Sports are usually consumed from the comfort of the couch. But people have dreams and there are so many thrilling once-in-a-lifetime sports experiences out there. These can range from attending massive competitions, visiting a special stadium, or being there for a historic victory.
The best moments and experiences often transcend the boundaries of their sport. They’re capable of taking anybody’s breath away. Today we’re going to look at 30 once-in-a-lifetime sports experiences. Check out the list below via Bleacher Report.
30. Super Bowl Victory Parade
Winning the Super Bowl is a phenomenal experience for NFL fans. One of the best things about it is how varied the winners are. Sure, the Patriots established a dynasty, but these are rare. In 2020, the Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years. A season later, Tampa won the Vince Lombardi Trophy in their home stadium for the first time in 18 years. In short, it makes it all the more special for fans to experience.
Of course, very few fans actually attend the game itself. One of the best fan experiences is being at the victory parade. This is where the entire city and community come out onto the streets. They watch their heroes pass by on a bus as they bear the trophy aloft. Most of the time there is a real sense of a carnival atmosphere. Also, in many cases, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Olympics is one of the greatest sporting events on the planet. However, it’s difficult to specify one event as being better than any other because it depends on the athletes involved and what individual people enjoy. But one thing about the Olympics that is always magnificent is the Opening Ceremony. Attending this is one of the most spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experiences out there.
First of all, host nations want to open the games with a bang. They want to flaunt themselves to the world as we saw in the case of the London Games in 2012. That ceremony even saw appearances from James Bond and Mr. Bean. Meanwhile, it’s a brilliant opportunity to see world-class athletes from all over the globe in a single place. A truly unique moment for sports fans.
This is generally a fun experience for fans because they see the best players of the next generation. Oftentimes, there is a great atmosphere as teams pull off shocks. One of the most famous examples was the reaction of Philadelphia Eagles fans when the franchise drafted Donavon McNabb. The irony was that despite their negative response, he proved to be one of the best quarterbacks of that draft.
The NFL is all about providing a fun experience because they want to make as much money as possible. Usually, the draft weekend is full of fun events and fans have a unique opportunity to meet college stars. It’s a totally different type of occasion to the majority of sports events but definitely an interesting one for dedicated NFL fans. It’s also a tiring weekend for NFL scouts.
There are some sports experiences that are so much better in real life than on TV. This isn’t always the case because oftentimes, fans receive a better view of the game from their sofas than in the stadium. Of course, being there live allows supporters to immerse themselves in the atmosphere. The Indy 500 is a great occasion because it’s a lot more fun to be there in person.
Let’s be real, it can be pretty yawn-inducing to watch cars go around a track 200 times. But being there at the speedway in Indianapolis is a different story. Fans will guzzle beers with their buddies all day long and enjoy the sensation of being there with thousands of other people. For many people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even sports fans who don’t have a major interest in racing revel in the final few laps.
Sumo wrestling is one of Japan’s national sports. It’s a martial art that follows centuries of traditions. There is something incredibly special about watching a pair of 330 lb men collide with the force of small cars. A match might only last for seconds, but they are spectacular displays of strength. Attending an elite tournament is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most westerners.
There are five major tournaments per year in Japan with three of those taking place in the famous Ryogoku Stadium in Tokyo. Tournaments last for 15 days and each competing sumo wrestler has one match per day unless they suffer elimination. As well as admiring their feats of strength, combat sports fans can enjoy the traditional Shinto rituals around the art of sumo wrestling.
There are many great tennis tournaments across the world but Wimbledon is one of the most special. Everybody knows that the athletes must wear all-white. The rules are extremely strict in this regard, but it results in a uniquely formal experience. But for tennis fans, it is also one of the greatest occasions in sport, and many of them dream of attending the tournament at least once in their lives.
As well as receiving the chance of watching iconic players strut their stuff, fans know that many A-list celebrities will be in attendance. The dress code is formal but for many people, this is part of the fun. Prawn cocktail sandwiches and champagne are both heavily associated with the tournament. Of course, this won’t appeal to every sports fan, but for tennis lovers, it is a must.
Few golf tournaments have the same prestige as the Masters. While many people loathe the sport because they think it’s boring, its fans point to the skill of players and the tension of the game. This is especially true on the final day of the Masters. With only two men left standing, it’s a remarkable feeling. The result hinges on every single swing of the club.
This can also provide some very special moments. A great case in point was Tiger Woods’ redemption story in 2019. He shockingly won the Masters for the first time in 14 years after all of his trouble. For many fans, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch the greatest player of a generation pull on the coveted green jacket. Along with the Ryder Cup and the Open, it’s one of the great golf fan experiences.
