Nowadays, the internet comfortably allow sports fans to watch their favorite games virtually anywhere in the world, without the need to move around. With live streaming, and VPN’s you don’t even need to be in the same country to be able to catch the game.
But sports and travel do go together, and there’s something truly magic about soaking in the atmosphere of an actual event. Physically being there, in the middle of the action, screaming your favorite athlete’s name.
If you’re a sports fan visiting Melbourne you certainly won’t be bored. Sports has a strong representation in the city, and Victoria is Australia’s most sports-loving state. Melbourne’s sporting calendar is packed with electrifying events, so if you find yourself in town, pick up your tickets and get ready for a religious experience!
Sports Spectators Won’t Be Bored in Melbourne: These are the Games You Can Catch
Sport is a crucial part of the social fabric in Melbourne, and the Australian Football League (AFL) takes on something of a religious aspect here.
Aussie rules football is the largest spectator sport in the country. It attracts the highest attendance and television viewership, especially during the Grand Final, which is by all accounts, the biggest sporting event of the year. If you find yourself in Melbourne on the last Saturday in September, and the city takes on a completely different atmosphere.
Hundreds of thousands of football fanatics crowd the streets on a pilgrimage through the city to the game. The streets are flooded with colors, scarfs and flags, and the age old buildings literally shake, the energy surrounding the stadium flooding out to the city at large. Betting traffic on Australian versions of popular sites such as Unibet is the highest it is all year.
AFL season runs roughly from March – September each year, and you can catch a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Ten of 18 current Australian Football League teams come from Victoria state, and play their home games here.
Cricket is Australia’s favourite sport. Millions of everyday Australians enjoy the opportunity to play, and backyard cricket is woven into the fabric of what it means to be Australian; the buzz of hitting the ball, taking a wicket or grabbing a catch, as well as enjoying the camaraderie of being part of a team.
Cricket has been played in Australia for over 210 years, and the the Australian national team is one of the most successful teams in international cricket. The whole country stops for the Boxing Day Test match, held at the MCG between Australia and an opposing national team.
So if you’re in Melbourne over Christmas, get out the zinc and the novelty hat and join up to 100,000 cricket fans at the MCG for a sporting event that’s become an Australian institution.
Photo credit: Ben Sutherland
The Melbourne Cup
Melbourne Cup Day is Australia’s most famous Tuesday. At 3.00 pm AEST, on the first Tuesday in November, Australians everywhere stop for one of the world’s most famous horse races—the Melbourne Cup.
The whole nation stops whatever it’s doing to listen to the race call, or watch the race on TV. Even those who don’t usually bet try their luck with a small wager or entry into a ‘sweep’—a lottery in which each ticket-holder is matched with a randomly drawn horse.
Since 1877, Cup Day has been a public holiday for Melbourne, and crowds of up to 150,000 have flocked to the track and hill beyond. The party atmosphere often means that champagne and canapes, huge hats and racetrack fashions overshadow the business of horse racing.
Formula 1 Australian Gran Prix
The Australian Grand Prix is a motor race held annually in Melbourne, which will be hosted by Formula One until 2023. This is the oldest surviving motor racing competition held in Australia having been held 79 times since it was first run at Phillip Island in 1928.
Since 1985, the race has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship and is currently held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park. The Australian Grand Prix is the first round of the Championship. The race in 2017 was won by Sebastian Vettel driving for Ferrari.
Australian Tennis Open
Melbourne comes alive during the Australian Open. This is a major tennis tournament which is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events every year.
The Australian Open has been played in Melbourne for the past 110 years, and spectators have seen thousands of historic matches between some of the world’s tennis greats. Attendance here often rivals and occasionally exceeds the US Open.
It features men’s and women’s singles; men’s, women’s and mixed doubles and junior’s championships; as well as wheelchair, legends and exhibition events. It is held on the last weekend in January.
Photo credit: Richard Fisher
With a capacity of over 100,000 seats, the MCG is an important landmark for the whole region, providing a home for many sports. Regardless of the time of year you travel, you should be able to catch some type of game here.
Games hosted at MCG include football, rugby (National Rugby League), international soccer, and cricket matches. And the schedule for 2018 is busy as usual. But this is more than just a sports venue.
The Stadium has hosted Papal and Royal visits and housed US Marines, the US Army airforces and our own RAAF during World War II. It has also been a concert venue for international and local performers, held open days, charity events, dinners and many more.
Don’t miss the National Sports Museum while you’re at the MCG. Australia’s top disciplines have their exhibits here, there are commemorations for the winter and summer Olympic Games, alongside distinguished personalities who are honored at the Australian Sports Hall of Fame.
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