Sports

30 Once-In-A-Lifetime Sports Experiences Revealed By Fans

Darren - March 5, 2021
Sports

30 Once-In-A-Lifetime Sports Experiences Revealed By Fans

Darren - March 5, 2021
Mandatory Credit: Nikkei Asia

20. Thai Boxing in Thailand

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.

Mandatory Credit: Nikkei Asia

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

19. The Haka

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.

Mandatory Credit: World Rugby

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.

Mandatory Credit: Cycling World

18. L’Alpe d’Huez

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

17. The Winter/Heritage Classic

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

16. Conor McGregor

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

15. The Iron Bowl

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

14. The Old Firm Derby

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

13. Boxing At Madison Square Garden

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

12. Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

11. Courtside For An NBA Game

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

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.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

10. El Clasico

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.

Mandatory Credit: Marca

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

9. Fenway Park Tour

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: Olympic Channel

8. Free-Style Snowboarding

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

7. Estadio Centenario

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.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Bills Mafia Playoff Party

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

5. The Yellow Wall

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.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. World Series Final Game

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

3. Anfield European Night

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.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Go To A Super Bowl

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: ABC News

1. Attend A World Cup

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.

Mandatory Credit: ABC News

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.

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