If your travel decisions are based squarely around the kind of sporting attractions on offer, you’ve come to the right place. Sport is a global phenomenon that unites communities and demographics like few other industries. It’s ingrained in our cultures, with sports fans awe-inspired by high-level sporting competition and the dedication and sacrifices athletes make to reach the very top.
Some regions of the world are more fanatical about sport than others, granted. If you want to travel and experience some of the biggest sporting hotbeds on our planet, check out this powerful quintet of areas capable of taking you on sporting journeys like no others.
The English capital is an undeniable mecca for sport fans. There’s sports stadia and arenas for just about every major sport you can think of here. It’s staged the Summer Olympic Games on three separate occasions – most recently in 2012. Wimbledon remains the most iconic and prestigious of all the tennis grand slams. Lord’s is the unmistakable ‘home of cricket’, the London Marathon is arguably the biggest and most watched running race on the planet and the city is also home to six Premier League football teams in the 2020/21 campaign. Even America’s NFL decided to start staging international games in London at Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur’s new £1 billion stadium.
The ‘Sunshine State’ is a genuine sport-lover’s paradise. Florida has teams entered in all of America’s major league sports. The Miami Heat are three-time NBA Finals winners in 2006, 2012 and 2013. The Heat’s roster has oozed talent throughout the years, including icons like Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James. On the ice rink, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the NHL’s Stanley Cup in 2004 and play their games in the atmospheric 19,000-seater Amalie Arena. The demand for sport in Florida has encouraged expansion teams in other major leagues too, including the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL and Orlando City in the MLS. Even the University of Central Florida’s Knights college football team attract 44,000 sell-out attendances at the Spectrum Stadium and they are heavily fancied to win the American Athletic Conference again in 2021, which would be their seventh title.
Boston also rivals Florida as one of the most sports-mad regions in North America. In fact, this city is home to some of the most successful sports franchises in the history of US sport. Take the Boston Celtics for example, who have won an incredible 17 NBA championships, as well as the NHL’s Boston Bruins who have six Stanley Cups and 25 divisional titles to their name. There’s also a small matter of the New England Patriots, one of the most successful teams in the modern-day era of the NFL, winning the Super Bowl six times since the turn of the millennium. Boston also rivals London in the marathon stakes, with the city’s marathon dating back to 1897 and comfortably the biggest marathon in North America.
Spain is one of the proudest sporting nations in the world, not least in the Catalan capital of Barcelona. This stunning city fuses beach vibes with unique urban culture and it comes alive whenever major sporting events are in town. It goes without saying that Barcelona’s football team is the jewel in the city’s crown, with the Camp Nou providing a magnificent amphitheatre for La Liga soccer and regular Champions League action. Barcelona has also staged the Summer Olympics and part of the FIFA World Cup. It’s also home to one of the most successful basketball teams in Europe. Barcelona also stages a Formula 1 grand prix annually as well as an ATP World Tour 500 Series tennis event.
The Australian city of Melbourne flies the flag for many major sports in the state of Victoria. First and foremost, it’s home to one of the four tennis grand slams, the Australian Open staged in January. It’s also the venue for the first Formula 1 grand prix of the season around the city’s Albert Park. The Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious horse racing festivals on the planet, rivalling the UK’s Cheltenham Festival. Meanwhile the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is also regarded as one of the most historic and spectacular cricket venues, which also plays host regularly to Aussie Rules football and world-class athletics.