For others, the nail-biting intensity served up by sporting competition is their go-to source of anticipation, following their chosen team or athlete as they embark on a journey of emotional ups and downs, celebrating their victories, and commiserating their defeats together. The camaraderie and tribal nature of sport creates a feeling of belonging, helps to forge life long friendships and can be passed down from generation to generation.
When combined together, travel and sport create an unparalleled opportunity for once in a lifetime experiences. The ability to travel the world and share new experiences and cultures with your fellow sports fans is truly unique. Meeting fellow fans who, despite coming from very different cultures, share one huge similarity with you, a love for the same sport and team. This shared love creates an instant kinship that creates an electric atmosphere that can only be experienced at international sporting events. Here are some opportunities to travel the world whilst following sport.
The FIA Formula One World Championship was criticised for its lack of worldwide
The National Football League presents a great opportunity to travel across the United States, as well as to London and Mexico City, thanks to the NFL International Series. The odds of winning are close between several teams in the NFL championships, so there are some exciting games ahead. Following the NFL also provides plenty of opportunities to see many parts of the US, so you’ll be able to watch nail-biting action as well as exploring the country.
Unlike these other sports, the Olympic games only happen once every four years (or every two if you count the Winter Olympics too). This infrequency creates more excitement than with other events, as the Olympics becomes a special occasion where the world’s eyes are focused on a single host nation. The London 2012 Olympics created huge excitement in London and the rest of the UK, with parties and festivals creating opportunities for locals and guests alike to come together in the spirit of the Olympics, celebrate and have a great time.
Association Football (aka Soccer)
The sport known as football to most of the world (and soccer to some of the American continent) is the most popular global sport by a significant margin. It has around 4 billion fans worldwide, with the next most popular sport – cricket – having around 2.5 billion fans.
The almost universal appreciation for the sport makes it a great conversation starter amongst people who may not otherwise have anything in common. Wherever you are in the world, you will almost certainly find fans of English Premier League teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as other European clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Regular international fixtures create a lot of travel opportunities. Like the Olympics, football also has it’s own 4-yearly tournament – the FIFA World Cup, which is held in different host countries. The 2018 World Cup in Russia provided incredible images of fans from all over the world in their traditional dress, riding together on the metro systems of Moscow and St. Petersburg, signing, chanting, and laughing together.
Outside of the World Cup, football championships like the UEFA Champions League, and similar competitions held across the other continents provide further travel opportunities. Fans of the away teams will regularly travel abroad to support their team against foreign sides, often at short notice.
Sport and travel go hand in hand. On their own they lay the foundations for people to come together and celebrate their similarities and differences. Combined, they amplify the experiences, creating once in a lifetime opportunities for people from all over the world to create memories that will stay with them forever.