- 1. Melbourne
[The MCG: what a place for a sports fan to spend Boxing Day]
The initials MCG can only mean one thing to cricket fans: Melbourne Cricket Ground. This is the place where test matches are held in the sweltering heat of an Australian Boxing Day – an event which makes 100,000 fans interrupt their festive celebrations to attend one of the highlights of the world sporting calendar.
The MCG is also the place to head to if you want to experience a sport which is unique to Australia; the rough-and-tumble of an Australian Rules football game is really worth writing home about.
As is the Melbourne Cup, a horse racing event held during the first weekend in November which is one of the world’s oldest and richest turf races; it’s been held since 1861.
Even greater speeds can be seen at Melbourne’s Albert Park race track during the annual Australian Grand Prix.
With the Australian Open tennis championships – one of the world’s four biggest tennis tournaments – also being held in Melbourne, the city can arguably claim to be the best sporting city in the world.
- 2. London
[Wimbledon Centre Court: now comes with a roof]
The 2012 Olympics in London won’t really put London on the sporting map; it’s always been regarded as one of the world’s sporting capitals.
This is partly due to Wembley Stadium, on whose sacred turf World Cup finals and world title boxing matches have been staged. Then there is the equally impressive Twickenham – rugby union’s version of Wembley.
London also boasts the All England Club, which is rather better known as Wimbledon during the two weeks in midsummer when it hosts the world’s most famous tennis tournament.
Just like Wembley, Wimbledon and Twickenham, Lords is a place of pilgrimage for sports fans from all over the world – it’s the headquarters of world cricket.
- 3. New York
[The Seventh Avenue entrance to Madison Square Garden in New York]
Madison Square Garden is one of many sporting meccas which make the Big Apple a delicious prospect for sporting tourists; this indoor multi-purpose arena is the place where the boxing ‘fight of the century’ between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier took place in 1971.
Today, the Garden is host to legends of basketball the New York Knicks and legends of ice hockey the New York Rangers. Located in midtown Manhattan; the Garden is the perfect sporting arena for a night out. There a host of near-by bars to visit for pre or post-game tipples.
Over in Queens, there is Flushing Meadows, home to the US Open tennis tournament each August; Queens is the place which baseball’s New York Mets call home. The Mets’ rivals the Yankees also attract incredible support; they will always be associated with the Bronx.
All this and there’s also American football teams the New York Giants and the New York Jets; sporting ‘franchises’ which share the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
- 4. Paris
[Stade de France]
Paris in spring is the ideal place for rugby fans who want to see the French rugby team display their flair with a rugby ball at the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis. Seeing a Gallic rooster, the French national symbol, released on to the pitch before a game is one of sport’s great traditions.
The stadium also hosts the French football team – this is the place where France won the World Cup in 1998 in front of 80,000 lucky spectators.
Every May, tennis fever grips Paris each May as the French Open is played on the red clay of the Roland Garros tennis courts in the Bois de Boulogne. The tournament attracts some of the most stylishly dressed and discerning tennis fans in the world.
- 5. Dubai
[Action at a night race at the Dubai World Cup. Picture by Arne Bevaart]
The past decade has seen this city attract some of the world’s biggest sports teams, stars and events; lured by the warm weather and promise of prize money. The city hosts two annual tennis tournaments, two annual golf tournaments, the Dubai World Cup thoroughbred horse race and the Dubai sevens rugby tournament.
And the city still can’t quench its appetite for sport – it has expressed an interest in staging the 2024 Olympics.
There’s no getting away from the fact that Dubai is the world’s fastest up-and-coming sporting city; London, New York, Paris and Melbourne should watch their backs!
Author: James Christie writes for business directory, Thomson Local; the perfect place to find a travel agent to help you book your next city break.