Depending on where you’re located, what’s on the docket for sports events likely differs. In North America, sports like American football and baseball are past times, while football remains the most popular sport worldwide.
Keep reading below to learn about the world’s most exciting annual sporting events—big and small.
UEFA Champions League Final
European football is widely regarded as the top-tier of all football competitions. Domestic leagues like England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and other national leagues pit their top teams against one another. The championship match regularly makes its way onto the world’s most-watched list of sporting events. In 2018, the final drew in 380 million viewers and helped earn UEFA nearly €4 billion in revenue.
Australian Grand Prix
This stopover in the Formula One Grand Prix circuit is renowned for its spectator-friendly grounds. It also counts as the first Grand Prix of the season, and is often an ideal spot for pundits to assess the competition early in the year. For travelers eager to experience the Prix, don’t forget to pack accordingly for a trip down under.
Because of basketball’s unique culture and fast pace, the NBA has continued to build interest from international sports fans. Nationally, NBA betting odds from experts and widespread draft speculation pepper the regular season and postseason on major sports broadcasting networks. Abroad, major series’ like the NCAA’s March Madness and the NBA’s Finals series continue to build momentum by drawing in more and more viewers—which is why 2020’s NBA Finals domestic numbers can likely be chalked up to an irregular season.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling
Outside Gloucester, England, a cheese-rolling champion is crowned after chasing a Double Gloucester wheel of cheese down a hill. The first competitor to cross the line wins—though they’re aiming to chase the cheese. Notable winners include rugby star Marc Ellis of New Zealand and Florence Early, the only female champion to date.
Sumo World Championships
Since 1992, the International Sumo Federation has overseen the Sumo World Championships, as well as a women’s competition (from 2001). Not only does the televised series help bring viewers closer to a unique sport like sumo, but, since the competition became international, spectators can also see athletes from Poland, South Africa, and the US compete for glory in the sumo ring.
X Games emerged in the mid-90s to provide extreme sports with a competition format to further legitimize the industry. Typically, sports are split between Winter and Summer X Games. Winter X games include Snowboard Big Air and Snocross, while Summer X games include BMX Freestyle and Moto X.
NFL Super Bowl
The championship match between American football clubs is held each year in January or February. Though fans of the sport will have plenty to look forward to, spectators aren’t always fans of the game. The Super Bowl also delivers on kitschy commercials from top brands in the US, as well as a killer half-time show that features some of the world’s most talented pop stars.
Tour de France
In recent years, the Tour de France made headlines after a spokesperson for Le Coq Sportif said that four billion people watch the cycling competition each year. Though the three-week-long competition is incredibly popular, the estimate failed to take into account how long each viewer tuned in for. No matter how many people watch, the event is worth catching—especially if you find yourself able to watch live from Alpine foothills.
The courts at Wimbledon are some of the most iconic sporting locations, regardless of the sport. As the biggest annual event in tennis, top athletes make or break their name on the grass—but that’s not all that’s on the table. Much like the US’s Kentucky Derby of horseracing, Wimbledon fosters an air of excellence and intrigue. In 2016, the event drew in a remote audience near one billion after being broadcast in 200 countries.
ICC World Cup
The International Cricket Council (ICC) comes together every four years, much like the FIFA World Cup, to provide an international format for cricket play. The ICC is one of the most-viewed sporting events in the world. The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup drew in an estimated 2.6 billion viewers worldwide. Top competitors include the national teams from England, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia.