In the UK, sports are a big deal, millions of us flock to support our favourite teams and cheer them on from the stands. Fans are dedicated, passionate and informed. Non-sports fans, however, tend to avoid the subject altogether, opting for other activities to occupy their time. When you plan your trip to New York, as someone who doesn’t follow sports or is committed to their own team, you maybe don’t consider going to see a sports game during your holiday. Eric from NewYork.co.uk is here to change your mind!
Sports in New York – Family fun for all
Visiting a sports game in New York City is like nothing you have done before. The huge stadiums, variety of food and drink vendors, merchandise, cheerleaders, stoppage-time entertainment, bright lights and lots of audience participation are all great reasons to consider experiencing sports in the Big Apple and that’s all before the game has even started. It’s a fun-filled activity for everyone. People are mainly surprised at how family friendly sports is in New York. The stadiums are all easily accessible, fans are friendly and there’s no animosity between sides, so it always feels safe. Children are more than welcome and will be entertained throughout the game. Sports in the US tend to be fast paced and hold the attention, so even if you don’t know the rules, it’s fun to watch. There are some great options to choose from too, take a look below at my seasonal breakdown:
September to January
Football (the American kind)
New York is home to rival NFL teams: the New York Jets and the New York Giants who, unusually, share their home ground: MetLife Stadium. The stadium is in New Jersey and is easily reachable, within 30 minutes from Midtown Manhattan, by train from Penn Station. Just look for the thousands of fans travelling in the same direction and there’s no way you’ll miss it!
American Football is a hugely popular sport, tickets sell out really quickly and can get quite expensive, closer to the game. If you see a well priced ticket (cheap tickets are around $120) on your dates, go for it, it won’t be available for long.
Seeing a game at MetLife Stadium is a fantastic experience, get there around an hour before kick off so you can experience some American culture as the fans party and barbeque in the parking lot!
October to April
Basketball: Slam dunks and high jumps
Going to see a Knicks game is worth it, to just experience Madison Square Garden, home to the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers (ice hockey). A popular pastime for tourists and New York residents alike, thousands, including many celebrities, flock to each game, wave their foam fingers and cheer on the team.
Basketball is fast paced, fun and easy to follow, the ball (and the tall players) are easy to see, even from way up high in the nose-bleeds. The atmosphere at a basketball game is electric and the half time entertainment is a show in itself! If the Knicks aren’t playing during your stay, or you want to experience a basketball game but Knicks tickets are too expensive, I recommend going to a Nets game instead. The Brooklyn Nets play at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, easily reachable by subway from Manhattan (the stop is right outside the stadium).
Ice hockey: Cool and Exciting
Sharing Madison Square Garden with the Knicks are the Rangers, New York’s ice hockey team. Every game is a sell-out, so be sure to book your New York Rangers tickets in advance. The full stadium creates a buzz like no other, you will be swept away in no time. The puck is tiny, so the closer to the ice you sit the better you can follow the game. However, the atmosphere amongst the die-hard fans sitting in the higher stands is also a great experience and the huge screen ensures you don’t miss out on the action.
Madison Square Garden is located in Midtown Manhattan, you can’t miss it. Once inside, you feel the sheer size of the stadium and the pre-game excitement. There are lots of food and drinks vendors, for all tastes, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, pasta, popcorn and nachos are all readily available, so grab a bite before the game. I recommend getting there around 30 minutes before the game starts, so you have time to find your seats and get settled.
March to October
Football, aka, soccer
Some people aren’t even aware that New York has a soccer team but New York City FC play in America’s largest soccer league, Major League Soccer. New York FC were actually founded in 2013 by a collaboration between Manchester City FC and the New York Yankees. That’s why their home ground is Yankees Stadium, located in The Bronx, NYC. The team were formally managed by Patrick Vieira, a name you may recognise from the history books of UK premier league.You may also recognise NYFC’s captain, David Villa who has played for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Spain.
An American Soccer game is a little different from the experience you will get in the UK, seating at the stadium is mixed so fans all sit together. Children are welcome and there is a strong family friendly feel. Tickets are reasonably priced and the stadium is easily reachable from Manhattan, by subway.
April to October
Baseball: Lets Go Yankees!
I saved the best for last (well my personal favourite) the New York Yankees! Head to the Bronx to watch the Yankees play at the world famous Yankee Stadium between April and October. Tickets are great value, especially when booked in advance, the stadium is easy to reach and it is an authentically American experience. The Yankees play up to 6 times per week during the baseball season, so it is easy to factor a game in to your itinerary. There are day time and evening options so you can find a suitable game for the whole family.
The atmosphere at a baseball game is worth the experience alone. Get there around 45 minutes before the game starts so you can be seated in time to hear the National Anthem. If you arrive early, go and take a look at Monument Park in center field, below the video board. Here you can see a memorial to former Yankees members, and, even better, you have a great close up view of the field.
Get ready to Rumble: Something Unexpected
It may surprise you, it certainly did me when I tried it but a WWE Wrestling match is so much fun to watch! Matches take place at Madison Square Garden, in the heart of Manhattan, or at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, throughout the year. If you are looking for pure family fun and entertainment, this is certainly something unique to have on your list. The crowds are huge and very enthusiastic so there is an awesome atmosphere and a real all-American experience.