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 tournaments, from tennis (Wimbledon) to golf (British Open), to athletics (IFFA World Championship) and so forth. It’s a time of international sporting frenzy!
On the back of The French Open held at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France, which saw over 400,000 tennis devotees grace its grounds, the UK also celebrates its yearly major Grand Slam tennis championship, Wimbledon, in London. Universally renowned, this competition is recorded as the world’s oldest tennis tournament and is probably considered the most prestigious of its kind worldwide. Opening up its gates this year between July 3rd – 16th, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s grounds welcome thousands of visitors from all over the world, including French, Spanish, Latin American, Australian, Slovakian and many more nationalities, where hordes of international spectators come together to share one language, a global love of tennis and in particular, lawn tennis. With an increase on previous years, 2016 greeted 494,000 international and national visitors to Wimbledon over the two-week period, documented as the most attended sporting event in the UK. Will this figure take a mighty leap and boost 2017 into the half million stratosphere? What is most likely is that British Wimbledon fans will be on tenter hooks this year to see if Andy Murray will maintain his Championship glory, and bring the crowd to their feet to welcome another Wimbledon victory. Whoever the crowned champion will be in both the women’s and men’s tournaments, this competition will certainly do at least one thing, and that is rejoice in a union of global cultures bonded as one in this spectacular live spectator sport.
From tennis to golf, the north of England is soon to greet thousands of nationalities to its Lancashire coastal area of Southport to celebrate 150 years of fine golfing performances at The British Open’s 146th Championship, being held at the Royal Birkdale Golf Course from July 16th – 23rd. Akin to Wimbledon in the ancient sporting competition stakes, The Open is another international event renowned for being the world’s oldest golf championship, as well as being crowned the most global of all major-league golf tournaments offering the world’s most precious of golfing jewels, the illustrious ‘Claret Jug’. Professional golfers from all over the world will gather on the pristine Royal Birkdale course to bring joy to all those worldwide golfing enthusiasts, who look forward to attending this yearly event with bated breath! Spectators also get to enjoy the sport being played on different golf courses, as the location of this famous golf championship varies yearly. The previous two years were held in Scotland, which last year welcomed crowds of international visitors to its Ayrshire shores at the impressive Royal Troon Golf Club and in 2015 to the prestigious Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Moreover, 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.
World Athletics Championship (IAAF World Championships)
Finally we race to the finishing line to witness another distinguished international sports event, The World Athletics Championship (IAAF World Championships), this year to be held in London and hailed as the capital’s greatest sporting event since the 2012 Olympics. The 2017 World Athletics Championship will possibly draw an even bigger international crowd to its athletic heart with this championship claiming the last appearances of the world’s fastest sprinter, Usain Bolt and the internationally acclaimed distance runner, Mo Farah. A multitude of nationalities will once again gather to speak one international language, the language of athletics and revel in the wonders that the universal athletic world offers. Hosted at London’s majestic Olympic Stadium, this competition will bring worldwide cultures en masse to both compete and try and break records; a slogan that London promoted in its 2011 bid to host this athletic event, “Ready to break records”, as well as celebrate as spectators the endeavours of the world’s best athletes and all-round rising stars. Die-hard lovers of athletics visiting from overseas can enjoy twice the fun and make the most of their trip, by adding the World Para Athletics Championships to their travelling schedule as this competition takes place in London, just before the IAAF World Championships from July 15th – 23rd. International athletic followers haven’t had it so good!!
This trio of sports competitions is just a tip of the international sporting iceberg, but if there is one thing that is clearly 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, July 2016