This past Sunday, as I watched the clock tick down on football season, I thought of the void that would occur in my life when the season was over for good. In my head, I started to look ahead to March Madness and Spring Training, and I realized I had completely skipped over the month of February.
This got me thinking, which is the best and which is the worst month for watching (and attending) sports? I decided to take the idea a little further, and the result is a countdown from 12 to 1, worst to best month to watch sports.
This list takes into account both quality and quantity, so it's not just the number of events but also the desire to watch them. I agonized over some of the decisions in creating this list, so input, comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. One final note...
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT FOLLOW ALL SPORTS.
If you take a look at my bio, you'll see there are a few sports which I have never really gotten into or watched. With apologies to fans of boxing, wrestling, and auto racing (all kinds), I just don't know enough to include those sports on the list. In addition, there are so many different soccer leagues, so I'm sticking with what I know, EPL and Champions League.
The decision for which month would be No. 12 was almost as hard as deciding which would be No. 1. After much deliberation, the sheer lack of sporting events to watch made July finish in last place.
July has Major League Baseball, including the All-Star Game. But with the All-Star Game brings the All-Star Break, the longest stretch during the season where there is no baseball being played.
Along with baseball, July only hosts two other major events, the British Open and the second half of Wimbledon. That's it. No other month has so few events to watch.
February has the Super Bowl. That's great for one day, but simply in terms of sporting events to watch, it's a tough one due to all the commercials and the extended halftime show. Aside from the big game, there is only regular season play.
The NBA, NHL, PGA, college basketball, and Premier League are all taking place, but all smack dab in the middle of the season. While there are a ton of games to watch after the Super Bowl, the only "exciting" game is the NBA All Star Game. February was also hurt by hosting the most meaningless game in all of pro sports, the Pro Bowl.
No playoffs. No majors. No drafts. Not even any preseason to get excited about. November has five different sports in the midst of the regular season.
NBA, NHL, NFL, college football, and both Premier League and Champions League provide many games to watch, but all of the regular season variety.
The heart of summer brings to mind one thing: baseball. There is plenty to watch, as MLB is in full swing and the always-entertaining Little League World Series takes place in Williamsport, Pa. There is a four-day stretch of exciting golf, with the final major of the season, the PGA Championship.
The NFL officially starts with preseason games (at regular season ticket prices) and the Premier League begins with the transfer window open. Yes, the last week of August is also the start of the college football season, but it wasn't enough to bump it up the list.
This is where things started to get difficult. I wanted to be biased towards my own personal preferences, but I tried to stay as objective as possible. I can watch football every day of the week, whether it's the Super Bowl or the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
That's why I originally had December higher, as it's crunch time for the NFL and the start of the college bowl season. But aside from that, it's just more regular season for the NBA, NHL, college basketball, and the Premier League.
Before I laid everything out, I really thought September would finish higher. MLB pennant races, the U.S. Open (of the tennis variety), Tour Championship in golf, as well as the kickoff of the NFL and (for the most part) college football seasons all take place in this month.
The fact that September falls in at No. 7 is more of a tribute to the top six than anything else.
January beat out September for one reason, the postseasons (yes, I know that rhymed). I know for a fact that I didn't watch a single Ravens or Cardinals game during the regular season, but I'll be watching at least three in January. Combine that with a week of BCS Bowl Games (even if you want a playoff, you still watch), and the Australian Open, you have a wealth of playoffs/majors right there.
In addition, January has the beginning of the PGA tour season, college basketball, NBA, NHL (including the All-Star Game), and the Premier League, so there is something to keep everyone entertained.
On paper, March seems like it should be lower on the list. If you don't think it belongs here, I challenge you to find a single sports fan who doesn't enjoy some aspect of March Madness. This event glues us to our televisions and computers for 12 glorious days in the month of March, and even more if you follow the conference tournaments and Selection Sunday.
All that is from one sport alone. Spring Training games begin in March, and the NBA and NHL are in their stretch runs toward the postseason. March even has PGA and the Premier League to boot.
The sheer volume of exciting sporting events in May is enough to put it in the top half, and the quality of those events bumps it to No. 4. May has NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, and the final and deciding games of the Premier League season.
If that weren't enough, fans are treated to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Champions League final. May wasn't on my radar to start with and it has all of that.
"There's only one October!" Sorry, I needed to get it out of my system.
MLB Playoffs alone shoot October near the top of the list. Coupled with the NFL and college football regular seasons, and you have something to watch every day of the month.
While October may not have the numbers of some of the months it's ahead of, it has enough excitement to last a year. If your favorite MLB team is in the playoffs and has a weekend game on the same day as your favorite football team, I can't think of anything better.
October also gets us ready for basketball and hockey with preseason NBA and NHL, along with more exciting Premier League action.
When I think April, I think Opening Day. Then I think of the Masters. Then the NFL Draft. That right there is seven days of entertainment that could last a month.
On top of this, they play baseball for the remainder of the month, and both the NBA and NHL reach the conclusions of their respective regular seasons and begin the playoffs. The Premier League and PGA Tour both continue on with regular season events as well.
Oh, did I forget to mention that the Final Four is in April? Those two days of basketball rank among the more exciting to watch. The first weekend of April alone nearly vaulted it to No. 1.
And the winner is..........
When you really stop to think about it, June is an absolutely phenomenal month for sports.
To start, June is home to both the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals. It also has a major event in tennis, golf, and horse racing. The only month to be able to claim it hosts the French Open, U.S. Open, and Belmont Stakes. Technically speaking, Wimbledon begins in June as well.
If you're a baseball fan, not only do you have the heart of the regular season in MLB, but the College World Series as well. And to top it off, June is home to the NHL, NBA and MLB drafts.
Ten different types of sporting events to watch in one month means June has something for everyone, and it earns it the title of The Best Month to Watch Sports. It really doesn't get any better.