Price tracking: view price history, receive alerts when prices fluctuate, and understand when prices are likely to change to take the guesswork out of booking your next sports trip.
Packages: bundle your trip elements to unlock instant savings in the Expedia app. Expedia members can also apply air mileage numbers at checkout to double dip and earn points even faster, meaning more savings to put towards the next sports trip.
When deciding where to take vacation, travellers were more inclined to look at the schedule and choose a destination where their favourite team was playing (53 per cent), rather than following a favourite player (19 per cent); or choosing a destination and seeing any local team (12 per cent). Forty-two percent have planned a sports trip around a birthday.
When it came to deciding where to stay or what activities to do, 64 per cent said they felt inspired by athlete and team social media accounts and would add a featured activity or hotel to their itinerary. Soccer fans (80 per cent), esports fans (78 per cent), and hockey fans (64 per cent) were the most likely to be influenced by athletes on social media.
Regardless of fandom, Gen Z was most inclined to find trip inspiration from athletes (79 per cent), and the breakdown between men and women was nearly even (67 per cent versus 66 per cent, respectively).
Over half of fans (53 per cent) said proximity to the arena was very important to them, but 44 per cent also wanted lodging to be close to other tourist attractions, proving that sports trips aren't just about the games themselves. Other top amenities for fans included complimentary breakfast (41 per cent) and discounted nightly rates (34 per cent).
The majority of fans also admitted they're willing to shell out more on accommodation that's closer to the arena (73 per cent). Those aged 55+ were most interested in closer accommodation, but they were also the group least willing to pay extra for it.
Fans were also interested in staying in vacation rentals, like Vrbo, where they could stay together and enjoy private amenities such as pools and hot tubs. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents said they would consider booking a vacation rental for an upcoming sports trip.
Hotels.com put together a list of great hotels for sports fans in the top desired destinations:
Toronto: With several pro sports teams playing out of the city, Toronto is a great spot to get your sports fix. The Rogers Centre and Scotiabank arena are located on the same street, with the Hockey Hall of Fame just a few blocks away. In February 2024, Toronto will play host to the NHL All-Star game for the ninth time in history, and the first time since 2000. Hotels.com recommends: Toronto Marriott City Centre for its spectacular stadium views and ballpark room service eats.
New York: Hosting some of the most storied and historic franchises, New York is a must for sports travellers. Take a tour of Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden or enjoy a game at one of the city's many sports bars. Hotels.com recommends: Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel for its proximity—only 0.4 km from Madison Square Garden.
Montreal: Montrealers are passionate, and it's no surprise that this extends to their sports teams. The city hosted the Olympic games in 1976, and travellers can still visit Olympic Park to see some of the sites. Nostalgic hockey fans can visit the iconic Montreal Forum which is now a mall, but still houses pieces of its past. Hotels.com recommends: Le Centre Sheraton Montreal which is one block away from the Bell Centre.
Las Vegas: With new teams playing out of Sin City, and a state-of-the-art stadium dominating the skyline, Las Vegas continues to grow as a top sports destination. Fans can enjoy the flashy and over-the-top game entertainment at any of the venues, as well as sports experiences like Top Golf. Hotels.com Recommends: Circa Resort & Casino where spectators can enjoy watching a game on the 43.5-meter jumbotron from the comfort of the rooftop pool.
Vancouver: Vancouver's Olympic legacy shines as brightly as the Olympic Cauldron located at Canada Place. Playing host to one of Canada's biggest international sports moments when both the women's and men's hockey teams secured gold on home soil, many sports fans still flock to the sites. Hotels.com recommends: Hotel Blu Vancouver, just a five-minute walk from BC Place.
A Vrbo for every fan trip:
Golf foursome friendcations: This large home in Inverness, N.S., is only a 10-minute drive from Cabot Links and averages $650 per night, meaning each person pays $163 before taxes and still gets their own room, access to shared spaces, a full kitchen, and a backyard. Golf trip tip: in the Vrbo app, type the name of the golf course into the search bar to get properties in the area, and then filter for the number of rooms.
Viewing-party places: The Kissimmee, Fla. home boasts an indoor 'drive-in' complete with a truck and large-screen TV to tailgate without leaving home, an outdoor TV by the pool to float while watching football and sleeps 18.
Hassle-free homes: By entering the name of the stadium, pitch or arena in the Vrbo app, fans can find properties close to stadiums, arenas and pitches that provide hassle-free options to skip the traffic and parking costs. This Edmonton loft is just one block from Rogers Place, and a 10-minute walk to Commonweath Stadium.