Sport is a liesure activity fueled by passion and/or desire for prize. It can be done for exercise, the fun of it or for the honour and nobility in competition.
Amateurs in individual- natured sports like golf travel the world to have a taste of what the sport is like in other climes. Therefore, my argument will be premised on both sporting for lieesure (done for the fun of it) purpose and for the honour cum trade - plying purposes.
The compound name for every kind of event that features active participation in physical and competitive round(s), across all sports, is 'tournament'.
Tournament is a combination of two words 'tour' and 'ornament'. Tour means to move from and to several places for something pleasurable (or business). Ornament is an object of embellishment, beautification, or adornment. They all mean same thing though. Semantics.
This simply mean that travel or tourism adorns sport. For starters, if people don't travel for sports, they can travel for business, vacation or medical treatments. This means that when there is no FIFA World Cup, World 7s, Olympics, The Ryder Cup, The Masters or Super Bowl; travel will still go on like a pop beat.
Sport cannot say the same. The word tournament, again, connotes the act of sportsmen leaving their abodes for a designated destination to compete for honour. It's etymology is traceable to the medieval era when knights from different places converge in a city or town, Kingdom to fight in an Organized competition guided by rules, for a specific honour, prize or bragging right.
The meat in this argument is that sport, as developed, packaged and projected from more than a half-dozen centuries ago have always needed travel and other services/products in its value chain.
The sportsmen haven to travel to converge in the host city/town/Kingdom/country, where the competition will go down. They need a place to sleep. They need to eat and drink. They sometimes need to sightsee the fascinating nature's gifts and man-made amazing architectures.
And most importantly, given that no one calls himself leader without followership, they need hailing to be inspired to do more. They need a crowd a.k.a fans/spectators, to cheer them on, as they ply their trade.
They'll be needing same services/products in the travel value chain, to be able to go play their role in the sporting event/activity script. So, the next time you hear us talk about sports tourism, o sports administrators; don't think tourism is trying to famz with sports.
Tourism is a chief lifeline to the global sports industry.
I advice that NFF provides a desk for Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation in her office and relate with tour operators. Any sporting event packaged without tourism in view can never achieve its full potential.
Deji Ajomale-McWord is the CEO of The Sports Concierge and Founder, League of African Sports Tourism Stakeholders.