While most sports are seasonal, the diverse nature of individual disciplines and global conditions means that armchair fans can enjoy some form of activity all year round. December is no exception to this rule, with an action-packed month scheduled that includes thrilling contests from sports such as rugby union, football and darts.
So while the festive period may mean that little sport is played internationally between the 20th December and 1st January, there is still more than enough to keep even the most casual sports fan interested.
Let’ take a closer look at December’s global sporting calendar and identify the stand-out events.
Here are our picks:
The World Rugby Sevens Series is an understated global event, but one that provides outstanding entertainment by combining the best elements of rugby union and rugby league. It will be held across 10 separate legs, starting with the first instalment in Dubai between 2nd and the 3rd of December. This will be held in Dubai at the newly-built Seven Stadium and is sure to attract a huge local audience.
December also sees the second instalment take place in Cape Town in South Africa, which remains one of the central hubs for global sporting events. This will start on 10th December and last for two days, with the following eight legs being completed between January and May in 2017 (the competition will actually finish at London’s Twickenham venue in the spring).
Ever since Manchester United eschewed the FA Cup to compete in the 2000 FIFA World Club Cup, English fans have taken a dim view of this globally popular tournament. December will see the 13th instalment of this event, however, which will take place in Japan between 8th and 18th of the month and include champions from each of the six continental confederations.
Real Madrid, who qualified by beating neighbours Athletico in the Champions League final last season, will start as the clear favourites ahead of South American representatives Atlético Nacional. The event is sure to be keenly contested, while at the same time offering more ‘obscure’ clubs a chance to prove their worth on the global stage.
Segregation within the sport of darts is commonplace, with the BDO and PDC associations often competing for the best talent that the sport has to offer. The PDC is clearly winning this contest, however, and the 2017 William Hill World Darts Championship will provide the ideal showcase for this wealth of talent.
Now in its 24th year, this event will start on 15th December and see a staggering 72 players compete for a £350,000 first prize. The total prize fund is £1.65 million, with the climactic final scheduled for 2nd January at the Alexandra Palace in London.