So what are Londoners favourite pastime for sports? Well of course Londers (as well as Europeans) are football crazy, but there are plenty of other sports that they get very excited for. Whether that’s Wimbledon in the height of the summer, the English Premier League or the London Marathon, this article has you covered! I’ll share the highlights of the 2020 sporting calendar.
Well unless you’re living under a rock, you know that Londoners, the Brits, Europeans and pretty much most of the world except America is football crazy. The English Premiere League (which is the top tier of English teams) is the most watched sports league in the world with broadcasts in 212 territories and potential audience of almost 5 million people. As an American, it’s a bit hard to keep track of all the football matches here as there is also the Champions League and FA Cup, but suffice it to say that the Premiere League season goes from August to May, so that means that pretty much every Saturday or Sunday many Londonders are sitting at home or in a pub watching their favourite teams, or hated rivals play. It is truly a national past-time!
So now that I’ve mentioned that, let’s have a look at the highlights of the 2020 sporting calendar that are hosted in or near London or that Londerers like to attend:
4 April: Horse racing – the Grand National at Aintree. This is a national horserace held in Aintree, near Liverpool. First run in 1839, it is a handicap steeplechase over a distance of about 4 miles.
26 April: London Marathon. 2020 will be the 40th anniversary. Each runner raises money for Cancer UK. With almost 7000 people running each year over the relatively flat course mostly around the Thames River.
9 May: Football – The Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley
17 May: Football – The Final round of the Premier League season
23 May: Football – The FA Cup final at Wembley
12 June to 12 July: Football – Euro 2020 (with the Final being held at Wembley). This year marks the 60th anniversary. This is a national competition with 55 teams entering the qualifying process.
16 – 20 June is Royal Ascot. This high profile thoroughbred racing event is held in Ascot, Berkshire every year and has deep ties to the royal family. While Royal Ascot holds 28 events throughout the year, the glamourous one that catches the world’s attention is the Royal Meeting from 16 – 20 June, with Ladies Day being Thursday, 18th June.
29 June to 12 July: Tennis – Wimbledon. The highlight of the tennis season for most avid tennis fans, including myself, the 2 weeks of Wimbledon are among the most exciting where players don their tennis whites and all the tradition and ritual of the sport is showcased.
16-19 July: Golf – The Open at Royal St George’s (Sandwich, Kent).
17 July to 15 August: Cricket – The Hundred. This is a new cricket concept launched in 2018, with 8 teams across 7 cities.
19 July: Formula 1 racing – British Grand Prix at Silverstone, 90 minutes north of central London.
This year the world gets to rally around our Olympians as the summer Olympics will be held:
24 July to 9 August: Olympic Games in Tokyo
25 August to 6 September: Paralympic Games in Tokyo
7 November: Rugby Union – England v New Zealand at Twickenham
Being American I would be remiss if I didn’t mention NFL games. Over the last 8 years, the American NFL league has hosted several games a season here in London. The sport has a growing following and there are even rumors of a London based NFL team being created in the not so distant future. The season starts in August, so unfortunately the dates aren’t up yet, but you can follow along on nfl.com.
So I hope this schedule of events has given you a sense of the variety of sports that are available to take part in as a Londoner. As you can see, the London lifestyle is abundant and thriving and Londoners are passionate about their sports with many playing on a casual basis. Which sporting events do you most look forward to in your calendar?