COVID put an end to sport as we know it in 2020. We saw the Euros and Olympics cancelled, we saw the FA Cup and Champions League final played in front of no fans and we saw tonnes of strawberries turned into compost as the beloved Wimbledon Championships was also canned.
As the governing bodies scramble to get fans back into the arenas as soon as possible to recover that lost revenue, we have picked out some live sports that you may not have previously considered. There are live events out there that are terrific entertainment but not on prime time here in the UK – so look beyond your premier league footy, your six nations and your cricket world cup and spare a thought for these 4 must-watch sports for 2021.
I know what you are thinking – Badminton is a sport I was pretty decent at school, but I haven’t knocked a cock around for few years now and why would I want to watch it. Well badminton is very much a professional sport and although Gail Emms has retired, there are still a number of reasons why badminton is great to follow.
Its fast (the fastest racket sport in the world), its competitive (Rallies can last well over 100 shots) and its indoors (perfect for UK weather). From personal experience, we went to the Badminton at the Rio Olympics and can honestly say I enjoyed it the most – For context we also saw beach volleyball during our stay.
While the World championships are in Spain next year, the All England Open Champs are in Birmingham in March and I think would be a top day out to take in a new sport. There are also multiple national events throughout the badminton calendar so well worth a ticket.
Now I am not saying that Athletics is an obscure or new sport but how many of you have actually been to watch it live? We all watch the beasts of track and field battling it out at the Olympics and diamond league but seeing it in the flesh makes it all the more impressive.
There are loads of athletics meets throughout the UK each year which attract some of the best athletes in the world including our British favourites. When you are there its mental and not like the TV – you’ve got long distance runners going round the track, you’ve got javelin throwers waiting for the group to pass so they can extend their run up, you’ve got high jumpers getting the crowd clapping and you’ve got some deranged mascot jumping about the place getting us pumped. Its truly a class spectacle and one to definitely look into next year.
And all this in the build up to the rescheduled 2021 Olympics games in Tokyo – it is going to be good!!
Womens Super League football
Women’s football has come on absolute leaps and bounds in recent years and I think the 1.12 billion combined viewers of last year’s world cup shows where it is at in terms of quality. It is very much now a professional sport in the premier division with full-time players and staff at most Super League clubs. The clubs generally play at smaller grounds which means decent atmosphere, local and easy to get to and you can drink on the terraces.
The quality and standard of play is continuing to improve as money is being pumped into the sport to help with training, strength and conditioning and general professionalism of the clubs. However the game still needs support from fans and is still one of the key drivers of revenue – it was hit hard by COVID as was all of football but this one needs your support more than ever.
You will have a great day out, watch some good football (much better than you and I could ever get close to) and leave knowing you have boosted the sport for girls looking to become pro.
Something you may not know is that most towns and cities have at least one professional Ice Hockey team which can offer you one of the most high octane, aggressive and combative sports available in the UK. We are not talking about the same level as the NHL but these guys are still seriously talented – Skating as agile as Torvil or Dean in full pads while being smashed into boards by Canadian blokes with no teeth is not a sport I could perform well in myself. However it therefore makes for an excellent spectacle of those maniacs ready to take it on.
You are inside, you will have a good view from wherever you sit, you will have 2 pint ‘super pints’, All-American snacks and you’ll find a new appreciation for a sport you never you could love. AND there’s one thing I haven’t yet mentioned and yet probably the best thing about Ice Hockey – the very real threat of a straight up fist fight which is applauded by all fans where a ref wont get involved until someone hits the deck. Tell me what is better than that!!
Also very affordable with tickets no more than around £15 – a great day or evening out and highly recommend.