Boca Juniors and River Plate are two of the biggest soccer clubs in Argentina. The two teams originated in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires and became fierce rivals. This is more than a clash of rival teams. It’s also a war of social values that pits family members against each other. Nicknamed the Superclasico, for many people, this is the most passionate soccer rivalry on the entire planet.
Fans in attendance expect to experience pyrotechnics and smoke bombs in one of the liveliest fixtures in sports. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event but can be very dangerous. Fights between fans are common and their 2018 Copa Libertadores final went down in Spain to avoid tensions. Nonetheless, nobody does passion like these two sets of supporters and it’s a magnificent occasion.
There are sports and then there are extreme sports. Cliff diving definitely falls into the latter category. tory short, athletes dive from heights of almost 30 meters (98 feet) into the water below. During the dive, they may reach speeds of over 85km/h and must perform tricks as they fall. Furthermore, they don’t wear any protective gear so the dangers are obvious.
As a spectator sport, this is unbelievable to watch. These athletes literally risk their lives in front of the fans as they perform death-defying stunts. As the name cliff-diving suggests, the Red Bull tour often takes place in places of stunning natural beauty. However, tournament stops also include high-rise buildings like Dublin’s Millenium Tower. This is definitely a crazy once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch live.
It’s ludicrous but it’s brilliant. Few NFL franchises do kitsch as well as the Minnesota Vikings. Since 2007, the Vikings have sounded the Gjallarhorn before their home games. This massive Viking-style horn sends the crowd into a frenzy and it’s something truly unique to experience. Even fans of rival NFL franchises admit that it’s something that the Vikings do very well.
Minnesota selects special people to sound the Gjallarhorn. These include outstanding citizens from Minnesota, as well as members of the military and Vikings’ legends. This also leads to the famous Skol clap. The Vikings borrowed this from Iceland soccer fans who made it famous in the European Championships that same year. But it lends for a truly brilliant atmosphere.
A bucket list item for many fight fans, no trip to Thailand is complete without attending a Thai Boxing match. Muay Thai is the national sport of the Land of Smiles. Many of its athletes turn professional at a very young age in a bid to make money for their families. But it has a frenzied following in areas like Bangkok and Phuket. Attending or even fighting once in the country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a lot of people.
Thai boxing is famous for its gambling culture. Part of the fun is watching the gamblers shouting at the fighters and raising the stakes. The likes of Lumpinee Stadium are sweatboxes but this is all part of it. Like sumo, Muay Thai has a strong traditional element to it. This lends to the unique nature of the sport. Nowadays, combat sports fans can also train easily in many Thai gyms.
New Zealand are traditionally the most-feared rugby team on the planet. The All-Blacks are one of the most dominant teams across sports. One of their most incredible achievements is the fact that they held the world number one ranking longer than every other nation on the planet combined. But another reason why they possess a unique mystique is the Haka.
This is a Maori war dance that the All-Blacks perform before every game they play. The idea is that it strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents. It also pumps their players up. Even non-rugby fans can’t help but become excited when they see them perform it. Getting to see New Zealand unleash the fury of the Haka is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for many international rugby fans.
This is probably the most significant stage of the Tour de France. From a competitive perspective, it is one of the most enjoyable for cycling fans. L’Alpe d’Huez is the most famous mountain in the sport and offers one of the most grueling stages of the iconic race. The eight percent gradient over 13 km means that many cyclists start too quickly. But this is a mistake and can define the outcome of the entire tour.
Meanwhile, the setting also makes this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many fans. The landscape is stunningly beautiful. If the race isn’t enjoyable enough, then a simple look around at the surrounding mountains will do the trick. Furthermore, there are many beautiful and quaint villages around the area. They are full of cafes and restaurants that thrive during the cycling season.
Attending any hockey game is fantastic because they have an atmosphere unlike any other sport in North America. But the Winter and Heritage Classics are something unique and special. The former takes place in the U.S. and involves two American teams. Played in an outdoor arena, it’s all about bringing the game back to its roots as an outdoor sport. Meanwhile, teams wear retro-styled or throwback uniforms.
The Heritage Classic is a similar idea but involves Canadian teams like the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets. It is also played outdoors and fans go crazy for tickets. As a spectacle, it’s very different from the feel of normal indoor games. Meanwhile, there are usually pyrotechnics and fan entertainment because it’s a special fixture. Definitely a great fan experience.
Any UFC event may be a lot of fun, but a Conor McGregor event is something special. As the years pass by these become increasingly few in number, but some things remain the same. First of all, his Irish fans travel in massive numbers. They drank the bars of Las Vegas dry on multiple occasions. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many Irish fans who followed their hero from their island to the United States at great expense.
