2016 is shaping up to be another great year for armchair sports fans. Even-numbered years tend to be of particular interest because they always bring either the Summer Olympics or the World Cup.
These are the two single biggest sporting events in the world in terms of viewers and interest, and this year the Olympic Games will take place. The 2016 games are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between August 5 and August 21.
The huge success of London 2012 might be a hard act to follow –900 million people watched that spectacular opening show alone – but Brazil proved it has the organisation and infrastructure to go alongside the flair and carnival atmosphere when it hosted the World Cup.
In football terms, we have the Euro 2016 competition taking place in France between June 10 and July 10.
The hosts are amongst the bookies’ favourites, as are Germany and Spain, but with a fresh crop of new stars having emerged over the past couple of seasons (yes Harry Kane, we’re looking at you!), England might just field a more exciting team than they have in years.
There is also the climax of the most exciting and topsy-turvy Premier League in years – or possibly since the league’s inception – to look forward to.
Elsewhere, there’s arguably the world’s most famous horse race in the Grand National. When the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) published its fixture list for 2016, there were a total of 1,482 fixtures, but in all that thunder of crashing hooves, the Grand National is the one that stands out.
It not only has the richest purse of any European jump race with total prize money of £1 million last year, but it’s also one of the biggest TV draws, being viewed by an estimated 600 million people.
Whether you’re having a bet or just tuning in for the sporting element, make sure you check the Grand National start time so you do not to miss out. Around the actual race itself, you’ve also got the sartorial delights of Ladies’ Day. The whole festival starts on Thursday April 7 with the Grand Opening Day. Ladies’ Day takes place on the Friday, and the main event is on Saturday 9th April.
Wimbledon is another British institution. There is perhaps nothing more British than strawberries, cream and watching Centre Court on the telly, unless you happen to be lucky enough to land a ticket and turn up in the flesh. This year, the world’s premier tennis championship will be taking place between June 27 and July 10.
As far as the men’s singles goes, Andy Murray remains one of the favourites to do it again, generally placed just behind Novak Djokovic with odds hovering around 4/1 and 7/2.
Wherever your sporting passions lie, there is sure to be something thrilling to watch over the rest of 2016. Grab the popcorn or other healthy snacks and get your remote control fingers limbered up!