The 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live

Over here in the States I found a book of the above title by Robert Tuchman.  He works in the sports travel industry for over 10 years and thus attended many of the 100 events he goes on to describe.  He got the idea when he was in Germany for the 2006 World Cup.  He said people travelled from all over the world for such an event.  He proceeded to write a  book that describes the event, where it is, when it is, the significance, who attends, it’s history, Notable Athletes or MVP’s, records, things to know before you go, how to get there, tickets, accommodation, on-site hospitality, travel packages, dining, airports, giving the sports travel insiders edge, notable quotes,  and relevant websites.  It’s a pretty comprehensive guide and so I looked for some I might catch while I am here, and ones that Australia has.

I was a little surprised at some points on the list and thought, I have to get Knackers a chance to rate their top 10 world events.  I’ll give you the top 10 of Tuchman’s list, and then point out a few other familiar events and their ranking.

  1. Masters
  2. World Cup
  3. Super Bowl
  4. Summer Olympics
  5. Army vs Navy Football Game (ok, you have to be local American to get this one)
  6. New York City Marathon
  7. World Series
  8. Winter Olympics
  9. Red Sox vis Yankees at Yankee Stadium (if he’d said Fenway I would have got a tick.)
  10. UNC vs Duke Basketball Game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

I was with him with for the first five, and acknowledge that it is an American book, written by an American author for an American market.  So if he wants people to see the events in their own country, he’s on the right track.  The rankings though, felt strange.

Here are some more notables:

  1. Wimbledon
  2. Tour de France

15. Liverpool vs Manchester United at Old Trafford

19. Daytona 500

24. Kentucky Derby

27.  British Open

31. Indy 500

33. Dubai World Cup

36. Running of the Bulls

45. Special Olympics

And so forth until the surprise for me:

57. Kangaroos Australian Football Game.


Now, I apologise in advance to any North Melbourne supporters but if you are going to recommend someone to Australian Rules Football (not Australian Football Game), surely you have to go for the MCG Grand Final  in the “Insider’s Guide to Creating the Sports Experience of a Lifetime”. Or at least a Dream Time Game or an ANZAC Day game, where the MCG is full and you get that truly magnificent sporting experience that the AFL has to offer.  On the other hand, as Tevyeh from “Fiddler on the Roof” said, on the other hand, you can always guarantee a ticket for a North Melbourne game, with one of the smallest supporter bases and attendances, you’d be in like Flynn.

Now how did this author land on the Kangaroos?  Was it the name, so Australian, so stereotypical? Was it his Australian friends playing tricks and taking him to a game and telling him that this was the best there was to see?

Surely, if you want to give someone a travel experience, you have to put them in a Carlton jumper and put them in the middle of a Collingwood crowd. The combinations would be endless, and the game would be memorable.

Now, my nose was further put out that the race that stops the nation didn’t get a mention, even though Channel Ten always tells us it is enjoyed around the world.  Can’t I believe Channel Ten anymore?

The only other Australian event mentioned was the Australian Open Tennis Tournament.  At least the Kangaroos were mentioned before the Backyard Brawl in Morgantown (this is when the Pittsburgh Panthers meet the West Virginia University Mountaineers and a literal “back yard brawl ensues”.  This, according to my book, is the oldest and most intense college football rivalries which began in 1895.)  I am in Morgantown as I write this, and it doesn’t play out til late October, so I will miss this gripping event.

The Kangas were also mentioned before the Westminster Dog Show (93), where dog’s owners from around the world come to Madison Square Garden to display their dogs. Apparently the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second-oldest continuous sporting event I America.  Only the Kentucky Derby has it beat by two years.  Go Kentucky Derby.  I will see the site but not the event, over the next weeks.

Ranked at 99 is the Little League World Series.  I was lucky enough to pass this venue in Williamsport two days ago, and visited, and was touched by the fabulous ground and the even better museum displaying the history.  I actually bought this year’s program, because a Perth team had entered, and won the hearts of their hosts when they leant their gear to another visiting club when the airlines misplaced all their uniforms and equipment.  I think the guide said the Perth Club actually were awarded a medal for their actions.  I had been in tears watching the film, seeing kids, boys and girls and of every colour, playing this game, learning life’s lessons, and, like our Auskick, having families coaching, organising, supporting on the day.

So how many had I seen, live, of these events? I’ve seen a game of the Kangas, I have seen a game at the famous Fenway Park (55), and I have been to the Australian Open (84).  I have also seen, somewhere back in my life, the Harlem Globetrotters live, and their performance was ranked 86 on the list.

