To whom it may concern.
London is the greatest sporting city on earth. Football is the obvious reason for me to claim that London is the best city in the world for sport. Some of the Barclays Premier League biggest teams call London home. Arsenal and Chelsea continue to be at the top level in the league as well as continuing to be forces in European Football. Giving us annual late winter/early spring Champions League mid-week games, where both teams host Europe’s elite and the world’s best football talents.
However, football is only scratching the surface of why London is the best city on earth for sport. Especially from the perspective of myself, an avid sports lover.
London's Wembley Stadium, has a capacity of 90,000, and only opened in 2007 so it has all the modern amenities a stadium requires these days. Like most modern stadiums it's also multi-purpose, it may be considered the home of football, but has hosted Rugby World Cup games, motorsport and has recently confirmed that they will continue to host more of the NFL International Series.
The NFL, American’s number one sport has been playing regular season games in London since 2007 and the current talk around the American Football watercooler is that within the next decade, London will have its very own NFL team. Leading to a minimum of 8 games to be played in the nation’s capital every year.
Football or soccer as the yanks love to call it, is rooted in the NFL commissioner Roger Goddell’s plan for world domination. A deal has already been struck between Tottenham Hotspur and the NFL. As part of the deal, the newly renovated White Hart Lane that's due to open in 2018 will host American Football games, as well as the possibility of becoming the home of the potential new London franchise.
The NFL aren’t the only Americans coming over for a play-date, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has also been hosting annual games in London at the o2 Arena.
It’s not just a host of American sports that are using London as their home for their global enterprises.
The aforementioned o2 Arena is officially the world’s busiest arena selling a combined total of 1.82 Million tickets in 2014 for concerts, shows and sports. The former Millennium Dome in North Greenwich, play’s host to boxing, the UFC, Olympic events and is home to tennis’s end of season ATP Masters. The dome structure has added to the atmosphere and turned the tournament into effectively Tennis’s fifth grand slam.
Has all this talk of tennis and London given you a sudden taste for a little strawberries and cream? Maybe you should jump on the District Line and head westbound to SW19. The grass court tennis grand slam known as Wimbledon should be reason enough to say London is the greatest sporting city in the world.
The two weeks in June are almost too hard to explain to someone who has never been in person, it’s definitely something you have to experience for yourself. (Minus the Cliff Richard moments)
I could go on, The London Marathon, Six Nations rugby at Twickenham, Ashes Cricket at Lords or The Oval. Heck maybe instead of wasting the last 5 minutes of your time reading this, I could have just said three words and won you over…London…2012…Olympics.
Rio gets the chance to one up London’s effort from four years ago to put on the greatest Olympics of all time. Part of me thinks, the sun and samba will provide a perfect backdrop for the Olympics. Then I spent two minutes reading about the preparation for the games I can say with certainty, barring a miracle, Rio will not be a better host city than London in 2012.
West Ham United will reap the rewards of the London Olympics when they take over the Olympic Stadium in Stratford and help the club achieve its goals to compete with the big boys of London and the Premier League.
So is it the greatest sporting City in the world? How about Barcelona? Sydney? New York? Paris? Tokyo? How does the competition stand up, well cities of all over the world have top level sports taking place daily. But London is home to some of Europe’s biggest sporting events and teams, as well as being the ‘seasonal residence’ of some of the US’s biggest sporting exports.
And if you still don’t believe me…have you ever seen the boat race? The giants of Oxford and Cambridge duking it out on the outskirts of London. A war on the water that provides an unexpected exhilarating sporting showcase to enjoy.
P.S. We've also got the tube.