Sports fans are a crazy bunch and many often travel great distances to watch the games of their favorite sports teams. While this isn’t what you’d classify as unusual behavior, during the sporting season, there are some diehards who make long ‘pilgrimages’ to the homes of their favorite teams during off season, just so they can feel closer to their idols. Odd, isn’t it? But some sport arenas are literally tourist itineraries on their own. Here’s our pick of the top 8.
1. Madison Square Garden
Easily the most iconic sports arena in the world. This multi-faceted arena in New York city, plays host to a plethora of sports, including basketball, boxing, ice hockey, wrestling and others. One of the most celebrated addresses in sport, this arena has been featured extensively in Hollywood films like Godzilla, Extra Time, Time Cop and Sudden Death.
Originally a soccer stadium, Wembley is one of England’s most recognisable landmarks. Situated in London, Wembley has played host to a number of important sporting contests, including Euro Cup Finals, UEFA Champions League Finals and FA Cup and Community Shield Finals.
3. Fenway Park
Home to the Boston RedSox and one of baseball’s spiritual homes, Fenway Park is a Boston institution. Easily the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball, it has seen some epic clashes between the resident team and it’s bitter rivals, the New York Yankees, over the years.
4. Allianz Arena
One of soccer’s most captivating arenas, the Allianz Arena in Munich is home to the second most successful club in UEFA history, Bayern Munich. What’s most striking about this epic arena is the way it is built, such that no matter where you are in the stands, you get an unobstructed view of action occurring on the pitch!
When one speaks of cricket, it is impossible to miss a reference to this venerable arena. Sure there are bigger and more modern stadia, across the world, but tradition and cricket go hand in hand, ergo Lord’s holds a special place in the heart of the purists.
Speaking of larger cricket grounds, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the world’s largest and easily the most sprawling stadium in the cricketing universe. Fun fact: This is the one ground on which 6 runs have been run on a multitude of occasions!
If tennis is your game, then you know that Wimbledon is the place to see and be seen at. Easily the most captivating and tradition rich Grand Slam of the year, Wimbledon has captured the imagination of the masses because of the high standard of match action and of course its near fanatical adherence to tradition.
8. Old Trafford
Home to Manchester United, the powerhouses of English football, Old Trafford is a must visit for any football fan. Virtually unchanged its entire life, if the blades of turf could speak, it would talk of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson, the two knights who propelled United to new heights of success.
Tradition, epic action and of course the promise of a grand spectacle are what prompt fans to make great pilgrimages to their favourite sporting venues. So what’s your reason?
Madison Square Garden photo by Rich Mitchell. License: CC BY 2.0.