AFL grand final, Melbourne
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So revered is this sporting event that host state Victoria now has been granted a public holiday to celebrate. Played at the legendary MCG, it doesn’t get better than this if you’re an AFL fan. Entry-level tickets for the day start from $180 and generally go on sale the week preceding the big event – so keep your eyes peeled in the lead up.
Boxing in Las Vegas
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A high profile boxing match in Vegas attracts business bigwigs and Hollywood A-Listers, making the people watching as much of a spectator sport as the main event. Fight nights are usually confirmed only two to three months in advance, so flexibility is a good approach to planning your attendance. Be warned - ticket prices vary but can fetch up to several thousands for a seat.
Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco
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At the intersection of glamour and grit, this preeminent race shares a long history with the glitzy port city of Monaco and even uses the edges of its harbour as the course. Spectator sections are divided into five main grandstand areas around the track, starting from $643 on Sunday’s race day. If you’re keen to go full throttle, there are VIP experiences available with open bar service and a view over the main straight from $2924.
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‘El Clásico’ is the name given to the fiery showdown between Spanish football rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid. Not only is it full of deep-seated tension and energy, it’s also a particularly coveted event, as there are only two guaranteed league matches per season. VIP Experience tickets at the Camp Nou (Barcelona’s home ground) start from $1313 and include standard seats, as well as access to a fully catered lounge.
The Kentucky Derby
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Known stateside as ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’, this horse race is the American answer to the Melbourne Cup (with the addition of celebratory mint juleps, of course). Packages start from $1569 and include three nights’ accommodation, grandstand seating and a VIP Fast Access Pass.
Summer Olympics: Tokyo 2020
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Tokyo becomes the first Asian country to host the Summer Olympics twice in 2020, having previously hosted the Games in 1964. Stretching over a period of 16 days, there are 33 sports, including five that have never featured at an summer Olympics (softball, karate, skateboarding, surfing and sports climbing). Stay tuned on the ticket front however – more information on the release will come about approximately 18 months before the event.
Rugby World Cup: Japan 2019
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The Rugby World Cup will be held in Tokyo in 2019, the first time a tournament has been hosted in Asia. 20 teams will vie for the title, playing in 12 venues spread across the expanse of the country, from northern locale of Sapporo to the southern city of Kumamoto. Ticket sales begin January 27, 2018, but you’ll need to register beforehand.
Ashes Test at Lord’s (2019)
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It’s fitting that the Home of Cricket will likely play host to the curtain opening match of the inaugural World Test Championship when England and Australia face off in the first Ashes Test in 2019, marking a new era in the game’s history. Tickets will go on sale (probably via a ballot) once the schedule for the 2019 Ashes Test series is confirmed.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
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Gruelling, gripping and beholden to the unpredictable elements, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is one of the country’s most challenging sporting endeavours. Spectators can watch the jostle of yachts as they exit Sydney Harbour from a number of vantage points around Sydney Harbour, so take a seat and a pair binoculars to South Head, Rushcutters or Watsons Bay, as well as the north side locales of Cremorne Point, Bradley’s Head or Clifton Gardens and watch the sails streak past. On the other end, Tassie-based onlookers would do well to watch the final streaks of sails from Hobart’s Constitution Dock, where lucky visitors can even get a closer look at the yachts during pack up.
Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees at Fenway Park
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The rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees stretches back almost a century, since the sale of legendary player Babe Ruth in 1919. The best place to watch these two teams slug it out is Boston’s Fenway Park, the oldest major league baseball stadium in the country still in use. Prices can reach up to $850 for a seat in the dugout area located in the first three rows, where you’ll have a prime view of each pitch and feel as though you’re next up to bat.
The Masters at Augusta
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Every April, the world’s top golfers descend on Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club in the hopes of wearing the legendary green jacket. But getting to the tournament is almost as hard as winning it, as ballot tickets are snaffled up quickly. Instead, the best way to guarantee attendance is to book a tour from an operator such as Qantas Golf Club. Packages typically include meals, accommodation, access to practice rounds and patron badges for the four days of the tournament.
NBA game at Madison Square Garden
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A trip to the Garden is a must for any basketball buff, especially when crosstown rivals the Knicks and the Nets go head to head in the Battle of the Boroughs. Ticket prices vary depending on how far in advance you purchase, proximity to courtside and the teams playing. Your best bet for securing a seat? Official third party resellers like Stubhub for last minute deals.
Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast 2018
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What could be better than watching Aussie athletes win gold on home soil? The 2018 Commonwealth Games take place on the Gold Coast in April, featuring events that elude the Olympic line up (netball, squash and lawn bowls). Ticket prices are family-friendly, starting at $20 for adults and $10 for under 16s.
FIFA World Cup
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Attending a World Cup is the ultimate pilgrimage for football fans, but a trip to the 2018 tournament in Russia will take a little more planning than in years past. There are eleven far-flung host cities, the two furthest of which are over 2300 kilometres apart, so a little forward planning wouldn’t go astray. Tickets are being released in phases between now and July 15, 2018, but anyone who purchases a ticket must also obtain a Fan ID, which allows entry to stadia, is a tourist visa and transport pass.
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A sporting showdown of mammoth proportions, the crown jewel of American football draws in excess of 110 million television viewers each year. Want to experience the action first hand? Be prepared to dig deep. Bronze ticket packages for Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis in 2018 start at around $9000 per person.
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Wimbledon is the oldest, and arguably most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, making it a true bucket list experience for tennis enthusiasts. International visitors can enter an overseas ballot (although 2018 has already closed), otherwise limited tickets for Centre and No.3 Court are sold online on the day before play. If all else fails, you can join a very orderly queue outside the ground several hours before play to purchase a ground pass.
Tour de France
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This arduous, meandering 23-day race alters every year, taking in corners of neighbouring countries including Germany and Belgium with the majority snaking through idyllic French scenery. You’d do well to pick a quiet town that the riders will whoosh through and critically, watch them from a strategically chosen side of the road – the one with the great café or viewpoint. It won’t cost you a cent to spectate, so you’re free to spend your dosh on a great European vacation.
Up Next: Incredible Australian and New Zealand Golf Courses
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Purists, links-lovers, parkland-course aficionados – golfers of all stripes and skill-levels should put these fun, challenging and scenic courses throughout Australia and New Zealand on their must-swing list. To make a weekend break or longer holiday out of it, read on: we’ve also included the best places to stay.