sport that many people attend and find entertaining to watch
Travel topics > Activities > Sports > Spectator sports

Spectator sports are those where the players are greatly outnumbered by their audience, often a thousandfold and sometimes a millionfold for the biggest events. These usually involve travel, often long-distance, so there is a distinct experience of sports travel for those crowds, covered on this page.

See Sports for those you participate in yourself, watched (if at all) by a few family members or ex-players. See Activities for the broader sphere of mostly non-competitive pastimes such as bird-watching.

Understand edit

 
Lighting the Olympic flame from the sun

Spectator sports have a long history - in the western tradition this is exemplified by the ancient Olympic Games. But mass travelling audiences only emerged in the 19th century, with the development of leisure time, disposable income, and public transport. Indeed the Olympics are a 19th century reinvention, with the ancient event lapsing around 400 AD and the modern version launching in Athens in 1896.

The 19th / 20th centuries saw three tribes emerge: an elite of professional players, an audience watching them direct or on TV / internet, and the "grassroots" playing at amateur or junior level. Of course there is overlap, but the stark feature today is how different those worlds have become - certainly their travel experiences could not be more different. The divergence caused great soul-searching in sports associations, and sometimes acrimonious splits. It's no spoiler to say that big money and big business won, and spectator sports are designed to extract their followers' cash not only by gate receipts, but by advertising / sponsorship, by merchandising, by broadcasting rights, and by gambling. Spectator sports are also a matter of national prestige and policy - countries market themselves as sports destination, and by "sports-washing" deflect attention from their unattractive regimes.

The live audience for big events is nowadays greatly outnumbered by TV and internet viewers, and developments in virtual reality promise to take this further. But for the time being, the crowd is essential to the event. They descend in partisan masses upon the host city, throng the pubs and transport hubs, and book up accommodation. Their chants and slogans, team regalia, cheers and boos, all create an intense atmosphere. Alcohol-fuelled violence has too often been a by-product.

Early spectators simply milled around the playing area, craning to see the action. It's still like that in golf, where crowds follow their favourite player from hole to hole, and in on-road races for cycling and motor sports where the biggest audience is close to the finish line but people find vantage points all along the way. But larger crowds made this unmanageable for most sports, so embankments then stadiums were built: modern examples are huge and architecturally exciting. Stadiums may be multi-purpose or dedicated to one sport, and a big division is between those for ball games, and those incorporating a running track, which makes them suitable for Olympics but distances the crowd. They may be "borrowed" for events, for instance international rugby matches may use a soccer stadium simply for extra capacity. The upkeep of a stadium (even a small one) is usually part-financed by a sponsorship deal, so they change their names for the length of the deal, sometimes just for a specific event. Signage on streets and public transport can't keep up with this so be sure to check not only which stadium you're going to, but any other names it's locally known by.

Every big city has a sports or other mass event at least once a week, so they are well-practised in signage, stewarding and crowd safety, extra / diverted transport, and policing. See individual city pages for accommodation, and other things to see and do there. See Events for the very largest, which embroil entire countries for days on end. These draw a travelling army of fans following their teams from city to city as the tournament progresses, so even if you don't plan to attend, you have to factor the event into your travel plans.

Articles about watching sports edit

Events with multiple sports edit

African Games edit

The African Games are held among the countries of Africa.

  • 2024 (billed as "2023"): Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast, in Ghana from 8–23 March.
  • 2027: Cairo, Egypt from 20 January–7 February.
  • 2031: Kinshasa, DR Congo (dates TBA).

Asian Games edit

The Asian Games[dead link] among the countries of Asia; the second largest multi-sports games after the Summer Olympics. Features some sports that are popular in Asia but not contested at the Olympics such as wushu (Chinese martial arts), kabbadi, sepak takraw and dragon boat racing, as well as some globally-popular non-Olympic sports such as tenpin bowling and squash. The Winter Asian Games, operated by the same body but featuring only winter sports. Normally held in the year before the Winter Olympics.


Bolivarian Games edit

Central American Games edit

The Central American Games, only involving the seven nations of Central America.

  • 2026: Dates and host TBA

Central America and Caribbean Games edit

The Central America and Caribbean Games — the second oldest international multi-sport games.

