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World Famous Sports Events to Add to Your Travel Itinerary

Posted by Tim Roberts on Feb 23, 2024 1:13:29 PM

Packed stadium of a football gameWhether you're a sports aficionado or not, there's no denying that world-famous sporting events bring people together. From the FIFA World Cup to the Olympics to the Wimbledon Championship, action-packed sport is one activity where countries can put outside differences aside and unite for the love of the game. For a few hours (or even days), spectators unite to root for their favorite team or player. By traveling to these world-famous sports events, you are enhancing your experiential tourism experience and playing a small role in uniting us all.


12 of the Most-Watched Sporting Events in the World

Professional female Athletes competing in a running race with stadium crowd in background


Sailing - America’s Cup (Global)

Racing sail boats competing in world famous sports the Americas Cup

America’s Cup is the premier yachting contest in the world and also the oldest modern global sporting event (established in 1851, it predates the modern Olympic Games by 45 years). It started after a syndicate of businessmen from New York sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to the World Fair in England and won a race on the Isle of Wight. The race was created, and the Americans achieved the longest winning streak in sporting events history over a 132-year stretch. (We guess that’s why it’s called America’s Cup!)

It wasn’t until 1983 when Australia became the first successful challenger, that the Americans had to hand over their cup to the Aussies.

The 37th America’s Cup will be hosted in Barcelona, Spain, between September and October 2024 where you can watch the yachts racing a few hundred meters from the Barcelona beach and waterfront. Best of all, women’s and youth America’s Cup regattas will be held in the event schedule for the first time.

  • When: September to October 2024
  • Where: America’s Cup Village, Barcelona, Spain
  • Cost: Starts from €140 (approx. $150)


Tennis - Wimbledon (London, England)

Tennis match played a world famous sports event and grand slam tournament Wimbledon in England

There are several famous tournaments for tennis, one of the most-watched sporting events in the world. The four Grand Slams include:

  • The US Open
  • The French Open
  • The Australian Open
  • Wimbledon Championship

The original (and we would argue the best) belongs to Wimbledon in London. Interestingly, while tennis was invented in England in the 1870s, it descended from the French game jeu de paume, which originated in the late 11th century. The first Wimbledon Championship was in 1877 at the All-England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. 

Today, Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament played on grass and is held at the All-England Club in the posh London suburb of Wimbledon. The exciting sport attracts the top players from around the world to battle it out for the game's top prize, the trophy (which they don't get to keep) and a cool $2,400,000 (approximately).

Tickets to the final game come at a premium and usually attract celebrities and royalty. If you plan on attending, you must plan ahead to secure tickets by entering the Wimbledon public ballot by joining myWIMBLEDON and completing an entry.

  • When: July 
  • Where: All England Club, Wimbledon, London, England
  • Cost: Starts from £75 (approx. $92)


Cricket - Cricket World Cup (Global)

Night Game of Cricket during cricket world cup, a world class sports event

The Cricket World Cup is held every four years in a different country around the world. The game is played across the Commonwealth, including:

  • UK & Ireland
  • Parts of Europe
  • Southern Africa
  • India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • The Caribbean (West Indies)

At the time of this writing, the last Cricket World Cup (the men's 13th edition of cricket's most viewed sporting event) was hosted in India, where Australia was victorious. The Women's Cricket World Cup, now attracting well over a million viewers, was hosted in New Zealand. The ten best cricket teams from the above regions will compete in the next World Cup in Africa.

  • When: October - November 2027
  • Where: Combined hosting between South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe
  • Cost: Starts from 500 - 1,000 INR (approx. $60 - $120)


Equestrian Sports - Kentucky Derby (Kentucky, USA)


Equestrianism, where competitors ride horses and perform jumps and tricks, has become a truly global and treasured sport with notable events spread around the world. There are several competing equestrian events in the world vying for which can be the most prestigious, including:

  • CHIO Aachen
  • FEI World Championships
  • Dubai World Cup
  • Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a part of American culture with a rich tradition of fancy dresses, even fancier hats, sipping on mint juleps, and the iconic red rose blanket draped over the winning horse.

