‘Sporting’ new attractions? The commodification of the sleeping stadium

Gammon, Sean James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5053-8763 (2010) ‘Sporting’ new attractions? The commodification of the sleeping stadium. In: Tourist Experience: Contemporary Perspectives. Advances in Tourism . Routledge, Oxon, pp. 115-126. ISBN 978-0-415-57278-1

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The literature relating to the many relationships that sport has with tourism has been steadily increasing over the last five years. Undoubtedly, the overwhelming theme in the majority of such studies has principally focused on the economic impacts generated by major/mega sports events (Weed 2006). However, more recently there has been a growing interest in understanding sports structures and sites as significant tourism attractions in their own right (Gammon and Ramshaw 2007; Stevens 2005). Whether it be the home of a hallmark team or stadia associated with particular events, there is clear evidence that many sports structures are becoming an integral part of many destinations’ tourism portfolios (Fairley and Gammon 2005; Gibson 1998; Weed 2008). Whilst the trend for both tourists and excursionists alike to visit such attractions is increasing, there has been little discussion relating to the management of them – along with any deep understanding of the
motives and experiences of those that attend.

This chapter returns to Standeven and De Knop’s (1999: 58) premise that the nature of sport tourism is an ‘experience of physical activity tied to an experience of place’. It will draw primarily on two studies carried out at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (Gammon and Fear 2007) and Twickenham Stadium in London (Ramshaw and Gammon, forthcoming), and aims, first, to explore the reasons for this recent visitor trend, and, second, to determine in what ways the experience of a stadium outside of event conditions contributes to visitors’ perception of place.

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