Understanding Sport Heritage

We recently published Heritage and Sport by Gregory Ramshaw. In this post the author explains why the book is needed.

Sport is undoubtedly part of our cultural heritage. As Canadian author Roy MacGregor once wrote “it is impossible to know a people until you know the game they play.” Sport heritage tells us much about our shared past, what we remember, and what we value today. Indeed, we see manifestations of sport heritage everywhere! Many communities erect statues and sculptures to their sporting heroes; cities use sports museums and halls of fame as anchors of tourism development; teams, clubs, and organizations regularly employ heritage-themed events and souvenirs; chants, cheers, and rituals at matches are often thought of as a kind of intangible heritage, while sporting stadia and venues are regularly provided heritage designation and protection.

Because of this growing interest in sport heritage, a book like Heritage and Sport could not be more timely. Although there have been other texts which look at elements of the sport heritage phenomenon – such as sport museums, or heritage-based sport tourism – this book is the first which examines the whole of sport heritage. In particular, the book looks at some new topics in sport heritage – such as marketing sport heritage, managing sport heritage, and intangible sport heritages – while also bringing new perspectives to more familiar topics such as sport heritage in the fields of museums, events, and tourism. As the sporting past becomes more a part of our present, it is imperative that we have a broad understanding of sport heritage.

One of the primary aims of this book is to provide the reader with a wide-ranging understanding of sport heritage. In many ways, it is a launching-pad for other investigations, understandings, and research. A reader might associate sport heritage with, say, historic stadia, a hall of fame, or perhaps with a specific sport. What this book helps to do is demonstrate that sport heritage includes these topics – but that it is so much more! If a student, for example, reads the chapter about existential sport heritage – understanding how sport heritage is related to both bloodlines as well as the practice and performance of sport heritage – she or he might think about this in their own culture and experience. Similarly, if a researcher or practitioner reads the chapter about heritage-based sporting events or sport heritage landscapes, it may help spur ideas for future research and development.

Sport heritage has become an integral part of both the sport and heritage landscape. It is hoped that Heritage and Sport will help others to explore this fascinating topic further!

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Sport Tourism Development by James Higham and Tom Hinch.

The Sport Tourist Experience

This month we are publishing the third edition of Sport Tourism Development by James Higham and Tom Hinch. In this post, James reflects on one point of inspiration for the book, and his own experiences of sport tourism.

Sarah’s recent blog post, Tales from a Sport Tourist, provides some interesting insights into tourist experiences of sport. It has long been recognised that sports and particularly mega-sports events offer much potential to generate recurrent flows of tourists, and to unlock the considerable social and economic development potential of sport and tourism. When Tom and I first starting thinking about the links between sport and tourism, it initially occurred to us that beyond event tourism, little dedicated attention had been paid to aspects of sport-related tourism that lie beyond sports fans like Sarah, and the spectator flows generated by big sports events. Indeed, as we were researching and writing the third edition over the course of the last year or so, it occurred to us that one important aspect of sport-related tourism that has grown and diversified incredibly in recent years, is engagement in non-elite competitive sports and, indeed, the development of sports events that cater not only for elite/professional athletes, but for all levels of competitive, social and recreational engagements in sports. Big city marathons (London, New York and Boston among others) are great examples, where world record holders and Olympic champions compete alongside recreational runners, who may be running in fancy dress costumes, while engaged in deeply personal charity awareness and fund-raising campaigns.

The image on the cover of our third edition is taken from the Hawea Epic, an event held in April each year that is branded ‘New Zealand’s ultimate mountain bike challenge’. The ‘Epic’ starts and finishes at the Hawea Pub, with the not insignificant challenge or riding the 125km around the lake in between. The 2018 Epic was on 14th April. For the last two years the ‘Epic’ took place on glorious days of still, mild autumn weather, but the weather in the New Zealand at the same time this year was freezing cold with snow falling to 300m. This made it tougher than usual in the wet and cold conditions. However, participants came to the event from far and wide.

Some of those participants came to Hawea with competitive goals and ambitions, but many others had deeply personal and emotional reasons to participate. I competed in the Epic for the seventh time this year but the physical and mental challenge was only one reason for my participation. In 2013 I competed in the Epic in wintery conditions similar to the weather in Otago this year. I completed the race in 7 hours and 48 minutes and at the end of the race, utterly exhausted, I found out via a text message that a close family member had passed away while I was racing. In the weeks and months following, I vowed to go back to Hawea each year in April to race in their memory, and that is what I did earlier this month.

