Old Man Winter is stretching his icy fingers across America, and it’s definitely time to focus on indoor activities. These next few months promise to be an exciting time for sports: the National Football League playoffs just started; the 2014 Winter Olympics begin in February; and basketball season is in full swing, with March Madness just around the corner. Winter is a great time to watch your favorite teams if you already have some, but even those who have never been attached to sports in the past can certainly find enjoyment in the major events taking place over the next few months.
While many people watch sports with friends (often of the same sex), sports can be an exciting way to bond as a couple, as well. It’s cold outside and warm inside, so grab a blanket, light up the fireplace, and consider cuddling up and watching one (or more) of the following five sports and sporting events.
Football is a perfect sport to enjoy as a couple: Just whip up some great food, sport your team colors if you have them, and enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon. NFL playoffs started January 4, and the Super Bowl is on February 2. As far as fun sports to watch as a couple, you can’t lose with football. According to Marketing Charts, 64 percent of American adults watch the NFL — of that, 73 percent are men and 55 percent are women.
Football is a popular sport in many ways because it encourages camaraderie and fan involvement. Even while at home, fans can enjoy the halftime entertainment and occasionally even yell at the television after a bad play. These aspects of the game appeal even to those people who don’t actually like the sport itself. Football also seems to have the craziest fans, and that in itself is amusing. Plus, everyone enjoys a good Super Bowl commercial. The sport has many rules and plays that are fascinating to watch, but the various other entertainments of the sport make it appealing to non-fans, too.
Like football, basketball can be viewed at many different levels, but college basketball has the best potential for watching as a couple. Basketball is exciting: The game is fast-paced, and fans get excited and cheer for their team. The best part of college basketball is March Madness. Each March, 68 college teams battle it out in a single-elimination tournament to determine a national champion. Competitive couples can fill out brackets separately and then see whose teams win — those that prefer to work together can fill out one bracket. Either way, the act of comparing teams, watching them play, and seeing who guessed right is a positive way to bring a couple together.
This one might surprise you, but despite the rare female race car driver, Nascar is very popular with women. Per Bleacher Report, Nascar estimates that 40 percent of its fans are women. Nascar includes a social aspect that can be enjoyable for both men and women alike. If you attend the event together as a couple, you can count on many wonderful social opportunities.
Even watching Nascar from home can be exciting. The drivers are likable and amusing, the fans are outrageous, and everyone loves a good race. The Daytona 500 is a 500-mile motor race held annually at the Daytona National Speedway in Daytona, Florida, and it begins February 23. Nascar then has the advantage of continuing throughout most of the year. If you begin your Nascar courtship in the winter, you can continue it all throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
In the United States alone, 18 million people play soccer, and 40 percent of those athletes are women. Because so many people currently play or have played before, this is a great sport to enjoy as a couple. One of you has most likely played in the past, and if not, you certainly know someone who has. There are no timeouts (only the referee can stop play), so the pace of the game usually continues smoothly. Plus, soccer is very popular all over the world and provides the opportunity to learn about different cultures. Fans around the world are currently preparing for the men’s FIFA World Cup in June and July in Brazil.
This massive event features 32 teams that face off in order to play in the World Cup final. The event only occurs every four years, with Spain winning the men’s title 2010. The last women’s World Cup final, in 2011, between Japan and the U.S., drew a viewership of 5.2 million women and 8.3 million men. While the U.S. men’s team has a tough path — they are in the so-called “group of death,” a term given to the pool with the most difficult draw — it will be fun for both you and your significant other to root for the United States, as well as any other countries you may like.
5. The Olympics
We all know the Olympics are popular: The 2012 games were the most-watched event in the history of television, with more than 219 million American viewers. The Winter Olympics, which begin February 7 in Sochi, Russia, promise to be exciting for both men and women. The games will include events from different sports: biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating, and skiing. The Opening Ceremony alone will be thrilling and is sure to draw a huge audience, but because the events themselves occur over such a wide time frame, couples can watch whenever they want. The best way to take in the Olympics as a couple is to choose sports that you both want to watch — that, or take turns.
Four of the sports mentioned in this article have main events occurring in the next few months, so now is a great time to start watching. There are many more couple-friendly sports to watch throughout the year, including tennis (the Australian Open began January 13), hockey, and baseball. Really, the opportunities to cheer on a team together are endless.