Commonwealth Games edit

The Commonwealth Games among the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations; the fourth-largest multi-sports games. Unlike other multi-sport events, para-sports events are held as part of the main games with the able-bodied sports events. Features some non-Olympic sports that are popular in the Commonwealth such as lawn bowls, squash and netball. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland send separate teams to the Commonwealth Games, in contrast to the Olympics where they send a unified Great Britain team.

The next games in 2026 were originally scheduled for the Australian state of Victoria, but the state government pulled out in July 2023, citing financial concerns. No new site has been announced.

Deaflympics edit

The Deaflympics is an IOC-sanctioned event for athletes with hearing impairments. Although the sports are largely the same as the Olympics, modifications are made to not rely on sounds such as starter's guns, spoken commands or referee whistles. Separate summer and winter games are held.

  • 2024 Winter Deaflympics (billed as "2023"): 2–12 March in Erzurum, Turkey
  • 2025 Summer Deaflympics: 15–26 November in Tokyo, Japan

European Games edit

The European Games among European countries. The newest continental-level multi-sport event, with its first edition in 2015. Also in the year before the Summer Olympics.

  • 2027: Dates and host TBA

Gay Games edit

The Gay Games attract mostly LGBT athletes, though are open to all.

  • 2026: Valencia, Spain
  • 2030: Host to be announced in November 2025

Jeux de la Francophonie edit

Jeux de la Francophonie among the countries of La Francophonie. The Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick send separate teams from the Canadian team, and the Belgian team is restricted to sending Francophone athletes. Held in the year after the Summer Olympics.

  • 2027: Dates and host TBA

Maccabiah Games edit

The Maccabiah Games for Jewish athletes from 85 nations, and Israelis regardless of ethnicity or religion, are the third-largest multi-sports event by number of competitors after the Summer Olympics and Asian Games. Always held in Israel.

  • 2025: July, Israel

Olympic Games edit

See Olympic Games.

Pacific Games edit

Pan American Games edit

The Pan American Games among the countries of the Americas.

  • 2027: Host and dates TBA. Barranquilla, Colombia had originally been announced as host, but didn't meet contractual obligations and was stripped of hosting rights in January 2024.

Southeast Asian Games edit

The Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), held every two years in odd-numbered years, among the countries of Southeast Asia. Features some sports that are only popular in Southeast Asia such as sepak takraw and silat.

  • 2025: 7-19 December, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2027: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 2029: Singapore
  • 2031: Laos
  • 2033: Philippines

Special Olympics edit

The Special Olympics are IOC-sanctioned events for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities.

Special Olympics World Summer Games edit

Special Olympics World WInter Games edit

World Games edit

Held every four years in the year after the summer Olympic Games. No events overlap with any contested in the Olympics. Many of the sports are not part of the Olympic program at all; the World Games also feature many non-Olympic disciplines and/or events within Olympic sports. The events are organized by the International World Games Association, which is recognized by the IOC.

Events for a single sport edit

American football edit

National Football League edit

NFL International Series edit

At least three regular season games, all held in London (England). The NFL has contracts with the following venues for future games:

  • At least one game per season through 2024 at Wembley Stadium.
  • At least two games per season through 2027 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The nominal home teams for the 2024 games have been announced, with the exact dates expected to be announced in spring 2024.

NFL games in Mexico edit

The NFL first held a regular season game in Mexico in 2005. Despite good attendance, the league did not return until the 2016 season, the first of what was meant to be a three-year deal to hold one game each season in that country. With both the 2016 and 2017 games selling out, the deal was extended through the 2021 season with an eye to possibly play more than one game per season in future years. All Mexico games thus far have been held in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The most recent Mexico game was in 2022. With Estabio Azteca being renovated for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, there will be no Mexico games until at least the 2024 season and possibly 2025.

NFL games in Germany edit

In February 2022, the NFL announced a four-year agreement to expand the NFL International Series in Germany. The games will be split between the Allianz Arena in Munich and Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt. The first game was held in the 2022 season. With the Mexico game being put on hold due to stadium renovations, there were two Germany games in 2023, both in Frankfurt. A 2024 game has been announced for Munich.

