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Calendar of Major Sporting Events
Calendar of Major Sporting Events
Calendar of Major Sporting Events
Here you’ll find a run down of the biggest events of the sporting calendar each year. For events which take place over a longer period we list according to the start date – for example, the Six Nations begins in February. There are some events where the interest is weighted towards the final where we have chosen to list it by that instead, where this is the case this is clearly marked as “Final”.
This is by no means a complete list of all sporting events that take place throughout the year, but should give you a pretty good idea of what there is to look forward to in the coming months.
PDC World Darts Championship
Taking place at the famed Alexandra Palace, the World Darts Championship was founded in 1994. Staged between December and January with the final in the New Year, the tournament is known for its raucous crowds, is heavily televised and carries a prize fund of over £2.5 million.
The Masters (Snooker)
The second-longest running pro tournament on the snooker circuit behind the World Championship, the Masters is a Triple Crown event and one of the most important in the sport. Staged in mid-January, the Masters is hosted at Alexandra Palace and involves the 16 highest ranked players in the sport.
On the tour since 1905, the Australian Open is the first of four Grand Slam tennis tournaments of the year. Staged at Melbourne Park with the final at the Rod Laver Arena, the tournament runs from mid-to-late January and boasts prize money totalling a cool $80 million.
The Super Bowl is American Football’s championship game, finishing the NFL season in mid-February. The game transcends sport and is usually America’s most watched TV show of the year. Famed for its half-time show, the Super Bowl is second only to the Champions League final as the most-watched sports event annually and moves to a different city and stadium each time.
Cricket World Cup
Officially entitled the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, this white-ball tournament is played in a one-day format every four years, moving to a different ICC nation each time. The World Cup is usually staged from February to March and consists of 10 teams at the finals in a round-robin format until the semi-finals.
Known officially as the Six Nations Championship, this is the ever-popular yearly rugby union tournament that features England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy. Teams play each other once each year, home advantage changing from year-to-year. The event begins on the first weekend in February and runs to the second or third weekend in March.
EFL Cup (Final)
Known under sponsor names but affectionately by many as the League Cup, the EFL Cup runs from early August until the final on the last Sunday in February or the first Sunday in March. The tournament is run for league teams only, culminating in a Wembley final.
The biggest jumps meeting in horse racing, the Cheltenham Festival is staged over four days every year at Cheltenham Racecourse. Run in mid-March, the Festival comprises 28 races with the highlight being the Gold Cup, run on the final day. It is seen as the highlight of the entire jumps season.
One of snooker’s major ranking tournaments is the China Open, founded in 1997. The tournament is staged in Beijing in early April and carries a total prize fund of around £1 million.
Known to golf fans simply as The Masters, or the US Masters, one of the sport’s four major tournaments is hosted every year at Augusta National in Georgia. The event takes place in early April and consists of four days of action with the prize fund topping $11 million.
The Grand National is the best-known horse race on the jumps calendar, and is the single biggest betting event in Britain of any kind. Staged on either the first or second Saturday in April, the race is known for its large field of 40 horses and its extreme distance of some 4½ miles. The ‘National’ is run at Aintree, near Liverpool, every year.
World Snooker Championship
As not only the most prestigious but also the longest running and most valuable tournament, the World Championship sits at the very pinnacle of snooker. Synonymous with its home at the Crucible in Sheffield, the tournament runs from mid-April to the Early May Bank Holiday Monday. The World Championship is worth almost £2.5 million in total.
One of four golf majors and one of three hosted in the USA, the PGA Championship moves location each year but is staged in mid-to-late May. According to golf’s world rankings, the PGA Championship has the highest strength of field rating, making it the toughest golf tournament to win with a prize fund of over $12 million.
The French Open, known to some as Roland-Garros after where it is staged, is one of four Grand Slam tennis tournaments each year. Played on clay, some players specialise on the surface while others struggle. The Paris-based tournament runs in late May each year and attracts the best players in the world.
Monaco Grand Prix
On the calendar since 1929, the prestigious and world-famous Monaco Grand Prix is considered the best Formula One race around. Staged on the streets on the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, the race takes place at the end of May or the beginning of June every year and is famous for it’s tight turns and difficult circuit.
FA Cup (Final)
Round 1 proper of the most famous domestic cup competition in the world gets the FA Cup going as early as November, with the big teams joining in Round 3 in early January when the Cup begins in earnest. The FA Cup runs right through to mid-May, when the two finalists battle it out at Wembley Stadium.
Europa League (Final)
Second in importance to the Champions League, the UEFA Europa League features some of the best teams from around the continent. Group stages begin in mid-September, with the final moving around Europe and being staged midweek in mid-to-late May.
Europa Conference League (Final)
A new UEFA tournament beginning in 2021, the Europa Conference league means once again the continent is back to three club tournaments yearly. Clubs can qualify via their national leagues and cups, this being the third tier of European club football. The final is played midweek in late May.
Champions League (Final)
The most important club competition in the world, the UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of club football, some say any football. Group stages begin in mid-September, with the final taking place in a different European city each year at the end of May, very occasionally early June.
Run on the second of two major days of action at Epsom Downs in Surrey and always on the first Saturday in June, The Derby is the most important Classic race of the British Flat horse racing season. The best three-year-olds in the business challenge for the race, which comes with a minimum £1 million prize fund and plenty of prestige.
The most famous festival with horse racing on the Flat, Royal Ascot is as famous for its fashion as its racing. Staged at Ascot over five days, the meeting comprises over 30 races of which eight are at Group 1 level, while a minimum of £6 million in prize money is given out. The Ascot Gold Cup is the highlight of a meeting staged in mid-to-late June.