  • When: May
  • Where: Kentucky, USA
  • Cost: Starts from $85


Cycling - Tour de France (France)


The Tour de France is the world’s greatest bicycle race and primarily takes place in France. Created by Henri Desgrange and Georges Lefèvre, the first race was held in 1903 to help improve the circulation of the sports newspaper for which they worked, L’Auto.

In the beginning, the average stage distance was 405 km, meaning the riders had to cycle many days and nights and carry out their own repairs! After Maurice Garin won the first Tour in front of 20,000 Parisians, the creators achieved their goal with L’ Auto’s newspaper circulation quadrupling! 

Yet the next year’s Tour was almost the last…competitors were caught sabotaging each others' bikes and cheating by catching trains! Luckily, the Tour de France survived the controversy and is still with us today.

2024 promises to be a historic year for the Tour de France for several reasons:

  • the Grand Départ happening in Italy for the first time ever; particularly appropriate as 2024 will be the 100th anniversary of the victory of Ottavio Bottecchia (the race's first Italian winner) in 1924
  • the race will end with an individual time trial (the last time this was the case was in 1989)
  • due to preparations in Paris for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the race will end in Nice

Whether you attend the race every year or this would be your first time going, the 2024 Tour de France is guaranteed to be one for the books.

  • When: June
  • Where: 2024 starting in Florence, Italy, finishing in Nice, France
  • Cost: Free (however, areas close to the start and finish are restricted for rider safety)


Race Car Driving - Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo, Monaco)


There are many Formula One Grand Prix worldwide, but none are as iconic as the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. Whether it’s the awesome track around the picturesque Mediterranean city, the spectacular mountain backdrop, or the decadent wealth that goes with it, (probably all of the above) the Monaco Grand Prix is simply legendary. 

Formula One drivers and spectators alike love the race’s romance, tradition, and history. While grandstands are set up around the circuit on the harbor, one of the best ways to watch it is from the water. However, this kind of viewing is usually reserved for luxury travelers or the rich and famous sharing their superyachts

  • When: May
  • Where: Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • Cost: Starting at €110 to €400 (approx. $117 - $424)

Sumo Wrestling - Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament (Tokyo, Japan)


Since (at the time of this writing) there is only one traditional sumo ring outside of Japan, it's pretty safe to say that sumo wrestling is not technically a global sport. However, as a sports travel experience, heading to the thriving megalopolis of Tokyo for the pinnacle of sumo would be a pretty awesome experience. 

Sumo is a form of wrestling where the competitors' goal is to force the opponent off the mat, roughly the same size as a boxing ring. Sumo is Japan’s national sport and is a significant part of its rich culture. It’s also highly entertaining to watch. The average weight of a professional sumo wrestler is 300 to 400 pounds, and they eat up to 7,000 calories per day to maintain their “athletic physique”!

  • When: November
  • Where: Tokyo, Japan
  • Cost: From 3,000 to 14,000 yen (approx. $20 - $94)


Olympic Games - (Global)


The majestic Olympic Games are some of the biggest and most prestigious sporting competitions in the world. They are also the most historical sporting events (dating back to ancient Greece at Olympia) and were held to honor Zeus, the supreme God of Greek mythology.

Every four years, they still take place in a different host country. The 2024 Summer Games, spanning just over six weeks, will be held in Paris. While many different sports are involved in the games, it’s the track and field, gymnastics, and swimming that usually garner the most attention worldwide in both men’s and women’s divisions. Soccer is also gaining popularity as the games attract more players from the UEFA Champions League.

The Winter Games also bring together the best from around the world in sports such as alpine skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, and figure skating. The next Winter Games will be held in Cortina in the Dolomites, Italy, one of the world's luxury ski resorts. Sign us up for both the summer and winter games, please!

  • When: July - August (2024 Summer Games)
  • Where: Paris, France
  • Cost: From €15 to €2,500 (approx. $16 - $2,647)


Football - FIFA World Cup (Global)


Football (or soccer, depending on where you’re from) is the most popular of ball games, has spread to all corners of the globe and boasts some of the most passionate fans of any sport.