US college football edit

  • College Football Playoff National Championship
    • 2025: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (home of the Atlanta Falcons); January 20
    • 2026: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida (home of the Miami Dolphins); January 19

Each of these games is the championship for the previous calendar year. The bulk of the American football season takes place in the northern hemisphere fall/autumn.

European League of Football edit

  • ELF Championship Game – 2024 edition at Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on 22 September

German Football League edit

Australian rules football edit

Australian Football League edit

  • 2024 AFL Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – expected date 28 September

Badminton edit

Badminton is generally most popular in Asia, with East and Southeast Asian nations generally dominating the international tournaments, the sole exception being Denmark. The BWF World Tour is the premier international badminton tournament circuit, with the following tournaments being the most important ones on the circuit:

  • All England Open — the oldest international badminton tournament in the world, and the most prestigious tournament on the circuit. Held in March every year at the Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, England.
  • China Open — held in September every year, with the venue often changing between different Chinese cities.
  • Denmark Open — held in October every year at the Odense Sports Park in Odense, Denmark.
  • Indonesia Open — held in November every year at the Istora Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The World Championships are held every year except in Olympic years. Badminton has been an Olympic sport since 1992, with the Olympics generally being considered the premier tournament in the sport. There is also the Thomas Cup for men's national teams, and the Uber Cup for women's national teams, which mostly operate as multi-level leagues.

Baseball edit

see also Baseball and Baseball in the United States

Basketball edit

NBA edit

See: Basketball in North America

US college basketball edit

The biggest event in US college (university) basketball is the NCAA Division I men's tournament, featuring 68 teams. The Division I women's tournament draws considerably less interest, but is still the biggest event in American women's college sports. The men's tournament begins on the Tuesday preceding the third Thursday in March (in terms of dates, no earlier than March 13 and no later than March 19) in Dayton, Ohio with an eight-team round marketed as the First Four, featuring two games on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. The winners of these four games join the remaining 60 tournament teams for the first round, which starts on the third Thursday in March. The women's tournament expanded from 64 teams to 68 starting in 2022, with its own First Four; it starts the day after the men's tournament.

The four-team final rounds of these tournaments are known as the Final Four. Future Final Four sites are:

Men
  • 2024 – April 6 and 8 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix
  • 2025 – April 5 and 7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio
  • 2026 – April 4 and 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis
  • 2027 – April 3 and 5 at Ford Field in Detroit
  • 2028 – April 1 and 3 at Allegiant Stadium just west of the Las Vegas Strip
  • 2029 – March 31 and April 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis
  • 2030 – April 6 and 8 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth
Women
  • 2024 – April 5 and 7 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland
  • 2025 – April 4 and 6 at Amalie Arena in Tampa
  • 2026 – April 3 and 5 at Footprint Center in Phoenix
  • 2027 – April 2 and 4 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio
  • 2028 – March 31 and April 2 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
  • 2029 – March 30 and April 1 at the Alamodome in San Antonio
  • 2030 – April 5 and 7 at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon
  • 2031 – April 4 and 6 at American Airlines Center in Dallas

EuroLeague edit

The EuroLeague is basketball's equivalent to the UEFA Champions League in association football (soccer), featuring top club teams from throughout Europe (note that in sports, "Europe" includes several countries either partly or totally in Asia, most notably Russia, Turkey, and Israel). The season starts in October and ends with the EuroLeague Final Four in May.

Canadian football edit

Golf edit

Men's edit

Major championships

Three of the four men's major championships are held in the US. The only exception is The Open Championship, also known as the "British Open". Each tournament is played from Thursday through Sunday, barring weather-related delays, and has a fixed weekend on the calendar. Although golf has been an Olympic sport from 1900-1904, and since 2016, the Major championships are regarded as more prestigious than the Olympics, and most top players choose to skip the Olympics. A golfer who wins all four majors in the same calendar year is said to have completed the Grand Slam, which has yet to be achieved (Tiger Woods won all four consecutively, but spanning two calendar years starting from the 2000 U.S. Open to the 2001 Masters Tournament; at the time, the PGA Championship was the year's final major, instead of the second).

