If you’re looking to give something new a try in 2024, then what better activity to try than a new sport? There are hundreds of different disciplines to consider and thousands of leagues, tournaments, and competitions – far more than just the few major leagues that most people can think of. So, if you really are open to trying something new this year, here is some inspiration…
Darts is a sport that you may associate solely with the small group of guys that play it in the corner of your local pub. But it’s much more than that.
It is a complex sport that combines both physical agility and mental sharpness. Players must ensure they throw their darts at the exact place on the board to meet the right score. Going over is not allowed, so they must also keep a tally of points in their head and conduct some mental arithmetic to know where to aim for.
Watching on TV allows you to get up close to the players and the board, giving you one of the best views of the action. However, going to watch a professional darts game in person is an entirely different experience.
Most major tournaments have rows of tables placed perpendicular to the stage where the players can be found. Spectators sit on either side of these tables, allowing them to see both the action and each other. Many fans attend darts games in fancy dress and usually with groups of friends. The sport is, essentially, one big party to the fans, who are as much there for the frivolities as they are to watch the world’s most talented players throw tiny sticks at a circle.
To get your first taste, you can watch on television. Most major darts championships are carried by major sports broadcasters. In the UK, things are pretty simple. Most events can be found on Sky Sports and the BBC. In the USA, there is a mish-mash of broadcasters and streaming services, including Amazon Prime, Disney+, ESPN, and DAZN.
Poker is a sport that’s been around for centuries, but it has evolved greatly over the last few decades. It enjoyed an uptick in interest during the 1970s after the creation of the World Series of Poker. Then, the growth was supercharged in the early 2000s during a period known as the Poker Boom.
Today, poker tournaments are aired on television just like other sports. Given that there are so many different competitions, game variants, and tournament formats, it can be a lot for new followers to take in. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources online that can help you to understand it all better, such as this viewer’s guide from PokerStars that covers everything from where to watch poker, to a general breakdown of how a tournament is structured.
3. Formula 1
Formula 1 is widely considered to be the world’s premiere motorsport competition, but its popularity and prominence is not universal. In some markets, including Asia and Africa, there has been little to no effort on to reach the people there and engage them with F1, at least until recently. In the United States, however, many efforts have been made to try and get Americans to fall in love with the sport but, until very recently, these have all been fruitless endeavours.
Thanks to the Netflix show Drive to Survive, audiences in both of these markets have exploded as they begin to appreciate the sport. However, there are still many people that don’t yet follow F1. If you’re one of them, there may never have been a better time to start.
How to watch F1 depends on where you are. In the USA, races are broadcast by ESPN and will continue to be until at least the end of the 2025 season. In the UK, Sky Sports F1 has the exclusive rights for the live coverage, with Channel 4 airing highlights a few hours later. In some countries, you can even subscribe to Formula 1’s own streaming service and watch from just about any internet-connected device.
4. Formula E
Perhaps you like the idea of high-speed racing but you’re also someone who is passionate about protecting the environment. In which case, Formula E might be more up your street. This is an all-electric motorsport championship that has only been around for a few years but has already established itself as one of the best and most exciting categories on the planet.
Many big-name car manufacturers are involved in Formula E, including Jaguar, Maserati, Nissan, Mclaren, Cupra, and Porsche. To drive their cars, these teams have enlisted the services of talented drivers like Stoffel Candoorne, Sam Bird, Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi, and Pascal Wehrlein.
The 2024 season has recently got underway with a new generation of cars hitting the track for the first time. These Gen3 cars are significantly faster, converting 350KW/h of electrical energy into almost 200 mph. They’ll also accelerate quicker than most other racing cars due to the increased torque of electric motors.
Formula E is also a much cheaper sport to follow than Formula 1. Tickets to an ePrix will set you back significantly less than an F1 Grand Prix, you’ll get to see more action on a single day as the all-electric sport crams all of its on-track action into a single day.
The fan experience is also more interactive. The unique FANBOOST feature that allowed spectators to vote for the driver that would get an extra power boost during the race has been dropped for 2024, but the sport’s organisers are always looking for new ways to get spectators involved in the action.
If you want to watch Formula E from home, the sport is broadcast on free-to-air networks in many countries. Alternatively, it is available for free in some countries on YouTube and the Formula E website. In the US, two races are available for free on CBS with the rest behind the CBS Sports Network paywall while Channel 4 airs races for free in the UK.