Developing Sport Tourism: A Multiple Case Study of Interaction Between Australian National Sport Organisations and a Sport Tour Operator

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Toohey, Kristine
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Zakus, Dwight
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This multiple case study revealed that national sport organisations can play a role in facilitating and developing sport tourism by interacting with sport tour operators. It investigated why and how four Australian national sport organisations (NSOs) interacted with a sport tour operator (STO). The four NSOs featured in this research are Tennis Australia, the Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia, and Football Federation Australia. These four NSOs play a role in hosting major international sport events in Australia, and also send Australian representative teams to major events hosted overseas. FanFirm, an Australian based STO, sells tour packages to many of these events. The four NSOs often interact with FanFirm in the provision of this service and in doing so play a role in encouraging sport event tourism. This research responds to a lack of research on the role, or potential role, of the NSO– STO nexus in delivering tourists to major sport events. To inquire into the NSO–STO nexus, this qualitative case study sought to ascertain the perspectives of four NSOs on the evolution, logistics, benefits, and pitfalls of interacting with STOs. Underpinned by stakeholder theory, the research asked why the NSOs initiated interactions with FanFirm, how they managed the interactions, and why the interactions were maintained. A comparison of the four cases identified four major themes which encapsulate why and how the NSOs and STOs interact. The factors motivating and facilitating collaboration between the NSOs and FanFirm are multifaceted and the themes reflect this. Broad contextual factors in the NSOs’ operating milieus, or “distal preconditions”, first led the NSOs to recognise the benefits of sport event tourism. The decision to collaborate was further influenced by “proximal preconditions”, or factors that directly facilitated or impeded the NSO–STO interactions. NSO–STO collaborations commenced when the preconditions were favourable. The collaborations were then managed through a process of “resource interactions”, whereby both parties contributed to the development and sale of sport tour packages. Finally, the sharing of resources produced “relational outcomes”; in particular, interaction produced financial and intangible benefits for the NSOs. This led to the conclusion that the NSOs maintained their relationships with STOs for instrumental reasons. The findings of this research suggest that STOs are not the most salient of the many stakeholders with whom NSOs interact in the delivery of major events. However, the NSO– STO interaction was utilitarian for the NSOs: it provided each NSO with a means to increase the commercial value of its tickets; it facilitated the provision of a tour service to loyal fans; it ensured that Australian athletes were supported during international contests; and it encouraged sport event tourism.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Griffith Business School
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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
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National sport organisations
Sport tour operator
Major sport events
Sport tourism
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