  • Masters Tournament (always held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia) – ends on the second Sunday in April, with the next edition set for 11–14 April 2024
  • PGA Championship – ends on the next-to-last Sunday of May; next edition to be held 16–19 May 2024 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, specifically in far eastern Jefferson County
    • Sites have been set through 2029, as well as for 2031 and 2034.
  • U.S. Open – ends on the third Sunday in June; next edition to be held 13–16 June 2024 at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina
    • Sites have been set through 2030, except for 2028, as well as for most subsequent years through 2051.
  • The Open Championship – played during the week containing the third Friday in July; next edition to be held 20–23 July 2024 at Royal Troon Golf Club in South Ayrshire, Scotland, very near Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
    • Sites have been set through 2026.
Other significant events
  • Ryder Cup (USA vs. Europe team competition) – Held in odd-numbered years; alternately hosted by the US and Europe
    • 2025 – September/October (exact dates TBA) at the Black Course of Bethpage State Park on Long Island (about 35 miles/56 km east of Midtown Manhattan)
    • 2027 – September/October (exact dates TBA) at Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland
  • Presidents Cup (competition between a USA team and an "International" team of non-Europeans) – Held in even-numbered years; alternately hosted by the US and a non-European country

Women's edit

Major championships

Three of the five women's major championships are held in the US. As with the men's major championships, all are held from Thursday through Sunday (barring weather delays).

  • Chevron Championship (held at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, about 30 mi/50 km north of Houston) – Next edition to be held 18–21 April 2024
  • U.S. Women's Open – Next edition to be held 30 May–2 June 2024 at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.
    • Future sites have been set through 2035, and for several subsequent years through 2048.
  • Women's PGA Championship – Next edition to be held 20–23 June 2024 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington, about 20 mi/32 km east of Seattle
  • The Evian Championship (always held at the Evian Resort Golf Club in Évian-les-Bains, France) – Typically ends on the last Sunday of July, but due to the Summer Olympics is being rescheduled for 11–14 July 2024.
  • Women's British Open – Typically held two weeks after The Evian Championship, but also being rescheduled for 2024 due to the Olympics. The 2024 edition will be at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland from 22–25 August.
Other significant events
  • Solheim Cup (USA vs. Europe team competition) – Held in even-numbered years (from 2024) in August or September; alternately hosted by the US and Europe

Ice hockey edit

See also: Ice hockey in North America, Ice hockey in Europe

Men's edit

IIHF Men's World Championship

Women's edit

IIHF Women's World Championship

Since 2022, the top level of the Women's World Championships has been held annually, even in Winter Olympic years. From 1997–2021, the top level was an annual affair, but Winter Olympic years were skipped.

Motor racing edit

See also: Motor sport

Formula One edit

See the dedicated article.

NASCAR edit

A U.S. stock car racing organization, and the country's most popular form of motorsport. The term "stock car" is a historic reference; when NASCAR first organized races in the years immediately after World War II, the cars were in fact "stock"—exactly as purchased from dealers, with minimal safety-related changes. Over time, the cars changed to the point that they are only vaguely similar in external appearance to current street vehicles, with much more powerful engines and far more safety equipment. NASCAR now operates three national touring series:

  • Cup Series, the top series
  • Xfinity Series, the second level
  • Craftsman Truck Series, the third level, which races pickup trucks instead of cars; usually called simply the "Truck Series"

Most races are held on oval tracks. For many years, no more than one or two Cup Series races were held on road courses, but since 2021 that number has gone up to six. Five Xfinity Series races and three Truck Series are also held on road courses. Before COVID-19, the Truck Series held one race in Canada, but border restrictions led to that date being transferred south of the border, and NASCAR has yet to return any of its U.S. national series to Canada (although it runs a separate Canadian series).

The sport used to be centered in the Southeastern U.S., but beginning in the 1990s it expanded to become a national spectacle. A typical NASCAR event spans a long weekend, with two or even all three series holding races at one site. Unlike most sports, NASCAR's biggest event is the first race of the season:

  • Daytona 500, held on the day before the Presidents Day holiday (which falls on the third Monday of February) at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida

IndyCar edit

A U.S.-based open-wheel racing series. It was established in its current form in 2008, when the IndyCar Series (launched in 1996) merged with the former Champcars series. The merger is a story in itself—as late as the early 1990s, open-wheel racing, governed by a body known as CART (which later became Champcars), was the most popular form of motorsport in the U.S. However, in 1994, the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the series' marquee event, the Indianapolis 500, had a bitter falling-out with CART, leading to the creation of the competing IndyCar series (which took the Indy 500 with it). The feud led many former open-wheel fans to abandon the sport, often for NASCAR. By the time the feud ended, attendance and sponsorship money for the sport were a fraction of what they had been only 15 years earlier, and only in the late 2010s had it begun to recover some of its original prominence.