So Knackers, it wouldn’t be hard to beat my measly 4?  Perhaps Glenn Brownstein will take me to the 65 which is the Midnight Madness at University of Kentucky and I’ll get to 5 before my trip is over.


For the full list of 100, go to


Yvette Wroby

4th October 2013

Roving  Footy Almanac Reporter

Morgantown, West Virginia, USA


About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.


  1. Skip of Skipton says

    The Australian rugby league rep side are the Kangaroos. I’m guessing that is what he means. The Kentucky Derby would top my bucket list for US sports events.

  2. Yvette, I’m a NFL tragic (follow the Cleveland Browns) and despise college and lesser American football idioms. College football platers f’r instance — their socks and pants don’t even reach, leaving vast expanses of bare skin.
    Atrocious look. So NOT interested in the Panthers vs. the W. Virginia Mountaineers.
    I’ve seen Man Yoo at Old Trafford but against Stoke City and Aston Villa, not Liverpool. Also seen Galatasaray vs Fenerbache in the Istanbul derby. Very dangerous!
    Have folo’d the Yankees since 1954-55,so not a recent convert. Same prejudices as for Amer. football. Not interested in Little League baseball.
    When the reserves used to play in the old VFL/early AFL days didn’t watch the Magoos running around. Read the Footy Book or listened to the radio.
    So anything bar the No. 1 sides, in whatever code, not going to grab me.
    Was at the 1956 Melb. Olympics boxing and track events, so that ages me.

  3. Peter Flynn says

    Copenhagen trots surely just outside the top 10.

    And Hurling.

    And watching Seville win the metrop.

    Go you good thing.

  4. Yvette Wroby says

    Dear Skip, it’s definately Kangaroos AFL, as they describe them as Shinboners, HE goes on the say the AFL ranks at the top of professional sporting Leagues in both attendance and television ratings. Six millions fans have gone through various arena during regular season with an average attendance of 30,000. He also says club sing is “Join in the Chorus”., and he is dated because he talks of the Name of the venue as the Tesltra Dome…Book published in 2009, when the Roos knocked off St.Kilda in the last round of the season….

  5. Skip of Skipton says

    I remember watching Hurling on TV in the 80s, Wide World of Sports with Ian Chappell and Mike Gibson. What a great game. Same as Gaelic Footy, but with a cricket ball and a big club. How Hockey should be.

    No Hurling, no Aussie Rules, no Melbourne Cup? What an ignoramus.

  6. Good read Yvette
    Personally, any event that people can yell out USA USA is off my radar. Baseball is a rubbish game Take the mitts off you wimps NFL should be placed in an EPL type weekly highlights package rather than 4 hours of crap food and beer. The British Open was my personal sporting mecca. I have never attended an event were every spectator was so knowledgeable and generous to players. That said the 1970 GF wil take some beating, unless the Kangas are playing Port at 4.40pm on a Sunday that is

  7. Just my .02: To me his list seems quite arbitrary. Red Sox-Yankees is far better at Fenway Park because of Fenway’s history — it opened the same day the Titanic sank in 1912. And the Boston Marathon far outstrips New York’s, this year’s mayhem notwithstanding. Pitt-West Virginia over Ohio State-Michigan? Ugh. On MY bucket list is an AFL Grand Final, ahead of the Super Bowl. Someday. Probably be cheaper, too.

  8. cowshedend says

    Reckon the next old firm game between Celtic and Rangers would be a must, got a few more years to wait while the proddies work their way back to the SPL

  9. mickey randall says

    Using rivalry duration as a measure along with sustained intensity, The Ashes rates highly at any venue, but, surely Lords and Melbourne Tests between Australia and England are the equal of any sporting contest.

  10. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Great list Yvette and every event worthy of patronage. Wrestlemania must also be up there for those of us from the school of fake hard knocks.

  11. Loved the piece Yvette. The Fiddler on the Roof reference is a gem.
    TR – baseball is cricket with the boring bits cut out. Fenway Park or Dodgers Stadium leave an Ashes Test for dead.
    My personal faves are:
    – Kapunda trots on a Tuesday night in midwinter, huddled around the oil burning brazier. What do you reckon Crio?
    – The unexpected is always a joy. Bumped into the Bordeaux to Paris bike race (a prelude to the TDF) by accident in the 80’s. Waved to the side of the road with no idea of what was coming. The locals shared their wine and cheese freely, and we eventually worked out the event. As the peloton approached it was hairs on the back of the neck equalled only by the teams emerging for a GF; or a photo in the last leg of the quaddie (much less expensive but).
    The fellow spectators that you share an event with, make it as much as the contest.

