THEY call it the Lord’s Hum. It’s the murmur of the spectators that starts before the first ball and lasts until the last ball of every Test match at Lord’s Cricket Ground. It never gets above a hum, never degenerates into witless “banter” later in the day. No, this is the hum of thousands of cricket fans talking about the game they love at the home of cricket.
There’s no hum at an F.C. Barcelona match though. It’s more of a roar as around 90,000 Catalans cheer on their side. Catching a game at the Camp Nou is good enough; when it’s club legend Andrés Iniesta’s last game for the club then it’s even better.
But sports travel can be hard. While the COVID pandemic is stopping overseas travel for now, it’s also a great chance to start thinking about the bucket list items you’d like to tick once normality returns. As such, here are our tips for great sports travel.
- First thing is to think about what you really want to go and see. If catching Federer, Nadal and Djokovic on Centre Court at Wimbledon is your thing, then you need to be in London in early July. If it’s watching Manchester United at Old Trafford, then be in Manchester August through May.
- Next up: check the relevant websites. Different competitions around the world will have different restrictions on entry. Some English Premier League clubs ask people to register as fans before they will sell you a ticket. Most European football (soccer) competitions only release the exact start times for games 2-3 weeks before the game itself; in Spain, it’s generally only then that you can book the cheaper tickets. If you’re planning on a trip to the Camp Nou, give yourself a few days in Barcelona to make sure you’ll be there for the game. And also because it’s Barcelona.
- On game day itself, check out where the supporter bars are for before or after. Before an NFL game, your best entertainment option might be the stadium carpark as everyone tailgates. In the UK it might be a supporter bar near the stadium, although be warned that many pubs won’t allow away fans in to avoid fights. If you’re catching the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, then you’re in luck – neighbouring Wrigleyville is a lot of fun, especially after a Cubs win.
- Can’t get to a game? A stadium tour might be the next best thing. Most major stadiums have tours that run outside of game days. Liverpool’s Anfield tour was particularly brilliant, with an augmented reality experience of a full stadium singing You’ll Never Walk Alone. Likewise, cricket fans can go and see the actual Ashes trophy on the Lord’s tour, along with access to the Member’s Pavilion and the futuristic media centre.
- Finally, don’t forget that there’s nearly always some kind of sport going on. On a 2014 trip to the USA, I found myself wandering the streets of Seattle, getting sucked towards CenturyLink Field along with tens of thousands of others. It turned out the Seattle Sounders were playing, and believe me when I tell you that crowd was LOUD. It was one of the best sporting experiences I’ve ever come across, and one that I could very easily have missed.
So there you have it – a few sports travel tips for your planning. What great sporting events are on your bucket list?
Stuart John is a former travel guide, hostel manager, and hotel staffer that now works in sport. You can find his sports travel stories at This Sporting World and travel stories via Medium and Medium-Stuart John.