All of the series' races are held in the U.S. except for one on a street course in Toronto. The tracks are a mixture of ovals, road courses, and street circuits.

The series' marquee event, as mentioned above, is:

  • Indianapolis 500, held the day before the U.S. holiday of Memorial Day (which falls on the last Monday of May) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana (a community completely surrounded by the city of Indianapolis)

Motorcycle speedway edit

Motorcycle speedway is a sport where lightweight motorcycles race each other on an oval-shaped track. It is most popular in Poland but also has a major presence in Australia, Britain, and Sweden.

Important events edit
  • Speedway Grand Prix, held annually in the Northern Hemisphere's late spring, summer, and early fall.
  • Speedway of Nations, held annually in the Northern Hemisphere's summer (usually June or July).

Rugby edit

see also Rugby football

Rugby union edit

  • 2024 Six Nations Championship, February–March:
  • 2024 Rugby Championship, various locations in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Normally held August–October, with an abbreviated and time-shifted version held in years of the men's Rugby World Cup.
  • 2025:
    • British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, June–July
    • Rugby World Cup (women's) in England, dates TBA
      • Note that World Rugby, the governing body for union, uses the "Rugby World Cup" name for both its men's and women's championship events.
  • 2027 Rugby World Cup (men's) in Australia, dates TBA
  • 2029:
    • British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, June–July
    • Rugby World Cup (women's) in Australia, dates TBA
  • 2031 Rugby World Cup (men's) in the United States, dates TBA
  • 2033:
    • British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, June–July
    • Rugby World Cup (women's) in the United States, dates TBA

Rugby sevens edit

  • World Rugby Sevens Series and World Rugby Women's Sevens Series: A series of 8 tournaments for national men's and women's sevens teams held at various locations around the world. In the current format, all events see both sexes compete on the same weekend. Marketed as the HSBC SVNS (with HSBC being the main corporate sponsor).
    • Dubai Sevens – The traditional season opener, held on the weekend including the first Saturday in December at a stadium known as The Sevens.
    • South Africa Sevens – Held on the weekend after the Dubai Sevens at Cape Town Stadium.
    • Australian Sevens – Held on the last weekend of January at Perth Rectangular Stadium (commercially HBF Park).
    • Canada Sevens – Held on the last weekend of February at BC Place in downtown Vancouver.
    • USA Sevens – Held the weekend after the Canada Sevens at Dignity Health Sports Park in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California.
    • Hong Kong Sevens – The most famous men's event. Held in early April at Hong Kong Stadium in So Kon Po, in the east of Hong Kong Island.
    • Singapore Sevens – Held in early May at the National Stadium in Kallang, a district just to the northeast of the Downtown Core.
    • Madrid Sevens – The final event, held at Estadio Metropolitano in the city's northern San Blas district.
  • The next Rugby World Cup Sevens, with men's and women's national teams competing in separate tournaments at the same site and time, will be held in 2026 at a site to be determined.

Rugby league edit

National Rugby League edit
  • NRL Grand Final – The first or second Saturday of October at the Sydney Cricket Ground, just east of the city centre.
  • State of Origin series – three matches in all in May–July, with at least one at each of the following venues:
Super League edit
  • Super League Grand Final
International edit

Soccer edit

See also: Association football, Association football in Europe

Men's edit

Women's edit

Tennis edit

Tennis has events throughout the calendar year. The top-level men's tour is the ATP Tour, with the WTA Tour as the women's counterpart. The men's and women's tours come together for the four Grand Slam events and a few other select tournaments throughout the year. The only players to have ever completed the grand slam are Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 & 1969) in the men's event, and Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Court (1965) and Steffi Graf (1988) in the women's event. In addition to these, the Davis Cup (men) and Billie Jean King Cup (women) are the top events for national teams; these operate as multi-level leagues. The top levels (now known as the "Finals" in both events) were traditionally conducted as knockout tournaments, but now use a format similar to that of the FIFA World Cup, with all qualifying nations meeting at a single site for a group stage followed by a knockout stage. A player who wins all four grand slams and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year is said to have completed a golden slam, and the only player to have done so to date was Germany's Steffi Graf in 1988. (The doubles partnership of American identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan, aka the Bryan Brothers, won all of the required events consecutively, but their streak started with the 2012 Olympics, thus spanning two calendar years.)

