Americans love sports. There are channels, websites, blogs, radio shows, restaurants, and houses designed just for athletics. Sports, quite simply, provide us with entertainment that is unscripted and enthralling.
Throughout the course of a year, many events draw the attention of the nation as athletes compete for a prize. Some are more popular than others, but they all receive their due attention.
These are the ten most popular sporting events in the world.
Honorable Mention: Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, MLB All Star Game, College World Series, Little League World Series
10. Stanley Cup Finals
It makes the list in large part because it is a championship series. But don't think less of the Finals. The two final teams are playing for the world's most famed trophy, Lord Stanley's Cup. Hockey is an action-packed game of non-stop movement and hits.
Play gets even more physical in late May and June (just ask Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks). Upsets are more prone to happen in hockey than in most other sports, which adds to the draw of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Okay, so tennis may not be your favorite sport. But when hundreds of players are competing on grass in the game's biggest tournament, you can't help but watch. Roger Federer has owned Wimbledon in the past decade, but Rafael Nadal took him down in 2008. That '08 match is considered by many the greatest of all time.
This added to the appeal of the tournament. It also is played a very storied arena, Wimbledon Stadium in London. Wimbledon draws the more tennis viewers than any other tennis event.
8. Daytona 500
"Gentlemen, start your engines!"
The most famous words in racing are muttered for the first time of the season before the Daytona 500. The 500 opens up the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, much to the delight of many fans. It is the most popular race in America. Past winners include Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Yarborough, and Richard Petty. It has been running since 1959.
7. The Masters
Just thinking about the tournament brings to mind Jim Nantz's voice, calling it "a tradition unlike any other."
It really isn't a tradition like any other. The Masters has been running since 1934. Some of the most memorable shots in golf have come at Augusta National during the tournament, including those from Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
There always seems to be some sort of drama at The Masters, whether it be a three-way playoff, an 18th hold birdie to win, or the return of Tiger Woods.
6. NBA Finals
The thing that shoots the NBA Finals down on the list is the fact that it takes so long. Just like the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NBA Playoffs run from late April to mid June. But enough of the complaining.
Some of sports' greatest rivalries have been built in the NBA Finals. Magic vs. Larry is the most memorable of them all. Players make or break their legacy in the Finals.
Of course, a championship series in one of the four major sports has to make this list. The NBA Finals always present drama and great basketball.
5. World Series
The Fall Classic. When hearing this, you think of Bill Mazeroski in 1960. Or Reggie Jackson in 1977. Or Kirby Puckett in 1991. Or Joe Carter in 1993. Or Luis Gonzalez in 2001.
More than any other championship series, the World Series makes heroes. Year after year presents a new hero with a clutch hit. Legends are born in late October and occasionally in November. Jackson, for instance, has the nickname Mr. October thanks to the World Series.
Baseball is still America's game. Being able to fall back and watch the World Series unfold is one of the nation's oldest traditions.
4. World Cup
The World Cup presents the world's game being played by the world's best. No other tournament can do this. A nation's hopes, dreams, fears, and destiny are determined in one moment.
The 32 best teams in the nation compete to determine who is the best team on earth. 31 will fall, but an ongoing party will erupt in the one remaining country. The World Cup, held in South Africa this year, can unite a country in the midst of turmoil.
3. March Madness
Every year, March goes mad. The chaos goes on for nearly a month as the top teams in college basketball square off in a one-and-done tournament. The buzzer beaters come and go rapidly. The drama around each game is high with the knowledge that one loss can end a season. And if you want to talk about upsets, just watch a few games and they will be more evident than in any other tournament.
It is all capped with the winner cutting down the nets and the victorious theme "One Shining Moment" being played as the champions are serenaded in confetti.
Is there much else to say? What's not to love about the best athletes in the world competing against each other for national pride. Every nation wants to win the medal count, but only one can.
We all hope it's the US.
1. Super Bowl
What are the three dates on which Americans eat the most? Thanksgiving, Christmas, and...the Super Bowl. Call it Party Day USA, because it's just not the Super Bowl without a Super Bowl party.
But there is more to the Super Bowl than the food.
Whether it be David Tyree or Tom Brady, you never know who the hero will be. Two weeks of anticipation lead up to the most-watched sporting event in America. The Super Bowl is by far the most popular single event in the USA. Any and every sports fan tunes their TV to the game.