The internationalisation of sport is a wondrous thing, whereby sporting events across the globe bring together an audience of varying cultures and nationalities every year. Like music gigs, sporting occasions cross all cultural borders to fulfil dreams of listening to and watching live performances for all kinds of people, as passions unfold before their very eyes. The love and excitement of witnessing live sport in all its shining glory is something that knows no boundaries. Spectators, whose appetite for sport is joined as one during the course of these competitions, see people for the sporting enthusiasts that they are, no matter their culture or nationality. They triumph and commiserate as one. And what better time to unite than a summer packed with all kinds of exciting tournaments, from cricket (World Cup) to tennis (French Open/Wimbledon) to golf (British Open), and so forth. It’s a time of international sporting frenzy!
Right now, cricketing fans from all over the world are waiting with bated breath for the quadrennial One Day International, 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, to grace the world’s cricketing stage starting May 30th and finishing on July 14th. Established in 1975 and originally going by the name of The Prudential World Cup, this tournament is now in its 12th edition. This year’s cricket showdown between 10 international teams (England, Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and West Indies) is taking place in the UK. Thousands of people will come together from all walks of life, crossing cultural and religious boundaries, to enjoy their shared passion of the sport in various cricket grounds across the country, including Edgbaston, Old Trafford, The Oval, Lords and Headingly. Not only is this international sporting event uniting people as live spectators, but it is also drawing a global audience of cricketing fans who are celebrating the fervour of the sport with friends, family and strangers alike, in their homes, at venues with outdoor screens and in drinking establishments across the globe.
From the joie de vivre of international cricket to the well-travelled zeal of tennis, the summer is also throwing plenty of aces with its various annual tennis tournaments gracing the world arena. Starting at the end of May, the largest clay court tennis tournament, The French Open, will make its grand entrance onto what is considered by many, the world’s leading clay courts of Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France, to entertain a global audience of tennis devotees with some of the world’s best tennis for three weeks. This international love of tennis does not stop there as enthusiasts continue to be delighted by this sport in the form of the universally renowned grass court Grand Slam tennis championship, Wimbledon. Recorded as the world’s oldest tennis tournament, it is probably considered the most prestigious of its kind worldwide. This year, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s grounds in London opens its gates between July 1st – 14th to welcome scores of visitors from all over the world, including French, Spanish, Latin American, Australian, Slovakian, German and many more nationalities, where crowds of international spectators come together to share one language, a global love of tennis. 2018 greeted 473,169 international and national visitors to Wimbledon over the two-week period, but will this figure take a mighty leap and boost 2019 into the half million stratosphere? What is most likely is that British Wimbledon fans will be on tenterhooks to see if Andy Murray will even play in this year’s Wimbledon due to his hip injury. Whatever the outcome, one thing this competition will certainly do is rejoice in a union of global cultures bonded as one in this spectacular live spectator sport.
Finally we hit a hole in one to witness another distinguished international sports event, the British Golf Open, which reigned in a record-breaking crowd of 172,000 in 2018. Driving a multitude of nationalities across the Irish Sea this year, from the coastal town of Carnoustie in Scotland to the small seaside resort town of Portrush in County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, this 148th Open taking place from July 18th – 21st at one of the world’s most renowned and most challenging link courses, will once again gather to speak one international language, the language of golf and revel in the wonders that the universal world of golf offers. Akin to Wimbledon in the ancient sporting competition stakes, The Open is another international event acclaimed for being the world’s oldest golf championship, as well as being crowned the most global of all major-league golf tournaments that offers the world’s most precious of golfing jewels, the illustrious ‘Claret Jug’. Professional golfers from all over the world will gather on this formidable Dunluce Course at the Royal Portrush Golf Club to bring joy to all those worldwide golfing enthusiasts, who look forward to attending this yearly event with bated breath! The Open’s motto has always been to unite cultures through a passion for golf. This approach is advanced by promoting internationalisation, at the same time as endeavouring to gain a more comprehensive understanding of international opportunities and gear its marketing strategies towards a wider global audience. This is a given when it is one of the world’s leading sporting events bringing in a multinational audience and boosting an area’s tourism several fold.
This quartet of sports competitions is just a tip of the international sporting iceberg, but if there is one thing that is evident from all these events, it is that sport unites people from all over the world. Sport marries national and international communities from all walks of life, bringing them together under one roof to enjoy their passion of sport.
By Madeline Prusmann, Project Manager, May 2019
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