The Soccer World Cup is one of the most-watched sporting events worldwide (more than the Super Bowl and the NBA finals combined) and is widely considered the most exciting football club tournament. Also known as the FIFA World Cup, it boasts over a billion viewers around the world and features national soccer teams from multiple countries.

The first Soccer World Cup (also known as FIFA World Cup) was held in 1930, with a competition of only 13 countries. Today, it involves over 200 teams featuring superstars of the game from the UEFA Champions League. The qualifying matches start two years before the actual World Cup, making the whole World Cup the most-watched finals series in the world.

Argentina won the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Historically, the best competitors' race consists of:

  1. Brazil - 5 titles
  2. Germany - 4 titles
  3. Italy - 4 titles
  4. Argentina - 3 titles
  5. France - 2 titles

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be co-hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico for the first time ever.

  • When: June - July
  • Where: USA, Canada and Mexico
  • Cost: Varies


Rugby - Rugby World Cup (Global)

The New Zealand All Blacks playing France in the Rugby World Cup

If there is a runner-up to the FIFA World Cup, it would be the Rugby World Cup. It is one of the most prestigious competitions and popular sports played worldwide. 

The winners of the Rugby World Cup get to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy, named after the Englishman who invented the sport when during a soccer match he picked up the ball and ran the length of the field to score a goal.

The last World Cup was held in France where South Africa won for a record fourth time. Current tally is:

  1. South Africa - 4 Titles
  2. New Zealand - 3 Titles
  3. Australia - 2 Titles
  4. England - 1 Titles

England are set to host the next women's rugby World Cup 2025, while Australia will host the men's in 2027.

  • When: September - October 2027
  • Where: Australia
  • Cost: Starting at approx. $148 - $1,785


The Highland Games - (Dunoon, Scotland)


The Highland Games are a quintessential part of Scottish culture, embodying the rugged charm and spirited competition that Scotland is known for. Originating from ancient clan gatherings, these events serve up a fun array of traditional games, such as 

  • Tug-of-war
  • Shot put
  • Hammer throw 

One of the most exciting sports (and most beloved) of these events is the caber toss, in which participants throw a tree (“caber”) measuring close to 20 feet long and 175 pounds, aiming to flip it end-over-end to land in a targeted area…. certainly not for the fainthearted!

The Highland Games aren’t just a display of athletic prowess; they’re also a celebration of Scottish heritage complete with bagpipes, kilts, and clan parades. As a result of Scots migrating to faraway lands, you can now find these events celebrated globally. From Canada to New Zealand, the games have become a way for people of Scottish descent and those who simply enjoy the culture to celebrate these fun and entertaining Scottish traditions.


  • When: 12th May - 15th September 2024
  • Where: Outdoors across Scotland and around the world
  • Cost: Varies across events


Lumberjack Sports - Lumberjack World Championship (Wisconsin, USA)


We are going to finish this off with a bang! (Or a "crack" may be more appropriate.) We bring you the Lumberjack World Championship in Hayward, Wisconsin (USA), for something fun and a little different. Besides the world-famous wood chopping, this highly entertaining event features:

  • Log rolling: contestants run on top of a log in the river and keep it rolling as long as possible without falling off. (The kids will love it!)
  • Boom running: contestants sprint across a series of linked logs in the river (again, the idea is to make it to the other side without falling in)
  • Speed pole climbing: climbing sporting events on an artificial wall, rocks and poles
  • Axe throwing: throwing axes at a target
  • Log sawing: cutting across entire logs of wood using saws

Wood chopping may seem like a simple enough sport, yet it is a highly intense exercise. Anyone who has chopped wood knows how much it takes the wind out of you. And these guys go non-stop for long periods of this unique and vigorous workout, chopping to their heart's content. 

  • When: July
  • Where: Hayward, WI, USA
  • Cost: From $20 to $30



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Topics: Sports, Luxury travel, Itinerary

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