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5 life-changing sporting events you've got to experience

There's nothing quite like the atmosphere in a sports arena when the tension and passion of thousands of people is running high.  Take a look at some of the best live sporting events – official and unofficial.


The FIFA World Cup

This is the big one. It's busy and it's extravagant. Some 64 matches will soon be hitting 12 cities across Brazil, with FIFA expected to spend $2 billion on the finals. With $576 million in prize money, it's no wonder fans and supporters get emotional. 


How to play: This year, mix sports with holidays and head for Rio de Janeiro and the glamour of Copacabana Beach. Then, wait 4 long years for the next one!


Tailgating at the NFL

Forget the Super Bowl. You could have a fulfilling experience of an NFL game and never enter a stadium. Tailgating is the US answer to, say, the Australia Day beach BBQ. It's cars and cooking. Just flip down the tailgate of your gas-guzzler, and mingle.


How to play: Take plenty of beers (share them round) and get some party meat grilling. You might want to study some US drinking games – all in moderation, of course.


Cricket at Leeds

For Australians, this is hallowed turf. Sir Don Bradman set some remarkable Test Match records here in the 1930s. It hurts to think about, but imagine how electric the atmosphere was when England beat Australia by 18 runs after bookmakers had taken bets at odds of 500–1 against the Poms.


How to play: Head for the Test Matches only. It's what makes Leeds famous. Otherwise, you might get mixed up pub-crawling or amid some dangerously fun university culture. Beware.


Stanley Cup Ice Hockey

When Adam Sandler's hockey-obsessed movie character Happy Gilmore said, “I was the only guy to ever take off his skate and try to stab somebody” it wasn't so farfetched. NHL ice hockey is one of the great remaining action sports. For Aussies trying to understand the game, it's packed with enough rough and tumble to have newcomers screaming in support.


How to play: Crowd participation is key. Watch the big screen. Learn the chants. Know the words to Queen's We Will Rock You – that sort of thing.


Ultimate Fighting Championship

With nine weight divisions, the UFC is a fast-growing movement, mixing martial arts into the ultimate entertainment. How big is it? Try 150 countries and 22 different languages – that big. The fights are set in an eight-sided ‘ring' known as, The Octagon. Guaranteed to be brutal.


How to play: Obviously, the best seats in the house are Octagon-side. But before the big day, watch for fighter weigh-ins and other pre-battle events for some healthy fan involvement.


More than just sporting events, these are life experiences you don't want to miss!

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