Given the distances involved, and the popularity of some venues with fans, it is a good idea to plan longer trips a good time in advance. A very American way to see the sights and enjoy a game is on a road trip, but even this requires planning. Getting in ahead of the crowd is advisable when booking tickets for key games in the sporting season, or when attending a game involving a team that regularly attracts a large following. Picking a good road trip route in advance adds to the sense of travel, with plans for a couple of sightseeing stops at notable landmarks on the way. On the other hand, if travel involves flights or hotels, booking ahead also makes it possible to save on costs by taking advantage of special advance-booking rates. In any case, the three main elements when booking a trip remain the same: how to get to the stadium and back, where to stay overnight if necessary, and how to get a ticket for the game.
Sports for different tastes
For winter sports, the season starts in early fall, so summer is a good time to get hold of the game calendar and to pick out a trip or two for the months ahead. The National Football League kicks off in September 2014, and tickets for many games can be booked online during the summer. If basketball and the NBA are more of an interest, the season gets going in October 2014. Again, it is worth checking online for schedules and tickets. NFL and NBA teams are often involved in pre-season games, if summer travel is on the cards, but summer sports such as baseball also make a good excuse for a road trip in the sunshine. Major League Baseball runs through mid-July, so it may still be possible to pick up online tickets for some games in the 2014 season, and it isn’t too early to start thinking about 2015.
Cities and arenas - some of the big ones
The sports, teams, and schedules to check out will depend on personal taste. However, there are some cities and venues that a sports traveler will almost certainly want to attend at some point.
Madison Square Garden (NBA, New York Knicks): It is hardly possible to miss New York when considering American sport. As if getting into the heart of Manhattan isn’t sufficient temptation, basketball tickets add to the experience. As one of the oldest NBA arenas, Madison Square Garden is full of sporting tradition, and if basketball isn’t to your taste, NHL ice hockey shares the same venue.
Lincoln Financial Field (NFL, Philadelphia Eagles): For a knowledgeable NFL crowd with a great game tradition, it’s hard to beat Pennsylvania. State sports fans are also known for taking in the full game experience, with a grand tailgating tradition, and of course cheesesteak. Get in early for Philadelphia Eagles tickets before the locals take them all.
Wrigley Field (Major League Baseball, Chicago Cubs): National sports arenas hardly come with more tradition than Wrigley field, which celebrates its centennial season in 2014. This would be the perfect time to pick out a trip to the Windy City.
Reliant Stadium (NFL, Houston Texans): For a more southern flavor with a contemporary sports experience, the Reliant Stadium in Houston is a good bet. The warm southern welcome and the retractable dome are two key attractions at the business end of a Texas road trip.
Levi’s Stadium (NFL, San Francisco 49ers): No sports travel list would be complete without an opportunity for a California road trip. San Francisco is a key destination along the west coast, and the opening of a new stadium for the 49ers means that 2014 is a prime time to check out the new addition to the California sporting scene.
If your favorite team gets to play at one of the nation’s iconic stadiums, it can be the trip of a lifetime to get out and see them in action; so get planning and organizing ready to hit the road and see your favorite teams.
(Photo by wallyg via Flickr)