Super Bowl, NBA All-Stars and US Open: Six 2023 US sports events you won't want to miss
Whether you’re into tennis, golf, basketball, horse racing or American football, there is something every fan will want to start planning for
When the Brand USA team tell you that ‘sports tourism’ is one of their main aims for 2023 among Irish tourists, you know they are planning big things.
The tourist board is throwing all their money, might and creative juices behind some of the biggest sporting events in the world — so now is the time to plan the trip of a lifetime.
Whether you’re into tennis, golf, basketball, horse racing or American football, there is something every fan will want to start planning for. Here are six mega sporting events in six different states.
1. Super Bowl — NFL
Glendale, Arizona, February 12
Tickets start at €3,500
Flights currently €600 return for 4 nights (BA)
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Super Bowl is the game that stops the sport-loving globe. You don’t have to know your touchdowns from your linebackers to know that the four-hour sports fest is one of the biggest events of the calendar each year. No round-up of US sports could be complete without it.
We may not know who is going to be competing in next year’s game, but we do know it is going to be held in Glendale, Arizona.
There is plenty of razzmatazz, like the halftime show which always features performances by the biggest and most popular global music artists. When the first whistle blows, the game itself is filled with excitement: touchdowns and field goals, fumbles and interceptions, and all the drama in between.
Tailgate parties outside the grounds before the game starts, where fans meet for food and drinks out the back of their cars, are another must-see experience.
While in the city: The Desert Botanical Garden of Phoenix, Arizona, features more than 140 acres of resilient flora, including outstanding collections of agave and cacti.
2. NBA All-Star Game — Basketball
Salt Lake City, Utah, February 19
Tickets cost around €100
Flights from €680 for 4 nights (KLM)
The 72nd NBA All-Star Game will take place at Vivint Arena, home of the Utah Jazz, which marks the 30th anniversary of the 1993 NBA All-Star Game played in Salt Lake City.
To the uninitiated, the All-Star game is considered the ‘best of the best’ basketball experience, which takes place every February, and pits the finest players in the East against those of the West. That’s right — no team colours.
With the glitz and glamour of Hollywood stars sitting front-row, cheerleaders at half-time, and on-court fan experiences like being featured on the jumbotron, it’s easy to understand why the game of basketball is an exciting sport to witness, even for those who don’t understand all the rules.
While in the city:There are five national parks and 11 world-class ski resorts within a couple hours’ drive of Salt Lake City, including the hot springs in Yellowstone and the ancient cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde.
3. Kentucky Derby
Louisville, Kentucky, May 6
Tickets usually start at €55
Flights from €900 for five nights (Air France)
Known as the “fastest two minutes in sport,” the Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously-held sporting event in the US. Held annually on the first Saturday in May since 1875 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, this race of three-year-old thoroughbreds is more than just a horse race for the 155,000 people lucky enough to attend — it’s a weekend of celebration.
On Friday, Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Oaks race, followed by an evening of parties in Louisville’s ballrooms, mansions and bars, many of which stay open all night during Derby weekend. Then on Saturday, Churchill Downs hosts another full day of races, with the marquee event around 6:30pm. Attendees of the Kentucky Derby come dressed to impress.
The Derby is renowned for its fashion: hats (usually the bigger the better) are the key item for women, and a suit will suffice for men — bonus if it’s khaki or seersucker, paired with a straw fedora.
While in the city: Less than an hour from Louisville, the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown is a must for any bourbon aficionados. Tour the family-run estate with an immersive tasting experience, and nab a tour with ‘Whiskey Jean’ if you can.
4. US Open — Golf
Los Angeles, California, June 12-18
Tickets usually start at €43 per day
Flights currently €620 for 5 nights (Aer Lingus)
Next year’s US Open Championship will take place at the Los Angeles Country Club. The US Open annually coincides the final round with Father’s Day in the US, and offers quite the experience for visiting fans.
Spectator Square is a central hub of visitor services, with everything from food and shops to fan signings, photo booths, and activities where fans can work on their swing with a pro, comparing it with the players competing in the tournament.
While in the city: Explore the newly- opened Academy Award Museum in Los Angeles. Simultaneously immersive and entertaining, the museum offers unparalleled exhibitions and programmes, bringing the world of cinema to life.
5. All-Star baseball
Seattle, Washington, July 11
Tickets start from €20
Flights around €1200 return (Air Canada and Lufthansa)
The Seattle Mariners’ T-Mobile Park will be home to 2023 All-Star Week, where the partaking players are selected by fans’ votes. You can enjoy extraordinary views of Seattle’s skyline from the stadium, and it’s often said that there’s not a single bad seat in the park.
Baseball is a quintessential American sporting experience, with the smell of hot dogs filling the air as fans excitedly wait for their team to take the field. Listen out for the decades-old tradition at Mariners games, where the song Louie Louie is played every time after Take Me Out to the Ballgame — which is always sung during the middle of the seventh inning of an MLB game.
While in the city:Seattle is famous for its coffee culture and is the home of Starbucks. Tour Starbucks Reserve Roastery for an immersive experience (and taste) of the famous brand’s coffee.
6. US Open — Tennis
New York City, NY, September
Tickets usually start at €35 (expect to pay way more for main courts)
Flights around €600 return (but watch for regular Aer Lingus sales)
The U.S. Open is the last of the four tennis majors and takes place annually in late August and early September at Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City.
128 of the world’s finest tennis players from countries all over the globe qualify to play in the singles titles, but it is the diverse mix of fans in the stand that helps to create the unmatchable tension and atmosphere.
While in the city: While in Queens, discover the gastronomic delights with a ‘Culinary Backstreets’ food tour that weaves through the city’s most diverse borough.
See VisitTheUSA.com for information and deals on all of the above, and so much more
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