Bridgit from New Canaan Village in Kenya

This year, I have added another layer of personal meaning to my sport tourism experience. Following a chance meeting with a complete stranger on a mountain bike trail in Wanaka in January I have signed up to a charity NGO called So They Can that supports educational opportunities for children in Africa. So this year I travelled to Hawea to raise funds for Bridgit, a five year old girl who lives in New Canaan Village in Kenya. All funds raised will go to ensure Bridgit can start school this year. She will get two meals a day, access to clean water and medical care and school stationery and books. I am aiming to raise $NZ800 to meet these costs for the first year of her schooling. You can make a small donation at this website if you are inclined: https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/bridgit-is-epic. Like Sarah’s accounts of her sport spectator experiences, these personal accounts offer unique insights into important aspects of the sport tourist experience.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism and Cricket edited by Tom Baum and Richard Butler. 

Tales from a Sport Tourist

Next month we will be publishing the third edition of Sport Tourism Development by James Higham and Tom Hinch. Sarah is our resident sports enthusiast and often manages to catch a game of something when travelling (whether that be for work or leisure!) In this post we chat to Sarah about her own experiences of sport tourism.

Which different sports have you seen when travelling?

Sarah at the cricket in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Cricket, football, baseball, basketball, American football, ice hockey, lacrosse

What was your favourite/least favourite experience of sports tourism?

Any game with an exciting finish stands out – I managed to get to the Big Bash semi-final this year in Adelaide pre-CAUTHE conference where the Strikers won in the last over. Other memorable occasions are England holding on to draw with South Africa in a Test in Cape Town and the Red Sox winning at Fenway with a grand slam in the 8th innings!

I think I need to stop watching England in Australia as they’ve lost every time (apologies to England fans!) – never an enjoyable experience to lose to the Aussies.

Do you notice a difference in the experience of watching sports depending on the country or is there a universal atmosphere?

I think sport fans worldwide are pretty similar, though there are always traditions or superstitions specific to an area/team/sport.
An NFL game was the only live experience that took me by surprise – and seemed quite different from other sport I have watched. Every single thing that happened in the game seemed like a fanfare event. Though I have been reliably informed that if I want to experience real American football then I need to go and watch a college game.

What would be your dream destination/sports experience combination?

Melbourne is pretty much a sport fan’s dream city so I’d have to say being there for the whole duration of the Big Bash, in an Ashes year, and a ticket to the Australian Open. If it could somehow be arranged for some Premier League games to be played there as well that would be perfect! 🙂

For more information about Sport Tourism Development please see our website.

Summer and Sport

Just published this week in time for England’s latest test match, Tourism and Cricket edited by Tom Baum and Richard Butler is the first book to focus on the relationship between tourism and cricket. Here, Richard Butler explains a bit about the unique nature of cricket tourism. 

Football and rugby notwithstanding, it is summer which is really the sporting season, and nothing epitomises summer in England more than cricket. As in the United States with baseball, summer afternoons and evenings seem highly suited to the crack of a bat on a ball. There are marked similarities between baseball and cricket, both involve bat and ball, both are team sports, and yet both essentially come down to one man with a ball throwing it at one man with a bat. The other players are secondary to the personal competition between two individuals.  Both sports have contributed to the language of their respective host countries, cricket via more than twenty phrases at the last count (including “a sticky wicket” and “stumped”, as well as the summation of the spirit of the game in “It’s not cricket”) and baseball has made it into the lexicon of English clichés with “stepping up to the plate” and “striking out” at least.

Tourism and CricketWhere these summer iconic activities differ most however, is in the duration and frequency of play and the travel patterns of their supporters. While most first class cricket teams play in the region of forty games a season, including county championship, limited over and Twenty20 formats, major league baseball teams play one hundred and sixty two games in a season and up to an additional twenty one in the misnamed “World Series” should they make the playoffs. It is unlikely any baseball fan watches live all the games his or her team plays in a season,  as attendance would require massive travelling across North America with great frequency, even allowing for the fact that some days see two games played between the same teams.

In the case of cricket however, such devotion to a team is possible and the distance and frequency of travel would be much less. In the case of national teams however, patriotic cricket fans become true international tourists compared to their American counterparts, whose international experience would be mostly non-existent as baseball is only played in a very few countries with no real international competition. Thus cricket encourages tourism on a considerable scale, if not in vast numbers, certainly in terms of per capita distance covered and time involved. The travels of the “Barmy Army” as the English supporters’ association is known sees some of its members travelling  half way round the world for several weeks to support their team in test matches in Australia and New Zealand in particular. As well, it is  not just the players and spectators who travel, because, as Michael Atherton recently pointed out there are at least as many backroom staff as players.

The links between cricket and tourism are explored in our new book just published by Channel View, Tourism and Cricket: Travels to the Boundary. The book examines the origins of international cricket, issues relating to the grounds, the travails and travels of both participants and fans, and the influence of cricket on the attitudes and behaviours of the supporters.

Sport Tourism DevelopmentFor more information about this book, please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Sport Tourism Development by Tom Hinch and James Higham.