Known more formally as the United States Open Championship, this huge golf tournament is staged over four days at various championship golf courses in the States. The third major of the year, the US Open is worth over $12 million to the field and is hosted in mid-to-late June each year.
While we all know this glorious two weeks of Grand Slam tennis simply as Wimbledon, the third of four Grand Slams of the year is officially known as The Championships, Wimbledon. Played on grass and regarded as the most important and prestigious Slam, Wimbledon is the pinnacle for all male, female and doubles players, being staged late June to mid-July.
Tour de France
The famed Tour de France is a yearly multiple-stage bicycle race, held mostly in France. It occasionally passes through neighbouring countries too. The Tour is made up of 21 stages, each of them over one day, with the race taking 23 days in all to complete. The Tour de France is usually staged from late June to early July.
The UEFA European Football Championship, known to many simply as the Euros, is the top international football tournament staged in Europe and is seen as second in importance only to the World Cup. Now hosted by various countries, the tournament runs once every four years with each being staged from mid-June to mid-July when the final is played.
The UEFA Nations League is a biennial tournament, made up of European international teams. The league stage takes place between June and September, with the finals being played in mid-June after the major domestic leagues have finished for the season.
The FIFA World Cup is, understandably, seen as the top football tournament anywhere in the world. Contested by all member nations, the World Cup is staged once every four years with no country or even continent hosting it twice in a row. Typically staged June to July, the 2021 tournament was moved to November/December to accommodate the extreme weather in host country Qatar.
British Grand Prix
While hosting countries come and go in Formula One, the British Grand Prix is one of the most famous and longest standing races on the circuit. Staged at Silverstone in early July, the weekend encompasses three great days of action with the race itself taking place on the Sunday afternoon.
The English Greyhound Derby is the most important Classic race on the greyhound racing calendar in Britain. Having begun back in 1927, the race has tons of history and runs from June to July, the final taking place over 500 metres in mid-July.
Usually known by golf aficionados simply as The Open, golf’s fourth, final and some say most important major of the year takes place in July at rotating golf courses around the country. At more than £8.5 million the prize money is in line with the three other majors, while The Open was founded way back in 1860.
Beginning around July in England or December in Australia, The Ashes is the most famous test cricket series played. England and Australia do battle over five 5-day tests, venues in each country being subject to change, with each country due to host every four years each.
Established in 1994, the World Matchplay of darts is one of the biggest tournaments on the sport’s circuit. Hosted at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool in July, the World Matchplay is played out in a legs format and like the World Championship is run by the PDC, the Professional Darts Corporation.
The Goodwood Festival, known affectionately as ‘Glorious Goodwood’, is much like Royal Ascot in that it is a top-class Flat horse racing meeting staged over five days. Run in late July and sometimes overlapping into early August, the meeting is targeted by the top owners, trainers and jockeys in the business.
US Open (Tennis)
Not to be confused with its golfing namesake, the US Open Tennis Championships are staged on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows in New York, usually in late August and early September. At more than $57 million (£43 million) the prize fund is huge even for a two-week long Grand Slam tournament.
The top football league in England is also now considered as the best and most valuable domestic football league anywhere in the world. 20 teams compete every year, four qualifying for the Champions League and three being relegated, with the opening games taking place in mid-August while the season is rounded off on a Sunday in late May.
Officially the English Football League Championship, England’s second-tier league is the top one in the EFL and is second only to the Premier League. Containing 24 teams each year, the regular season sees every team play a mammoth 46 games from early August to early May, with the play-offs deciding the third and final team to be promoted with a final at Wembley in late May.
UEFA Super Cup
The UEFA Super Cup is a one-off game staged every year in August between the winners of the organisation’s two major tournaments from the previous season; the Champions League and the Europa League. The Super Cup has been on the football calendar since 1973.
Italian Grand Prix
Owing to the country’s great auto industry and the reputation of manufacturers such as Ferrari, the Italian Grand Prix is one of the key races on the Formula One circuit. Held at the famous Monza circuit north of Milan in mid-September, the race is hugely competitive and seen as taking place in one of the homes of the sport.
Staged every two years, every four in Europe, the Ryder Cup is a major golfing team championship pitting the USA against Europe. The Ryder Cup is held each autumn, usually in late September or early October, and is played out in various golf formats over the course of three days, each team looking to pass the magic 14.5-point total.
Rugby World Cup
Staged every four years, usually in late September and early October, the Rugby World Cup is a rugby union competition, featuring 20 international teams all playing for the Webb Ellis Cup. The tournament takes six weeks to complete, with a pool stage followed by a knockout round.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
ParisLongchamp, right near the Seine River, hosts Europe’s top horse race of the season on the first Sunday in October, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The highlight of two top-class days of action, the race is of utmost importance to the racing and breeding industries and brings together the best middle-distance horses from Britain, Ireland, France and often Japan.
T20 World Cup
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is the top international tournament for the shortest form of cricket. Teams bat for just 20 overs each in this fast-paced format, with the T20 World Cup being due to take place every two years and usually from mid-October to mid-November.
Known colloquially as “the fifth Grand Slam”, the ATP Tennis Finals bring together the top eight men’s, women’s and double’s players in the ATP rankings at the end of the season. The tournament has been staged in various cities and countries and takes place in mid-November each year.
A pro ranking tournament and part of the Triple Crown, the UK Championship is one of the top events in snooker, taking place around late November to early December. Normally staged at the Barbican Centre in York, the UK Championship is valuable with the prize fund topping £1 million.