Then there is the fight itself. The Notorious has one of the most famous entrances in the sport. He typically combines Sinead O’Connor with the Notorious B.I.G for superb effect. Win or lose, there will be drama and excitement. Of course, this is the same as any major title fight but the Irishman definitely brought it to the next level in recent years.
It might surprise international sports fans, but many Americans love college sports more than the NFL. They have more of an attachment to their local team than a big-money, soulless franchise. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of the Iron Bowl. Played between two of the most successful programs in the college game, Alabama and Auburn have one of the tensest rivalries in football.
This tense rivalry between the two Alabama teams is as fierce as it is iconic. The Crimson Tide have the better SEC record, but Auburn brings it to every single Iron Bowl meeting. The winner takes home the coveted Foy-ODK trophy and the bragging rights. This game generates a sense of rivalry that not many NFL teams don’t succeed in achieving. One of the best in the sport.
Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland. It is also home to one of the fiercest rivalries in sports, nevermind just soccer. Celtic and Rangers play each other at least twice every year home and away. They often meet more often than this because of cup competitions. But every single time they play there is a tense atmosphere unlike any other rivalry in sport. This is a fixture marked by sectarian violence and genuine hate.
However, as a spectacle, it is a once-in-a-lifetime game for soccer fans to attend. Meetings between these two teams often define the outcome of the Scottish league. Furthermore, their fans are obsessed with their teams and create a feverish atmosphere. Yes, there are controversies and occasionally dark moments. But this is a special rivalry and these two teams need each other more than they know.
Nicknamed ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena,’ Madison Square Garden holds a special place in the hearts of every boxing fan. The Manhattan venue also hosts hockey and basketball games as well as music events. But MSG’s relationship with the sweet science has a special prestige. Down through the years it has held so many remarkable fights across all divisions.
This is the venue that saw ‘The Fight of the Century’ between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Its biggest gate was when Evander Holyfield fought Lennox Lewis. Meanwhile, the likes of Jack Dempsey, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran, and Mike Tyson all fought in the arena. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime achievement for many boxers, nevermind fans to step out at MSG.
This stadium opened in 2019 and it truly is state-of-the-art. It is the home ground of Premier League team Tottenham Hotspurs. But it offers far more than just Premier League soccer. It is the only ground in the U.K that is purpose-built for NFL games as well as soccer. It also has separate locker rooms and media areas for both sports which shows incredible attention to detail.
The stadium offers a next-level experience for fans. It even has its own in-house bakery and microbrewery. The stadium’s bar has the ability to pour 10,000 pints per minute which is simply insane. Meanwhile, there is Michelin-star level dining available and a whole host of other attractions. In sum, this is a stadium of the future and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime visit for sports fans.
NBA games enable fans to get up close and personal with the athletes in a manner few sports allow. Courtside seats are the most coveted in the game and provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most fans. Unless, of course, they are celebrities in which case it’s just normal life. Courtside seats will cost from $300 upwards, depending on the team, the stadium, and the time of the season.
People have paid tens of thousands for courtside seats in NBA playoffs and finals. If the likes of LeBron are involved then expect the number to rise. But nothing brings a fan closer to the action. Sometimes they even come too close as players fall out of bounds and collide with fans. If the NBA tickets prove impossible to afford or find, then consider going courtside at a college game instead.
For many, this is the biggest game in global soccer. Real Madrid and Barcelona are two of the most decadent teams on the planet. Their fans loath each other for a variety of reasons. This rivalry goes beyond sport, it’s also about regional identity and politics. It’s one of the most hot-tempered fixtures in Spanish soccer and sees its fair share of red cards and controversies.
This is the fixture that saw Barca fans throw a pig’s head at Luis Figo because he had the temerity to move to their rivals. It’s also where Jose Mourinho gouged his managerial counterpart Tito Vilanova in the eye. For many seasons it saw the two best players on the planet, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, face off. Attending this game is once-in-a-lifetime for many because of ticket demand and shouldn’t be missed.
Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in MLB. That’s why it’s a must-visit for any fans of baseball or classic stadia. Yes, new-age grounds offer so many incredible amenities but few places deliver the same sense of authenticity as the Green Monster. It constantly ranks high as the stadium that most baseball fans would like to visit. That’s because of the nostalgic experience it delivers.
Nowadays, many stadiums sit miles outside of their cities and have no real relationship with their communities. Fenway Park is a symbol of Boston and is hallowed ground. Yes, it has some inherent flaws like the steel beams that block the view of some seats. Sure, it’s not as luxurious as most other venues on the MLB calendar but that’s not why people are desperate to go to the home of the Red Sox.
