Most devoted sports fans will relish the opportunity to watch their favorite team or athlete in action. If you love football, then a ticket to the Super Bowl is worth its weight in gold, and the same goes for tickets for the US open for tennis fans, or being able to watch basketball, baseball and soccer live. The atmosphere is incredible and even if your seat is right at the back, you still feel involved in the action.
With some sports, however, that is not really the case at all. Here, we provide some insider tips for sports that are better observed on TV from the comfort of your home with your choice of refreshment by your side.
Tour de France is not a tour de force for live fans
The Tour de France is the world’s most famous cycle race. The route passes through some spectacular scenery and over several mountain ranges as it wends its way from Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain to Paris. There are some cycle racing enthusiasts who regularly attend, but here’s the issue. You might travel for hours to reach a particular spot, then stand around for another couple of hours waiting for the racers to arrive – and to flash by you in seconds. Then it’s back to the car to travel a different route to see if you can intercept them again to repeat the process.
You get no sense of racing as such, just a blur of bikes going by. France is a wonderful place to visit with some magical scenery, and is highly recommended for a vacation. But if you want to watch the exciting racing that the Tour de France can create, there’s no better place to watch it than on TV.
Badminton leaves spectators cold
We earlier cited the US open tennis tournament as one of the most exciting sports to watch from the sidelines. You might expect badminton to be the same, but unless you have a view from one of the front few rows, you are likely to be disappointed.
The problem with badminton is that the shuttlecock does not stand out from the background like a tennis ball. Even when players are serving at 90mph, it’s easy to see the ball, even from the back row. Most badminton spectators cannot see where the shuttlecock is or what is happening aside from the players rushing around waving their racquets about. The TV coverage, on the other hand, gives you the perfect courtside view.
WSOP Poker is fine if you have a seat at the table
Today’s top poker players are every bit as famous as elite athletes, and it is understandable that WSOP fans might want to look at the WSOP schedule and follow the live poker action at the iconic casino venues of Las Vegas and elsewhere in the US and around the world. The venues welcome spectators, and it is certainly a thrill to see the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Maria Ho taking a seat at the main table and getting into the action of high stakes professional poker.
However, unless you are a top pro yourself and you have a seat at the table, you’ll have to keep a respectful distance, and it is practically impossible to see what is going on. To keep up with the action at the table, hand by hand and bet by bet, the best way to watch is to catch the coverage on ESPN or one of the live WSOP poker streams online.
F1 only gives you a snapshot
Finally, one that some motor racing fans might find controversial. Seeing an F1 car at full speed on a straight or accelerating out of a corner is an awesome experience, and watching the race or Drive to Survive on TV doesn’t convey the sheer speed and power of these cars. The problem is that watching live can be a little like the Tour de France, in that you watch the cars flash by perhaps 50 times during a race, but to really keep up with what is happening, you will find yourself watching one of the big screens more than you are watching the track.
Granted, if you have a good vantage point, such as the main start/finish straight or a corner where there is lots of overtaking, you’ll see plenty of action, and experience the spectacle of the cars and their unique smell and sound. But consider this: Tickets for this year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix start at $500 for standing only, and the cheapest seated ticket is $2000. Tickets for the best vantage points are closer to $10,000. That seems a lot of money to pay when you’ll spend most of your time watching big screen coverage that you could watch from your armchair at home for free.
The same arguments stand for other forms of motor racing, too. However, none have ticket prices so eye-wateringly expensive as F1, and that has to be a deciding factor too.