Ep. 245 — Homefans: The Rise and Rise of Sports Tourism

We’ll dive into the fascinating rise of sports tourism with our special guest, Daniel Velasquez, co-founder of Homefans. Daniel shares his insights and experiences as he takes us through the journey of HomeFans, from its beginnings as a tour operator to its growth into a marketplace connecting sports travelers with unforgettable local experiences. Join us as we explore the transformative power of sports tourism and the role technology plays in enhancing the travel experience.


03:44 Founders create marketplace for local sports experiences.

10:35 Expanding sports experiences through marketplace platform.

13:38 Demand for team sports, especially basketball, is high. US sports market is ideal due to tourism. The company aims to expand city by city and later venture into other sports.

23:25 Content creation and community drive organic bookings.

33:40 Hosts make money and build community.

36:24 Tourism, demand, supply, and language barriers drove expansion.

45:10 Authentic local experiences create unique customer value.

51:10 Sports tourism market growing, huge opportunities. FOMO, entertainment, global player. Confirmation of market by Get Your Guide. Resilience during COVID, prices increased.

58:07 Continuous communication with core customers is crucial.

01:01:52 Grateful for invitation, eager to connect further.

Key Topics

I. Introduction to the podcast episode and guest speaker:

– Overview of the podcast episode title and guest name

II. Marketing strategy and shift to a marketplace model:

– Initial target audience and shift to Latin America for growth

– Attracting a broader range of customers

– Providing added value and peace of mind to travelers

– Mistakes in global recruitment and transitioning to organic acquisition

– Success in cross-selling additional experiences

III. The rise of sports tourism and its potential:

– Expected value of the sports tourism market by 2027

– Soccer’s projected value in the sports tourism market

– The connection between travel, tours, and sports tourism

– Opportunities created by the rise of less popular sports clubs

– Potential for global player centralizing sports experiences

IV. Impact of COVID-19 on sports tourism and consumer behavior:

– Setback to sports tourism during the pandemic

– Continued sports events without fans

– Consumer attendance despite increased prices

– Sports marketplace matching supply and demand

– Basketball’s popularity and supply from hosts

V. Expansion plans and focus on unique sports experiences:

– Goal to follow the US model with cities attracting tourism through sports

– Current focus on tourists rather than just sports fans

– Expanding city by city and building supply

– Technological advancements for personalized recommendations

– Desire to develop an app and sports-oriented experience

VI. Evolution from tour operator to marketplace:

– Limited capacity during derby matches and need for expansion

– Marketplace maximizing destination capacity and offering variety

– Majority of bookings being day tours and sports or cultural experiences

– Lack of a global player in the sports vertical

VII. Spotlight on Latin America and its sports culture:

– Increase in tourism and hot destination status

– Argentina’s popularity for sports and football fans

– Buenos Aires’ strong sports culture and clubs

– Home fans catering to language and cultural needs

VIII. Founders’ experiences and the company’s mission:

– Personal experiences and pain points that led to the company’s inception

– Focus on connecting sports travel with local experiences

– Targeting fans who enjoy football neutrally and want to explore

– Shift from derbies to the marketplace idea

IX. Importance of customer communication and feedback:

– Communication as the most important aspect of running a business

– Value of customer feedback and finding product-market fit

– Maintaining a connection with core customers while seeking new audiences

– Effective communication during COVID to minimize disruptions

X. Leveraging the knowledge and perspective of local hosts:

– Importance of local hosts in the VOCA Juniors club

– Possibility of standardizing and selling their knowledge

– Unique offerings and competition among hosts

– Value of hosts beyond gigs or money, focusing on community

XI. Leveraging the knowledge of hosts for content creation:

– Digitizing and recording host knowledge

– Creating valuable content such as blogs and videos

– Media outlets’ interest in host knowledge and perspectives