Sports provide the tourism industry with a consistent series of events and spectacles for countries, cities and venues across the world to hang their hat on. Sports enthusiasts are now looking for that next evolution of their sporting fandom, whether that’s upgrading a previous experience or ticking something further afield off their sports travel bucket list.

There was a time where formal hospitality at a Premier League stadium represented the peak football fan experience, it was a treat for a die-hard supporter, allowing them to experience their favourite side from an entirely different perspective, whether that be rubbing shoulders with a club legend or enjoying a pre-match meal in comfort.

But while formal hospitality does still hold a sense of prestige, there is a definite shift in the landscape when it comes to the fan experience. There is now a desire from supporters to add more to their match-day experience and it’s up to sports travel operators, such as ourselves, to shift our product and our offering to meet this demand.

Our focus in recent years has been working with our Premier League partner clubs to understand what supporters want from their match day experiences and deliver something that goes above and beyond their expectations.

One example comes via our work with Liverpool FC and one of our latest hospitality offerings, the Anfield Beat Lounge. A mix of the city’s two most iconic exports, football and music, the Beat Lounge offers a completely unique pre-match experience. Situated in the new main stand, the Anfield Beat Lounge is open before and after the game. With a cash bar, street food and without the special dress codes and age limits of other hospitality venues, the Anfield Beat Lounge offers a relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere designed for fans of all ages.

We’re delighted with the reception this new offering has got from supporters and we’re going to look to create more unique experiences not just across other partner Premier League clubs, but across the other sports that we operate in as well. From our Terrace at our County Cricket partners with comfy seats right on the boundary edge to the exclusive Thomas Cook Sport Terrace at the Monaco Grand Prix that offers one of the most unique perspectives at the jewel in the F1 calendar’s crown.

So what is it that today’s fans are after from their sporting experiences? In our view, it’s something to add that extra special memory to their game or event. Typically, many supporters want a more relaxed and informal option, something that is inclusive for families and the younger generation.

Over the next five to ten years, we will see more ways for sports fans to engage with sports clubs and facilities and it’s our job as one of the leading sports travel operators to ensure we deliver unique experiences for these supporters.

The events, organisations and partners that we work with are constantly innovating their offering, aligning their product with the ever-changing demands of the sporting fan. These constant shifts in the landscape are a positive step and as we see more and more supporters willing to travel to support their club or follow their sport, this opens avenues for Sports Travel operators to broaden horizons and create the future of fan experiences.

For more information visit thomascooksport.com

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