Grand Slam events edit

All four of these events are held over two weeks. They are considered to be the pinnacle of the sport of tennis, and are even more prestigious than the Olympics.

  • Australian Open: Ends on the last Sunday in January at Melbourne Park just outside the city centre. Frequently suffers from hot and humid weather in the southern summer, although this has been alleviated by retractable roofs on the three main courts. The final is held in the Rod Laver Arena, which is named after Rod Laver, the only player to have completed a grand slam twice, and the last man to achieve the feat when he did so in 1969.
  • French Open (also known as Roland Garros): Held in late May and early June at Stade Roland Garros in the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arondissement of Paris. Most notable as the only Grand Slam event still held on clay courts.
  • Wimbledon: Begins on the first Monday in July and ends on the second Sunday following at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in the Wimbledon neighbourhood of southwest London. Notable for being the only Grand Slam event held on grass courts, requiring all players to dress only in white, and many other traditions. The most prestigious of the Grand Slams.
  • US Open: Begins on the last Monday in August and ends on the Sunday after the US holiday of Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday of September. Held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in the northern part of the New York City borough of Queens.

Season-ending championships edit

Both the ATP and WTA have season-ending events for the very top players, with eight players qualifying for the finals in singles and eight teams in doubles. The competitors are divided into two groups of four, each playing a round-robin within the group. The top two finishers in each group advance to the semifinals, with the winners of each semifinal contesting the final.

  • ATP Finals: Mid-November at Pala Alpitour (aka Palasport Olimpico) in Turin, Italy.
  • WTA Finals: Late October–early November at Plaza Quintana Roo in Cancún, Mexico.

In the mid-2010s, the WTA Tour launched the WTA Elite Trophy, a second season-ending event for players immediately below those who qualify for the WTA Finals. However, after the 2019 edition, it became a COVID-19 casualty, not resuming until 2023.

Other top-tier events edit

Both the ATP and WTA have a multi-level hierarchy of events, with the Grand Slam at the top, followed by the season-ending championships and then the events shown here (with other levels below these in both cases). The two tours have differing terminology for this level:

  • ATP: Nine events known as the "ATP Tour Masters 1000". All top players are required to enter these events (barring injury or other misfortune), with the exception of the Monte-Carlo Masters.
  • WTA: The "WTA 1000" was established in 2021 by the merger of the former "Premier Mandatory" and "Premier 5" events. However, the former split between those two categories is still maintained, with only the four former "Premier Mandatory" events requiring that top players enter.
  • Olympics: The tennis event at the Olympics is less prestigious than the Grand Slams, and many top players choose to skip it, while those who compete often do not take it seriously and lose to little-known lower-ranked opponents. That said, players who win all four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year are said to have completed a golden slam, which is an extremely rare and difficult feat; only one player, Steffi Graf, has managed to do so to date. One doubles team, the Bryan Brothers (American twins Bob and Mike Bryan), won all of the events consecutively, but during a span of two calendar years.

With that in mind, here are the ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 events:

