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Great sporting occasions need a few ingredients. They need amazing athletes performing at their peak, a good atmosphere, a close-run contest and, to set the scene, an amazing venue. From stunning stadia to picturesque pitches, some venues have a little bit of magic and the power to act as the perfect backdrop to the world’s best sporting occasions.

So, where should sports fans be adding to their bucket lists if they want to experience the very best action on the planet?

Signal Iduna Park

There are so many great football grounds to visit – and Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro deserve a mention here – but none quite tops Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park for a full throttle footballing atmosphere. Formerly known as the Westfalenstadion, this is the home of Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and played host to fixtures in the 1974 and 2006 World Cups. The 25,000-capacity southern terrace – the largest free-standing grandstand in Europe - is known as the ‘Yellow Wall’ and is a large part of creating the ground’s fearsome atmosphere. A combination of the Yellow Wall and Dortmund’s exciting playing style have ensured football fans from across the continent have flocked to experience a game here in recent years and tickets are hard to come by despite the 81,360 capacity.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

If we’re talking about size, few grounds in the world can measure up to the ‘MCG’ in Melbourne, Australia (or the ‘G for locals). This vast venue, with a capacity just above 100,000, has played host to a variety of sports over a rich history but truly comes to life for two key dates of the year – the AFL Grand Final and the traditional Boxing Day cricket match. Both of which attract capacity crowds and there’s an added spice to the occasion if England are in town for the cricket and it’s an Ashes test. The MCG benefits from the perfect mix of modern stand design and rich history, making it perfect for top class sporting occasions and probably edge it above Lord’s – the Home of Cricket – and India’s Eden Gardens as the world’s most impressive cricketing venue.

St Andrews

Not all sporting venues are big stadia, in fact some of the most spectacular setting for sporting action come in the shape of golf courses. Whether you’re a casual fan who has a flutter on the Open and Ryder Cup or a dedicated follower of events on the fairways, you won’t fail to be impressed by St Andrews in Scotland. The Old Course is the oldest in the world – dating back to the 15th century - and Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker are features that are legendary with fans and players alike at a venue that has hosted the Open Championship a record 29 times.

Circuit de Monaco

The thrills and spills of Formula One capture hearts and minds across the world, but few venues provide such a test – or stunning backdrop – for the racers as the magnificent Circuit de Monaco. This course weaves around the picturesque streets of Monte Carlo, a magnet for the rich and famous, and is a favourite for fans, with one poll labelling it as the most popular of the ‘Seven Sporting Wonders of the World’.

Madison Square Garden

There’s a long list of iconic American sporting venues to put on your bucket list – with a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston and a trip to see the NFL’s Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field deserving of mention – but nothing quite tops Madison Square Garden in New York. This is far more than just a sporting venue – with pretty every top music act performing here over the years – but it’s also home to the New York Rangers ice hockey team and the New York Knicks basketball team, both of which make for a great night out on a trip to the Big Apple.

Wimbledon

A tennis Grand Slam should certainly be on your sporting bucket list and there’s no better place for it than Wimbledon. Home to the only grass court Grand Slam, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club attracts the world’s best players for a fortnight every year (in late June/early July). The atmosphere, strawberries and cream and Pimm’s make this the quintessential British summer event and Centre Court and No 1 Court are great, intimate venues to watch the best tennis stars test their talents. It’s not easy to get tickets, but it’s worth the effort.

What do you think? Did we miss out somewhere that should be on the list? Would you have put Wembley, Soldier Field or the Daytona speedway on your top list?

Let us know your suggestions for the world’s most iconic sporting venues in the comments below.


The world’s most iconic sporting venues
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