You have watched the games on television, you have bought the cap or the shoes, and now you want to experience in real life. One of the big attractive destinations for travelers who are sports lovers is the US sporting scene. The country is home to many of the biggest boxing and mixed martial arts bouts as well as major golf and tennis tournaments in the world.
Here I’ll give you some suggestions about the US sports spectator experience, and just try to steer you off the tourist path.
1. College football, not NFL
In spite of the size and the spectacle of an NFL game and the game itself, the truth is that an NFL game isn’t too different to go to a major metropolitan stadium.
If you want to get a real feeling for American football, you should watch the college football, a purer form of the game which has more than 100-year traditions and a passionate fan base. The experience on Saturday is significantly cheaper and the atmosphere is quite exciting.
In addition to the cultural shock of seeing people being extremely passionate about the place where they went to school, there’s also the experience of seeing the small towns double in size as past alumni returning to cities such as Georgia, Norman Oklahoma, or Athens to watch their teams playing.
You really should experience the buzz in these towns on game day when the surrounding suburbs and the university campuses are packed with fans and the games on the field are punctuated by the flashy marching bands revving up the crowd and the students chanting in unison. You might be sitting on a bench and are even much more swept up by a college football match than an NFL game.
Each school in the US has their own traditions that date back to the 19th century in many cases and the action on the field is often freer and faster. Surely, there isn’t a significant dip in the quality of the game itself.