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says

    A Ad Uni FC Div 8 Res Scum Premiership is a Must See Live Event ! Seriously tho to not have a AFL Grand Final and Melbourne Cup when crowd wise re Percentage of
    Population they are up there with anything in the world let alone the Game and the event
    A Sporting event which certainly Qualifies is also Oakbank The worlds Largest Picnic
    Race Meeting in South Australia

  13. Hmm,

    55. Baseball game at Fenway – tick (and it was a Yankees game).
    30. Maple Leafs vs Canadians in Toronto – not quite. Have been to Leafs vs Rangers, which as another Original Six matchup should count.
    22. Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend – no, but have been to Cooperstown and walked on the ballfield there.
    59. All Blacks rugby game – tick, and was surprised at how impressive a spectacle top-level rugby is.

    Kangaroos Australian Football – many times. To be fair to my roos, there have been a couple of eras when they would have been indisputably the team you would want to take someone to see to showcase our game. Fair to say that 2009 was not one of those times though.

    My personal bucket list would include the Calgary Stampede, Hong Kong 7s and TdF from those 100. Honestly don’t much care for American Football, Basketball or Horse racing, which seem to make up the bulk of the rest.

    Peter B — I know this isn’t necessarily your position, but I really don’t get cricket people looking down their noses at baseball. It’s easily the tactical equal of cricket, and its traditions are almost completely unmolested by comparison. The only format change of any note in the last century is the introduction of the DH, and that’s only in one of the two major leagues.

  14. Some of mine you cannot go to becuase they are not the same.

    In no order.

    Day 1 – Gabba Test, hill, esp v Eng, v old WI
    Day 3 Adelaide Test when they’ll score 3/368 for the day and you can sit out the back on the lawns
    State of Origin at old Lang Park
    Gabba greyhounds circa 1986
    Rough Habit Bar at Eagle Farm, wandering out onto the lawns
    Terrace at Kardinia Park for an early-season sunny fixture
    Lemnos v Shepp Princess Park Shepp c1971
    British Open
    West Terrace, Headingley
    and many others

  15. Paul Daffey says

    Good topic, Yvette.

    I loved seeing a Munster Championships hurling match. I saw Limerick v Cork in at the Gaelic Grounds and the vibrancy of the crowd and the game itself blew me away.

    I also highly recommend a Tiwi Island grand final. Vibrancy again. The crowd and the game …

    I’d love to go to a Bledisloe Cup match in Dunedin in July. Tough hooers in extreme conditions.

    And I’d love to go to the Bislett athletics meeting in Oslo in June. The Bislett track was a little six-laner until they renovated it.

    World records in distance events were often broken there because the runners surged with the crowd.

    I googled the Bislett business and it led to a Sports Illustrated article on the best sports venues of the 20th century.

    More discussion!

  16. Daff – I remember seeing the Munster Final replay on Wide World of Sports 20+ years ago. The commentator’s brogue was so thick I couldn’t work out what they were saying.
    I figured if US Gridiron has the Super Bowl and AFL has a Grand Final, then why couldn’t the Irish have a “Monster” Final.
    I thought it was just their quirky way of making clear that it was the really, really big final.

  17. Paul Daffey says

    Yes, Peter, Munster is a funny name for a province – and the perfect place for some good hurling craic!

    The Munster hurling final is played at Thurles, County Tipp every August. The winner goes on to the All-Ireland semi-finals, but some reckon the Munster final is more hotly contested than the All-Ireland final. A derby match brings out the best and worst, etc…

    After writing this, I realise that the Munster hurling final is at the top of my to-see list!

    My youngest brother can’t see or hear anything to do with Ireland without saying, “And here coomes Jack O’Shea”, mimicking the Irish television commentator’s call when the famous captain of the great Kerry football teams loomed into action.

  18. Daff,
    My favourite Irish commentator story (apocryphal or not) concerned the great Irish golfer Christy O’Connor Junior.
    A commentator often referred to him as “Christy O’Connor himself” as the Irish often do. Familiarity reduced that to “Himself” becoming synonymous with Christy, until the unfortunate day when the commentator was peering through the fog and uttered the immortal line:
    “Who’s that out there playing with Himself?”

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