Disney’s ESPN Rolls Out Its First Travel Experiences

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Skift Take

ESPN dives into the experiences market with a high-end MLB tour, blending sports and travel for die-hard fans.

Sports network ESPN has launched a new experiences brand and tickets for its first sports tour are selling for $6,999 per person.

The network, which is majority-owned by the Walt Disney Company, had noticed a rising demand in the experiences space and wanted to capitalize on the significant spending, an ESPN spokesperson told Skift. 

Additional studies into its fan base showed that ESPN would be a favorable brand to offer tours and activities, the spokesperson said. 

The network plans to use this initial tour as a test. The success of this first offering will determine the if ESPN maintains the ESPN Experiences offering. Some tickets were purchased but the experience is not yet sold out, the spokesperson said.

The tour includes a five-day, four-night Major League Baseball over the U.S. Labor Day weekend between August 29 and September 2. It is powered by Adventures by Disney.

The tour will include stops at Fenway Park in Boston, Yankee Stadium in New York City, and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. It will also include a private tour of the Jackie Robinson Museum and exclusive access to the ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

The Walt Disney Company also runs tours on behalf of Lindblad Expeditions under Disney’s National Geographic brand, and runs tours at its theme parks and for its cruise line.

The rise of sports tourism

Sporting events often significantly boost tourism and bring revenue to host cities. For example, online travel companies saw a surge in sports tourism in India this year related to its hosting of major events.

While these findings largely refer to individuals traveling to attend specific events, the growth will likely be seen industry-wide.

Sports tourism already generates 10% of the world’s expenditure on tourism, according to UN Tourism. It is expected to grow by 17.5% between 2023 and 2030. This can range from mega events like the Olympics or the World Cup to less popular attractions that feature sports as part of the trip.

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