Go on a Grand Tour of Sports this Fall

In Barbados and around the world, a huge year of sports is only just around the corner. Whether you’re a cricket fan, follow the football, or want to experience a new and exciting sport, there are some huge occasions on the horizon.

If you’re a fan of many sports, the next few months present the perfect opportunity to tour around the world and watch some of the biggest events happen right before your very eyes. But, if you’re not one for traveling right now, you can still enjoy these big occasions from home as they are not to be missed.

So, let’s go through some of the biggest sporting occasions that make for the perfect excuses to do some traveling or simply can’t be missed. Some take place right here in Barbados or involve the national team; others will take you to distant lands and new cultures.

August: Off to Europe

After one of the best World Cups to ever take place dominated the summer, football returns to the biggest leagues in the world in August. On August 10, Manchester United kick off the English Premier League by hosting Leicester City. In Italy, matchups like Lazio versus Napoli and Torino against Roma highlight the opening fixtures on August 19. But, all eyes will be on Juventus’ trip to Chievo, which will see Cristiano Ronaldo debut for the Italian champions. On August 17, Girona and Real Valladolid get La Liga underway, with Real Betis welcoming Levante on the opening night as well.

Source: Forza Juventus, via Twitter

Source: Forza Juventus, via Twitter

Within this first month of play, there are plenty of huge matches to keep your eyes on. In Italy, titans collide when Napoli host AC Milan on August 26. Both teams will be trying to close the gap on the ever-dominant Juventus, so this should be a good match. In the English Premier League, the first meeting of title contenders sees Tottenham Hotspur face Manchester United at Old Trafford. The two have evenly split their last six games according to 11v11, with United winning the most recent contest 2-1 in the FA Cup. Both teams will be looking to close down the runaway Manchester City this season, so this game could prove to be crucial to their title hopes.

September: London to Melbourne

The world of boxing, headlined by the premier heavyweight division, has sprung back to life over the last few years. The sport has risen to headline the back pages once again thanks to enigmatic and talented fighters meeting each other in the ring. On September 22, we see Anthony Joshua take on one of the most dangerous boxers in the world, Alexander Povetkin. Joshua is the face of boxing right now and is favored to win, but Povetkin will be a very different challenge to what he’s seen in his 21-fight career so far. All three of Joshua’s major world titles are on the line in this heavyweight bout at Wembley Stadium.

(Jack Riewoldt) Source: SEN 116, via Twitter

Source: SEN 116, via Twitter

The big-match thrills continue a week later on the other side of the world. September 29 sees the conclusion of one of the most unique but adrenaline-inducing sports in the world: Aussie Rules football. The top league, the AFL, hosts a Grand Final each year – which follows a regular season and playoff system. This year, Richmond has dominated the league and is now at $2.62 to win the Grand Final with Oddschecker, but Greater Western Sydney and West Coast are certainly still in the conversation despite being at $8.00. The final takes place at one of the grandest sports venues in the world: Melbourne Cricket Ground.

October: Staying on the continent

October sees the start of two very exciting leagues in North America. In the United States of America, the NBA gets underway in October, which will see its superstar start his journey for a new team. After the Cleveland Cavaliers failed to show that they could build him a worthy supporting cast, LeBron James chose to join the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. Now, the player that many already deem to be an all-time great will challenge the dominant Golden State Warriors in the same conference while wearing one of the most historic jerseys in the history of basketball. It should prove to be an interesting season as everyone tries to knock the Warriors off of their lofty perch.

(LeBron James) Source: CBS Sports NBA, via Twitter

Source: CBS Sports NBA, via Twitter

There have been a lot of changes on the international scene when it comes to football in Barbados, and the Barbados Football Association has followed suit by restructuring its schedule. As explained by Nation News, the Premier League will move towards an October start in 2018/19. This is so that the domestic seasons can come in line with other football associations a well as FIFA to finish close to the end of May. This season, the six-week preseason tournament will start mid-October, and the Premier League will get underway two-weeks after that, for which the Weymouth Wales will be looking to win their third league title in a row.

November: Windies in Asia

This summer, cricket fans have been treated to the duel between Bangladesh and the West Indies. The Asian team has been on tour through Antigua, Jamaica, Guyana, St Kitts, and even stopped off in Florida, USA. With matches taking place across the three forms of cricket – test match, one day, twenty-20 – the tour showcased the range of all cricketing talent from both nations. The tour through the West Indies proved to be a quite closely contested affair, but the Windies did flex their muscles during the two test matches.

(Jason Holder) Source: Cricket Australia, via Twitter

Source: Cricket Australia, via Twitter

Commencing November 22, the West Indies will be going on tour in Bangladesh, visiting many of their incredible cricket grounds. The tour begins with a match against the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in Chittagong before getting serious with back-to-back test matches. The tour continues into December, with three ODIs and three T20s, concluding on December 22. As of the end of July, per ICC Cricket, the West Indies ranks one place above Bangladesh in the test team rankings, sit two places down on them in the ODI rankings, but hold a three-place lead in the T20 rankings. The rankings and the current tour of the West Indies show that the series in Bangladesh should be a closely contested affair as the teams find their strengths in their preferred formats of the game.

While you will be able to see all of these superb sporting events from home, they also present the opportunity to travel to some truly exciting locations around the world. Of them all, joining the Windies as they tour Bangladesh at the end of November looks to provide the most thrilling experience while watching the AFL Grand Final will be the most unique.

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