  • Qatar Ladies Open: Mid-February at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha. Non-mandatory; alternates yearly with Dubai between WTA 1000 and lower-level WTA 500 status.
  • Dubai Tennis Championships: Late February at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre. Non-mandatory; alternates yearly with Qatar between WTA 1000 and lower-level WTA 500 status.
  • Indian Wells Masters (men) and Indian Wells Open (women): Early March in Indian Wells, California (near Palm Springs). ATP Masters 1000 and mandatory WTA 1000.
  • Miami Open: Late March–early April at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida (north of the city of Miami). ATP Masters 1000 and mandatory WTA 1000.
  • Monte-Carlo Masters: Mid-April at Monte Carlo Country Club in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, next to Monaco. ATP Masters 1000.
  • Madrid Open: Mid-May at Caja Mágica in Madrid. ATP Masters 1000 and mandatory WTA 1000.
  • Italian Open: Week following the Madrid Open at Foro Italico in Rome. ATP Masters 1000 and non-mandatory WTA 1000.
  • Canadian Open: Early August at Stade IGA in Montreal and Aviva Centre in Toronto. In odd-numbered years, the men play in Montreal and the women in Toronto, and vice versa in even-numbered years. ATP Masters 1000 and non-mandatory WTA 1000.
  • Cincinnati Masters (men) and Cincinnati Open (women): Week after the Canadian Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati. ATP Masters 1000 and non-mandatory WTA 1000.
  • Wuhan Open: Last week of September at Optics Valley International Tennis Center. Non-mandatory WTA 1000.
  • China Open: Start of October, immediately following the Wuhan Open, at the National Tennis Center in Beijing. Mandatory WTA 1000.
    • Note that the ATP Tour plays here at the same time, but the men's version of the China Open is a fourth-tier 500 Series event.
  • Shanghai Masters: Week after the China Open at Qi Zhong Stadium in the southwest of the city. ATP Masters 1000.
  • Paris Masters: Late October–early November at AccorHotels Arena in the 12th arrondissement. ATP Masters 1000.

Handball edit

See also: Handball in Europe

Olympic or team Handball is a fast paced team sport that is mostly played indoors and enjoys considerable popularity in most of continental Europe. The world cup as well as the European championship are major events, second only to soccer. The best national leagues (found in Germany, France and the Nordic countries) battle out a club champion every year. There is also the EHF Champions League which battles out Europe's top club team every year.

Cycling edit

Road bicycle racing is broadly divided into two race types:

  • Single-day races — Exactly as the name implies, these races are held on a single day at around the same time each year. Some have fixed courses; more have fixed starting and end points with courses varying slightly from year to year. The most prestigious races of this type are often called "classics", but the term is poorly defined.
  • Stage races — Held over more than one day, with one race each day known as a "stage" (though some races, notably the Grand Tours, will include one or two rest days). While there is an award ceremony at the end of each stage, the overall winner is determined by "general classification"—the cumulative time for the entire race.

The most famous road racing events for bicycles in the world are the three stage races known as Grand Tours. They are raced in Italy, France, and Spain but commonly also include legs in other countries. These tours, each featuring 21 stages, involve only men's races, and are even more prestigious than the cycling events at the Olympics.

  • Giro d'Italia - around Italy, usually takes place in May.
  • Tour de France - around France, usually takes place in July. The most prestigious of the three.
  • Vuelta a España - around Spain, usually takes place in August.

While countless single-day races are run, both throughout Europe and worldwide, the most famous are the five races known as "Monuments", all of which were first held between 1890 and 1915.

  • MilanSan Remo (Italian: Milano–Sanremo) – The first major classic of the year, usually on the third Saturday of March on a course between the two named locations. It's considered "the sprinters' classic" because its mostly flat course favors that type of rider.
  • Tour of Flanders (Dutch: Ronde van Vlaanderen) – Held in early April through Belgium's Flanders region between Antwerp and Oudenaarde. The first of the "cobbled classics", with many key sections (including several short but very steep hills) paved in cobblestones.
  • ParisRoubaix – Probably the most famous single-day race, it's known as the "Queen of the Classics" and l'Enfer du Nord ("The Hell of the North [of France]"). Held one week after the Tour of Flanders, it features even longer stretches of cobblestone roads, making it arguably the hardest single-day race on riders.
  • LiègeBastogne–Liège – Held in late April in Belgium, this race is nearly as hard on riders as Paris–Roubaix, but for different reasons, namely a long course with numerous short but steep hills in the Ardennes region, as well as an uphill finish in Liège.
  • Giro di Lombardia (officially Il Lombardia) – The year's final Monument, held in October over a course that varies from year to year, with only a few fixed locations, most famously the arduous climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo church in Magreglio near Lake Como. The race ends in either Bergamo or Como. Known as "the climbers' classic" from its many significant climbs.

Cycling is also featured at the Summer Olympics in 4 disciplines; track cycling, road cycling, mountain biking and BMX. With the exception of the men's road cycling discipline, these are generally considered to be the pinnacle of the sport of cycling.

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