Travel, Authenticity and Sport - How Melbourne-based SportsHosts is changing the game
SportsHosts is an Australian start up with lofty ambitions - to change the way we engage with the world, both at home and whilst travelling.
The concept is simple: connect travellers with local fans to attend sporting matches and events around the world, through their website - www.sportshosts.com
How it Works
What makes the concept truly unique is that hosts don’t charge for their time, and neither the host or traveller pays any more for the experience than they would for the tickets to the game.
“We chose sport because it’s a universal language. It’s a place where a group of strangers can come together and share an exciting experience whilst having fun and learning something new,” said SportsHosts Founder, Darren Walls.
After a successful deal with the Melbourne Football Club for the AFL season, during which they tested the beta-version of their website, SportsHosts is delighted to announce they have entered a partnership with A-League side Melbourne City, with research focusing on current fan engagement and global fan growth.
“What we found with our trials is that there is an immense sense of pride for Melburnians showing off their team and this magnificent city. Hosts felt a stronger sense of connection with their club and hometown simply by seeing it through a fresh set of eyes,” said Walls.
SportsHosts harnesses the passion of local sports fans and and directs it at travellers looking for an authentic, fun and engrossing experience, that also tells the story of a city.
It’s not just the raw excitement of the first-timer or the seasoned knowledge of a veteran. It’s not just about the traveller getting a local experience, or the host getting to show off their city.
“The connection actually amplifies the experience for both sides. For hosts, it brings a completely different dynamic to something, that for many, is ingrained as a ritual. And their passion is infectious for the travellers, who are invited into a world that is colourful, welcoming and most importantly, real” said co-founder Melissa Blair.
While sport is at the heart of the concept, in many ways it is merely the vehicle for facilitating the connection between strangers.
And in 2017, that seems more important than ever.
Walls, borders and travel bans. Is this the new normal or the last throes of a fading generation?
Whether it’s Trump, Brexit or the rise of the divisive marriage plebiscite here in Australia, one thing is clear: these movements are not being driven by the youth.
Millennials have rejected this doctrine and it’s more than just their voting. Through a perceived global leadership vacuum, people are responding with how they choose to live.
“Global citizen” might sound like a trite cliche to some, but for a growing mass it’s a real thing and it can’t be ignored.
When it comes to travel, authenticity is the number one factor when this generation decides where to go, and what to do when they get there.
But meeting locals and experiencing a culture authentically is easier said than done. Until now.
What’s more is that the travellers who are choosing to do this are inherently fun people who are up for meeting strangers and learning about our culture.
“Sports fans are global. You may have your AFL team, but chances are you support an NBA team & a Premier League team as well. This is an opportunity to grow a global network of fans so when our hosts decide to travel, they have friends spread around the globe, ready to reciprocate the hosting,” said co-founder Mike Barrett.
And while they have global ambitions, it’s their hometown that will prove to be the first testing ground for the concept.
“Melburnians have already proved to be incredibly generous in sharing their passion with foreigners across AFL, soccer, tennis, rugby league and horse racing and we’re confident that this summer will show the world what it means when we say we’re the sporting capital of the world!”
Hostings are open to all of the major summer sports in Melbourne but SportsHosts will also have five key “SuperHostings” events that will act as pre-parties and media opportunities around the below events:
1. Melbourne A-League derby (October 14th)
2. Melbourne Cup Breakfast (November 4th)
3. Boxing Day Test (Day 4, December 29th)
4. Melbourne Big Bash Derby (January 6th)
5. Australian Open Tennis (January 20th)
Hosting is easy - simply visit www.sportshosts.com, sign up and create a Game Day for the next sporting event you want to share with the world