One of the best sports at the Winter Olympics, snowboarding is incredible. Athletes perform death-defying aerial tricks at high speeds as they fly down slaloms and half-pipes. It is mesmerizing to watch and athletes like the United States’ Chloe Kim have only helped to boost its popularity. Like the summer equivalent, the Winter Olympics takes place every four years.
It’s a very exciting festival of sport to attend and arguably many of its sports are more exciting to watch. Snowboarding is one of the biggest attractions because of its inherent high-risks and extreme nature. Furthermore, the Games take place in snowy regions that offer fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit. This is definitely magnificent to experience.
On the face of it, a stadium in Uruguay might seem like a strange inclusion on this list. But the Estadio Centenario is not just any stadium. It’s one of the most special in the world. This is because FIFA awarded ‘historical monument’ status in 1983. No other soccer ground in the world holds this label. The reasons why are many because it’s spectacular and unique.
A single glance at the pictures will explain it. It is almost totally open to the elements and creates an intense atmosphere that intimidates rival teams. Uruguay has a superb record at home and a significant reason for this is the protected design of the Centenario. The nation is considering whether to renovate it in preparation for the 2030 World Cup.
At the end of the day, sports fans want to have fun. Why do people follow a team? There are multiple reasons why including fostering a sense of community and camaraderie. The Buffalo Bills do this better than most other NFL fanbases. Buffalo is the second-smallest market in the NFL, but its fans are amongst the most loyal. In fact, the Bills Mafia are notorious for their crazy exploits.
After years outside of the playoffs, the Bills finally returned in 2020. Their fans immediately went crazy in the best way possible. They had insane parties that included many of them crashing through tables for the fun of it. Some people were happy that the Bills fell short of the Super Bowl because people might have died. Partying with the Mafia is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for NFL fans because the survival rate is questionable.
Borussia Dortmund is one of Germany’s biggest soccer clubs. The likes of USMNT’s Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna made their names there. With their yellow-and-black kits, Dortmund is very distinctive on the field. Furthermore, Signal Iduna Park, their home stadium, is one of the world’s greatest grounds. In particular, it is most famous for the incredible Yellow Wall.
The largest free-standing grandstand in Europe, with a capacity of 25,000, is a cacophony of noise and color. Attending a Dortmund game is a once-in-a-lifetime dream for many soccer fans. The Yellow Wall’s fame comes from its amazing fan murals and the noise it produces. Tottenham Hotspurs even tried to imitate the stand in the construction of their new stadium.
The final game of a World Series is unlike anything else in the sport. We’re talking about a series that has gone to the wire. Everything is in balance and somebody has the opportunity to be a hero. Many people regard baseball as boring but the final of a World Series will change their minds. It’s so difficult to obtain tickets because they are crazily expensive but it’s definitely worth attending.
On average fans can expect to pay a couple of thousand dollars to enter the stadium. This is made more difficult because a lot of the seats are taken up for corporate reasons and by celebrities. Nonetheless, it’s a very special experience. Attending a World Series game is a once-in-a-lifetime dream that most fans never experience. That’s a massive shame because most real baseball supporters miss out.
The Champion’s League is Europe’s preeminent soccer competition. One of the tournaments most successful teams is Liverpool. They won the cup six times and maintain a special relationship with it. In fact, European nights at Anfield are some of the most glorified in soccer. But they are every bit deserving of this status because of the atmosphere and consistency of performances.
Fans sing their anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” One of the best songs in sports, this creates an amazing, emotional atmosphere that affects opposition teams from the start. Furthermore, the team has produced some remarkable nights in Europe under the spotlight. Their 2019 comeback victory over Barcelona was one of the most astounding results in competition history.
This is a real bucket list experience for many people but one that very few people will ever achieve. Tickets literally cost thousands of dollars, even for the upper sections with poor visibility. This is because they are limited with equal numbers provided to both teams. NFL partners and the media receive over a quarter of tickets. The most surefire way to obtain one is to be a season ticketholder.
However, anybody who does attend a Super Bowl is in for a treat. This is all about the spectacle in every sense of the word. First and foremost, there is the actual football game. This provides drama and serves up a lot of excitement. But then there are the famous trailers and commercials as well as the Super Bowl halftime show. It’s more than a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet. Every four years, 32 international teams attend the World Cup. They come from every continent and provide some of the most exciting moments in sports. But it’s not just the players who are there. Armies of fans also flock to the host nation. In 2016, 10% of the population of Iceland was in Russia for the tournament.
Many soccer fans save for years to attend a World Cup. This can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for multiple reasons. First of all, there’s the cost involved. Secondly, it’s very difficult for smaller nations to qualify but this makes it all the more special when they do. The World Cup is more than a soccer competition. In sum, it’s like a global carnival for the fans.