The United States boasts some of the finest sporting events in the world, and every year we can count on certain tournaments to capture the hearts and minds of the nation.
Every basketball fan will currently be captivated by the NBA Playoffs, which are set to be as exciting as ever with the Cleveland Caveliers defending their title, and the Golden State Warriors looking like they might take it back from LeBron James and company. The NBA Playoffs is well under way with the first round, but the real time to make a note of is the start of the NBA Finals on June 1st.
Even with so much basketball entertainment to keep passions running high, sports fans should not neglect the joys of other upcoming sporting events. There are many to choose from, and although basketball will always be our pride and joy, we do like to dabble in other areas too.
The Kentucky Derby is in its 143rd year, and is a legendary event even for those who don’t usually take an active interest in the horseracing world. Held after a two-week long festival, the race takes place at the Churchill Downs racetrack on May 6th in Louisville. The Kentucky Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds, which takes place over 1.25 miles. It is the most high profile and historic part of the “Triple Crown” of US horseracing, the other two races being the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
If horseracing is not really your thing, and you prefer a sport with a bit more grit, the Indianapolis 500 takes place shortly after, on Sunday, May 28th (Memorial Day weekend), at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: the largest spectator sport facility in the world with a 257,000 person capacity. Alexander Rossi will enter the 200 lap/500 mile race as defending champion, alongside 32 other Indy Car racers. With prizes of around $2.5 million for the winner, expect tensions to be running high and adrenaline to be pumping. This is some serious racing!
Later on in the year, starting on the last week of August and lasting for two weeks, is the Tennis US Open. This event has been held since 1891, and is the modern update of the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It begins on the week before Labor Day, and runs for two weeks, during which several distinct events are played: the men and women’s singles, men and women’s doubles, mixed doubles, and inclusive tournaments for younger players, seniors, juniors, and wheelchair users. Once held on a grass surface, the US Open is now a hard-surface stadium event that attracts thousands of viewers, and has prize money of around $3.5 million for singles winners.
We have barely even scratched the surface of the immense sporting events that the US has to offer. If racing or tennis doesn’t excite you, keep an eye out for the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl, the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Major League Baseball World Series, all of which offer enough action to keep you occupied in between the NBA season.